05 abril 2017

O testemunho do Paolo

Hello everybody!
I'm usually quite good at using words to tell stories, but when it comes to my EVS with Spin in Lisbon, I have to confess that words hardly come out, so I decided to get some help from pictures. 

First of all: Ginjinha! A welcome drink that you can't forget, where some of your most important friendships start. Sour Cherry in the city centre, and you have to introduce yourself to a community. It is so much fun and I still join to welcome the newbies whenever I can :)

On Arrival Training, in Braga: it is where you have the chance to meet many volunteers working in other projects across Portugal, and share experiences and knowledge with them. A good chance to practice languages, but also human interaction, cultural awareness, tolerance, respect and positive vibes!

Some people say Italians do it better... Well, I'm not sure it's true, at least when it comes to learning foreign languages: I've thought Italian for 3 months and my lovely Portuguese students actually did pretty well! And it was super fun!

Another super interesting experience: the Photovoice Lab. With Paola, another volunteer and friend from Italy (a psychologist especially focused on community involvement), we created a space dedicated to the inhabitants of Carnide, where issues regarding their community were discussed and addressed through photography.

A lot of thoughts, emotions and needs were shared freely and processedin an amazing team work. I'll never forget those moments. We created an exhibition at the end of the work, but all the steps that led us there remain the most precious to me.

Then another challenge came: World Theatre Day. That's when I started a research about a Portuguese playwright, António Torrado. With theatrical companies and a community-based amateur group we realized a pièce dedicated to Mr. Torrado: he seemed to enjoy pretty much the show!

Yes, that was me, and yes, I looked like my mum when she was 30 and she straightened her hair. I managed to bring more queerness into EVS, by performing and discussing about LGBTQ issues whenever I had the chance to do so. All the people from SPIN have been really supportive all the time and I felt completely free to express myself, so Inês gave me the nickname Favolosa ("fabulous", adj. sing. fem.) that all the others kept using to refer to me. Ya GIRLZ!

Last, but not the least, we participated to a Street Art Festival featuring artists from all over the world, and it was beautiful to see the neighbourhood "Bairro Padre Cruz" become colourful and lively, as if it was falling under a sort of good spell. FYI: after a nine-month-long EVS, I found a job in Lisbon and decided to stay. It is one of the chances you have. At the end of the day, one of the purposes of the EU is to make you feel citizen of the whole continent, so I decided to take my chance to keep living abroad and it is a very exciting challenge. In case you decide to do EVS, I wish you tons of good experiences and beautiful friends!


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