05 dezembro 2016

Growing sand in my head! EVS "I help, I grow!" by Wojtek "Bacana"

My service took place in Lisbon, Portugal and lasted 12 months. I lived for one year here:

Amazing, isn't it?

This one with shorter 'rastas', as locals call dreadlocks, is me. I come from east of Poland, small city called Biala Podlaska. I love my place of birth, however at some point I fell in love with whole world. It is a wonderful place and it seems that we – human species – do not respect it properly. I try to. And I encourage everybody to do the same. With small steps. Nothing radical.

And talking about radical stuff... Organisation that hosted me in Portugal is called Azimute Radical. It is a non-profit institution with 15 years of experience in using adventure sports (like climbing, trekking, paintball, rafting, canoeing, scuba diving...) as a tool of informal education and social inclusion in city of Lisbon. Their work takes place especially in Carnide zone (where exist two social neighbourhoods). During my project these two social neighbourhoods supposed to be my main area of social intervention, and till some extent they were – many actions during my service took places there. Other types of activities in which I have participated were located either in Carnide zone (cooperation with other associations, with local authorities or local non-formal groups) or in Adventure Park that Azimute Radical is managing outside of Lisbon:

Very radical stuff in very radical adventure park!

Personally my co-workers weren't that radical. They were family - AZR family - and they took very good care of me and other volunteer – the best Italian ever – Roberto.
Our Service started with adaptation period that lasted more or less three months – till the end of November 2015. During this time our hosting organization provided us office space to work, presented zone in which they are operating, and slowly included us in their daily, routine activities (such as promotion of their offer, maintenance of their equipment, preparation of social events done by them in this period). At the end of this period hosting association had their annual meeting of members connected with 14th anniversary. Part of our duties was helping them with preparation and execution of this event.
In December our hosts gave us project to develop. Idea was their, but the researches, development and implementation was up to us. Project was called ‘Percursos de Carnide’ and was about inventing and identifying in space walking and running thematic paths. All located in Carnide zone. During next three months we were developing this idea on our own.

Me again. And my working place. We spent here long hours!

Finnaly, at the beginning of March, the brochure was done! We described there five thematic paths. Paths were presenting historical, cultural, associative, nature and simply curious places from zone in which we worked. Good job? It is not for us to judge. But this was for sure the best job ever. Just see:
Again me. Ehh. The happiest moment of my EVS!

It was 6th of January. Dinner with local elders. I have never felt better while preparing potatoes, serving dishes, talking and dancing with grandpas and grannies. It is nice to help communities, to be part of it! I recommend!
Starting in March the level of our responsibility increased.  Due to that also number of hours that our co-workers put on us went up. In march main responsibility were half-colonies with kids that lasted two weeks around Easter holidays. And in April we participated in professional training course for instructors of association’s activities. The number of hours that we were working these days was much bigger than we supposed to as volunteers and this created some internal conflicts between us – volunteers and the rest of co-workers. After training course given for us by Azimute Radical we decided to talk with president of the association and we sought for some help within coordinator association – amazing SPIN association. Talks that we have done with them brought good results and we managed to change our weekly work schedule in accordance with Erasmus+ rules. Unfortunately relation with other workers of hosting association become more distant and cooled a bit. However I manege to pass the training course and received a diploma of adventure sport monitor, so the effort put into the course brought good results.
May, June and July were months of applying new weekly work schedule and months with many activities in social neighbourhood that brought to me new motivation and a lot of joy. Applying knowledge acquired during training course was also satisfying. In June and July we were part of the crew responsible for kids during half-colonies and this experience, tough it was demanding, was also very pleasing and interesting. In July I have participated in mid-term training and I used this time for self-evaluation of my development and evaluation of what have happened during my Service. In the end of July we have done final evaluation (as August in Portugal is a month of holidays – many institutions decrease amount of work or stop working – we wanted to do evaluation earlier) with presence of member of coordinating organisation and the hosting one. August, thanks to our not-that-radical hosts, was a month of personal discoveries and adventures – holidays! And, unfortunately also saying “até já”.