06 novembro 2018

O testemunho do Damien

Hello, bonjour, bom dia…Lisboa. It's August 28 and I have just arrived in Lisbon, the city of seven hills. For the next 9 months Casa Anjos will be my house that I will share with 8 other volunteers. Welcome to Portugal. Lucky me  before starting this EVS adventure I will have a week to explore the city. Great opportunity to walk around to get familiar with the city, get lost (still happening now sometimes) and visit this colorful city of Sintra. 

Crescer na Maior - my hosting organization - develops several projects to intervene with the most  vulnerable populations. One of this project is "E Uma Vida" that promotes integration of the refugees into the community. What does it mean? For a period of time of 18 months - duration of the program - we will work closely with beneficiaries to support their integration : housing, social, finance, education, etc.  

How I feel? Really curious about this new unknown environment.
After 2 months trying to find my role, working with all members of the team, meeting beneficiaries of the program and going with them to appointments/institutions depending the purpose I can say one thing… Be ready to adapt to the situation and to surf on the wave. Communication is one big challenge and to be honest I was a little bit lost at the beginning… Not only with English or Portuguese, but also with Tigrinya (Eritrea), Kurdish (Irak/Syria), Arabic, etc… So far I have 3 new teachers, ready to teach me some few words in their own language.

Beside the regular follow up we do also house visits to meet people at home to see if everything is ok and to talk about the daily life. In that occasion I met an old couple very friendly and welcoming. Each time we visit them they offer us tea and cookies… They are spontaneous persons but I have to admit they really put a lot of sugar with tea (too much for me!).  More seriously I have to say that it inspires me to see that even if they have to leave their all world (family, house, job, country) they are always keep smiling. 

I can't imagine it's been allready 2 months I arrived. Times flies. Having the opportunity to watch a dolphins show, driving a van full of furniture in the city center, meeting a baby named "Cristiano" in reference to CR7, tasting kurdish bread, traveling a bit around the country… are probably my firsts unexpected situations. Looking forward to see what is next. 

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