My EVS project is in the Social Department of the Junta de Freguesia de Carnide.
When I arrived, I had no ideas about portuguese language, portuguese culture, or portuguese foods, just few portuguese people who I met around Europe that brought my attention on their world.
From the beginning I received a great hospitality, first of all from SPIN association with a “welcoming lunch” to meet all the rest of volunteers and SPIN staff, and second at the Junta de Freguesia, where all of the workers try to explain their job, their roles, and their activity. My tutor has been very patience and helpful with me since the first day.
I started learning more about their past projects,which helped me a lot to understand their current work. I can’t say that my start was easy, expecially due to language barriers. I was trying to understand their reunions, their spechees, and I got lost so many times. I couldn’t be well involved to some activities, because my portuguese language was not good enough. Suddenly, everything started to change. I started to realize that in every situation you have to push yourself out from the Comfort zone. I started to realize that all the activities that I was doing during my office hours were part of a bigger change for other people, part of a big process to make their life better. I started to propose my ideas to be part of our social projects, and they were always appreciated, because in the Junta de Freguesia de Carnide, they always give you the opportunity to improve.
Their calm and smile made me learn the power of giving importance to others ideas, because there is always a way to make it and to understand how important is to thank others in the end of their work.
The social department has such a broad work that goes from offering to the Carnide population a social assistent service; to create (sometimes with the collaboration of other departments) many interesting projects expecially to fight isolation of elder people; to teach prevention to youngs; organizing a repainting and renovations of social neighborhoods; preparing “Caminhadas Solidárias” (Solidarity Walks), an event that serves to collec stuff for different target in each “Caminhada”, and where basically people come to walk and to give some donations; and also arranging big lunches to put a lot of people together and let them having fun.
The Junta de Freguesia de Carnide is a Freguesia that works with the community and for the community, in a very close and friendly way, always putting others first. They collaborate with many institutions, associations and organizations (expecially of the Freguesia), because they believe in everybody’s work to build a better freguesia, creating connections.
I still have to learn a lot from them! And the time is going so fast!