31 julho 2019

Justin’s testimony No.2

Most of the times we focus to much on the things, that went wrong, that make us angry, sad and disappointed, but at the same time when we try to focus on the awesome, the great, the fantastic, we realize we don’t have something to focus on, reflecting the good things seems impossible when we analyze it. Because it is difficult to pinpoint down to the exact moment, when things went from nice to great.

I have been in Lisbon for three months now, if you ask yourself, Justin your first testimony was released in April, can’t you count? Well I can, but i had to spent one month in Germany for my exams which went well, now I can finally call myself out of school. A long overdue thing anyway, at one point I felt, I cannot grow there anymore, so I am truly glad that this chapter has ended.

Maybe I am still in the first phase of the culture shock, but I love it here, despite the fact  that there are large problems.

One of the things that I love so much here is, that I am able to get to know so many people with their own fascinating backgrounds, and facettes of personality, which couldn’t be more different to each other. Not only meeting people though, but also the friendships that I have built here, make my happiness lasting.

It is strange though, there are people, who clearly live in past events, which makes it impossible for us to, if these events were not particularly good from both sides, act normally with each other or make up for it, and see or at least try to see that person, not as it were before those incidents, but as some abstract painting, in which we discover everytime we see it something new. Like the paintings in an art museum in Belém, that I would name, if it wasn’t for the fact, that it’d be advertisement.

Personally I can live with that. I am not drowning in a pool of emotions nor freezing in the tundra of receiving coldness, because on the other hand there are people who live in the future, and if something bad happens, we talk about it, speak frankly with each other what we feel and what we want in the future, and both sides actively listen, and even if we cannot at all moments sort it out, we feel better afterwards anyway.

The thing with being so young as me, 18 years old, only meeting people around the age of 24+, I can learn so much from these people, which is another great thing, because, when I will get back to Germany after my ESC, I will have a different kind of maturity than that of other people my age will have, just because I could observe and learn from a peer group very different to my „usual“ peers. At the same time it means however, that I have the special ability to quickly annoy people because it is such a big difference in peers and that for getting respect I have to work double as hard, which is understandable, but can at times be very ironic.

On Tuesday I went to a standup-comedy thing, by the way i realized, I definitively have to start again writing, one of the performers made some jokes, obviously, also I just realized, that me retelling the joke isn’t really funny, because the joke wasn’t in the first place.

Anyway one last thing, which for me is of paramount importance, that I feel the need for to share with everybody, that I never can ever not stress enough, because its significance for me is so high, and I had to endure so much to get to the point, where I could finally achieve it, I took the Cambridge assesement in March and I have shown level 3* abilities or in other words, english level C2. 

Agnes’ testimony No.2

One and a half months after my ESC started, sitting behind a desk, looking out of the window I realized that I´m not a tourist. It just sunk in whilst brushing my hair. Took me a few days to get used to the feeling. After being here 3 and a half months I realized im home. I know now how to manage without constantly looking at the map, which Asian store has my favorite udon noodles, where herbs are the freshest, who is the DJ who plays what makes me move and my go-to beach with turquoise blue water. Not to mention the parks, nature reserves, galleries and restaurants.

Working in the office was something I needed to get used to. Luckily Spin also has a projects that require working intensively for long hours, this style of working suits me better then sitting behind the desk for 5h a day for sure.

‘’From crisis to chance’’ was a training course on emergency pedagogy. This project brought together so many caring humane people. Focusing on the aspects of how to restore harmony in a human after something has interrupted their ability to do it themselves. Moving, singing, painting, playing – the basic rituals of feeling. “The high sky above me, the firmed earth below me, the good spirit within me.” That was the mantra with which we started and ended the day. A empowering practice to connect us to our surroundings, recover balance and remind ourselves of our ability to design our own future. With the words of Bernd Ruf trauma is a wound of the soul. If our bruises heal we become stronger, but if we don’t, they become contaminated and develop into illness.

During the training course I also had the opportunity to listen to the stories of refugees. All my respect to people with such strong will , determination and passion to live!

Agnes with Bernd Ruf,
the founding father of Emergency Pedagogy
Live it Lisbon was something I kept hearing about since the beginning of the project. Old volunteers looked back on it in hearts and flowers.
For those of you who don’t know what is this project : Live it Lisbon is a feel-good summer camp where you get to meet people from around the world, volunteer in the community, learn a bit of Portuguese, explore inside and around Lisbon, learn a few new recipes and have a nice time. The bonds built in these 11 days are strong and many participants from years ago still meet annually.
In addition to the running task that come with organizing such a camp I also went to the elderly day care center with the participants and ran a cooking workshop. In my eyes, these were the highlights of the camp. I love the atmosphere that results from combining the energy of youth and wisdom or the elderly. I feel really relaxed and focused among old people.

I also really enjoy cooking together. Cooking as a group for the group certainly creates a tight bond and a sense of family. Food is the language of love. An ideal tool for experimenting and a medium for giving love and effort.

These kind of activities are great to make people understand and appreciate the people around us. There are no others, there is only us!

O testemunho da Irene

De uma forma geral é tão difícil para mim escrever, quanto mais sobre estes 5 meses. Não é possível descrever em palavras, as emoções que viviaté agora. Um dia neste projeto parece ter 48H, uma vez que todos os dias são vividos intensamente e por diversas vezes temos de lidar com situações que nunca lidámos antes.

Comecei a construir a minha vida aqui, com os meus hábitos, os meus novos amigos, o meu supermercado, o meu parque preferido onde vou quando quero estar sozinha e pensar. Comecei também a viver sozinha e a aprender a lidar com as saudades da minha família e dos afetos que sempre tive durante uma grande parte da minha vida. E digo que não é fácil!

Encontrei pessoas que me ajudaram a perceber que não estou só e que é possível construir uma nova história de vida em que as personagens são diferentes das de sempre. Encontrei na Associação Salvador esse tipo de pessoas. Gente maravilhosa que me faz sentir em casa, nunca sozinha, prontas para ouvir os meus “problemas” e para acolher uma pessoa tão complexa como eu. Fizemos, este mês, um teambuilding incrível em que percebi a importância de um bom espirito de equipa. De como é importante estar num grupo coeso e comunicativo para se fazer um bom trabalho.

A missão de inclusão da Associação Salvador não é só para com as pessoas com deficiência motora, mas também entre as pessoas que trabalham dentro desta Associação. Isso não é algo muito comum na sociedade dos dias de hoje. Incluíram-me em todas as áreas de trabalho. Agradeço à minha coordenadora que desde o inicio teve as mais diversas ideias para que eu percebesse bem todos os projetos que aqui são desenvolvidos. A Associação deu-me a oportunidade de ir conhecer outras cidades de Portugal, tendo tido um papel ativo em todos os momentos. Incentivaram-me a ter mais autoestima, dizendo que tenho ótimas aptidões para o design e artes (momentos criativos).

A minha chefe é bastante intuitiva, facilmente percebe aquilo que preciso e o que me dá gosto fazer, propondo-me novos e interessantes desafios. Um desses desafios, que tanto prazer me dá realizar, é dar aulas de italiano para todos os meus colegas da Associação. Posso garantir que tem sido muito divertido! Não sei o que vocês acham, mas para mim é incrível! Neste contexto é impossível não criar amizades. É difícil não simpatizar com pessoas tão brutais!

A experiência tem sido espetacular não só por causa da Associação, mas também pelas amizades que criei em Lisboa.

Conviver com outras pessoas, de outras culturas, nem sempre é fácil, por vezes posso dizer que estou farta deles, que não quero falar, mas no final eles sabem que os adoro. São pessoas bastante respeitadoras, divertidas e que até me oferecem comida quando não me apetece cozinhar. 😀

É importante ter pessoas assim durante este tipo de experiência. Eles ajudam-me e tornam o meu dia melhor, tornando-se fundamentais no decorrer do meu dia a dia longe de casa.

No entanto, falta ainda uma pessoa muito importante nesta fotografia, o Miguel! Foi a primeira pessoa que encontrei quando cheguei a Lisboa. Lembro-me de nesse mesmo dia lhe ter dito que ficaríamos grandes amigos e assim foi. Tem apenas um problema, ele vai terminar o E.S.C antes do tempo para poder seguir o sonho da vida dele. Embora isto me entristeça, deixar de tê-lo perto de mim, quero que ele saiba a pessoa maravilhosa que é e tenho a certeza que conquistará todos os seus objetivos. Boa sorte Miguel!!

29 julho 2019

Mathieu’s testimony no.2

After almost 5 months here, what’s going on ?

A lot of things changed here. I remember that I wrote, in my first testimony, that I was sure that I’ll find my place at Vicentix. I can now assure that I did it. Of course, it wasn’t easy at
all. Again, coming to a country, without speaking any word of the language (I don’t count
Obrigado and Bom dia as proofs that I speak Portuguese) was one of the most difficult
challenges of my life. But I follow the advice that a lot of people said to me : work. And I did.
I worked so hard on my Portuguese just to be able to understand what’s going on in my life,
in my workplace. Now I can say that I’m quite able to speak Portuguese. And it helps me
soooooo much.

26 julho 2019

O testemunho da Giulia

Estou aqui de volta! Sem dúvida aconteceram muitas coisas desde os primeiros dias de Março até agora. O tempo voou sem me aperceber. Realizaram-se algumas das minhas expectativas, como aprender mais sobre come funciona a Spin e sobre a mobilidade Europeia (em particular, a parte de envio).

Estou satisfeita com a funções que estou a desempenhar na Spin e surpreendida de conseguir a cumprir tarefas cada vez mais desafiantes para mim.Também queria muito conhecer novas culturas e aprender como dizer “abraça-me” em outros idiomas. Agora já sei em espanhol (abrázame), slovaco (objím ma), croato (zagrli me), estónio (kallista mind), polaco (przytul mnie). Uma grande conquista para mim, agora só falta não esquecer!Tive a oportunidade de viajar em diferentes sítios de Portugal: Algarve, em Abril, com a minhas novas colegas Alba e Niki; Covilhã em Maio para participar a On-Arrival Training con trinta participantes do CES de diferentes cidades de Portugal; Mafra e Setúbal em Junho; Cabo de Roca e Sintra em Julho.No entanto, muitas pessoas de muitas nacionalidade foram hospedadas no nosso Hostel graças alguns projetos promovidos pela Spin.

Através do curso de formação “From crisis to change”, doutro projeto em Junho com estagiários franceses e do programa de voluntariado Live It Lisbon, sinto de ter viajado também nos sítios de precedência dos participantes (assim pude aprender mais traduções da frase “abraça-me” :P). Além disso, durante este programa descobri uma nova habilidade que não sabia ter: fazer um workshop de cozinha e preparar comida italiana para 30 pessoas approx. Inicialmente estava nervosa e tinha medo que não ia resultar; contudo, afinal tudo correu bem além das minhas expectativas. Finalmente, este é um resumo sucinto da minha experiência no projeto de Corpo Europeu de Solidariedade em Lisboa até agora que sintetizado em uma palavra é “brutal”!

23 julho 2019

Project “ACT together” in Romania part.3

The month of June started with a event to celebrate the Children day in the 1st of June in one of the bigger squares of the city, with the participation of the volunteers from ACT together, supported by the colleagues from Action Changes Things, other group of volunteers that have another project in Asociatia Comunitati pentru Tineret. During this day, the volunteers had the chance to provide to children and youth a day of joy, fun and full of amusement. Team games, dancing and having the chance to listen to music played by some volunteers.

Since one of the goals is to spread the Erasmus + opportunities as much as possible, the volunteers went to Bailesti, a small city in the surrounding area of Craiova to spread the benefits that, such an experience as volunteering, can change their lives for better.

As an association that tries to promote team work and cooperation as ACT does, ACT Together also made part of some of the final activities of their colleagues from Action Changes Things in their last moments with some of their beneficiaries. A gracious chance to work with disadvantage beneficiaries which gave them an idea of this particular community and experience that, for sure, they will use in the future.

Language clubs continue to be provided for the interested beneficiaries in a weekly schedule, with english, french, spanish, portuguese, greek and georgian as example. With this sessions, both, the volunteers and the beneficiaries had improved  personal skills that could be quite useful for both. Also guitar lessons started to be given by on of our talented volunteers.

After establish a good relation with the stakeholders and beneficiaries of Bailesti, ACT Together did an event so they could interact, entertain, share they’re work and capacity to bring such a wonderful opportunity for the beneficiaries that could be, to became a volunteer.

With the period of summer and the consequent start of holidays in schools, the volunteers start also to start personal development activities and working with a more eclectic community, such an example is the Aripi de Lumina social center where they implement activities nowadays, an institution that works for youth coming from families with few resources.

Helping children to learn how to swim and to bring them joy in such an environment as a swimming pool can supply, gave them the chance also to improve some children opportunities to have beautiful moments together. Responsibility, sense help and pedagogic skills are only a few capabilities developed.

Videos, tutorials, lives on social networks are tools that the volunteers have been developing and presenting in the previous days on their online platforms. Their experience must be spread, so could be easier to understand the privilege of being a volunteer.

More surprises are coming until the end of the project and the motivation to reach the goals won’t stop!

19 julho 2019

Niki’s testimony No.2

t’s already 4,5months. Exactly half of the project. Time flies so fast. When I’m thinking about it, I still feel, we are just in the beginning. Actually, before, at home, 9 months looked like a long time and now it’s opposite. I feel like, it’s not enough time for everything.

But, at least we are trying! We are traveling, visiting new places, enjoying time with our new friends, meeting even more amazing and interesting people, trying new food, new hobbies, and gaining a lot of new skills…

It seems to me that we live in a bubble, but, I have to say, I don’t mind at all. I found people in whose company I feel good, whether at home or at work. The only sad moment is when some of them leave. It has already happened. And we will leave also, but it’s not our time yet! 🙂 Now is the time to look forward to more experiences and trips. We go to Madeira, to the Azores, to Spain, we have a lot of fun, we spend evenings by the river with a bottle of wine and we talk a lot. About everything. About life, about love, about joy or problems.  After 4,5 months I feel, like I know some of my new friends few years.

At work I spend time with almost the same people. We mostly work in the office or in the hostel. I can say that at 80% I do exactly what I enjoy – graphics, social media, new blog, articles … and other things such as a summer project cooking workshop … at least I know how to prepare my favorite Slovak food now :D.

So, I still think it was a good choice to come to Portugal and to this project. Many things are very good here, many no, but at least now I appreciate more things in my country. And that’s also very important. And I also appreciate every single Slovak or Czech person I meet here, because I miss my language a lot. Unfortunately, I can count them on the fingers of one hand 😀 Let’s see what time will bring next months.

18 julho 2019

Ana’s testimony No.2

It has already been more than 4 months since I moved to Portugal. Half of my time on this project has already passed and the same amount of time is yet to come.

I still feel like I have just arrived here and this is barely the beginning. There are still a lot of new things happening and many more places got on my wish list to visit.

However, the feeling is not exactly the same as in the beginning. People I have met 4 months ago are now my friends. Bonds are growing stronger and I feel more comfortable. We don’t only share a living and working environment, but are also now ready to share parts of ourselves that we usually reveal only to people we are close to. We are slowly becoming a small family. Or maybe not so small.

In my workplace I got an amazing responsibility to be a part of an organizing team for an event I attended last year as a participant. It opened a completely different side for me and gave me a new experience.

In this period, I managed to discover a lot of new places in Portugal, but also in Spain and Poland. On top of that, I even managed to visit my home country, Croatia ☺

I know there is still a lot of time left before the project ends, but I already have a feeling like it’s coming to an end so I want to grab every opportunity to use every single moment here! For that reason I will not write much more but I will share with you photos of some of the dear moments I had so far and I will save my deepest thoughts for my last testimony ☺


10 julho 2019

Puppet life by Thomas

Thomas Pathey is a french youngster, which has been in Lisbon during the month of June 2019 for an Erasmus+ internship in the "Lua Cheia - teatro para todos". His dream is to become a writer. Here it is one of his texts:

It's dark, so dark I can barely see my own hands. I've been in this closet for god knows how long. I have my two brothers at my side, and we're just gathering dust. This place sucks. How long has it been since we last saw the light ? What is the meaning of life ? Such are questions I would ask myself if I had a concept of sentience and life, but I'm just a puppet, stuck in there with my puppet bros, waiting for the day that we are needed. My arms hurt, my feet hurt, but my expression is the same. I can't scream, I can't move. Is this Hell ? Am I dead ? Again, I don't care, I'm not human. Is there a puppet hell though ? What would be in that puppet hell ? Is there a puppet God somewhere up there literally and metaphorically pulling the strings in our puppet existences ? What can I do to get into puppet heaven, and what is there ? I hope our fourth brother is up there, we haven't seen him since his arms got ripped out by a child. I miss him, this closet sucks. Is this what my existence amounts to ? Sit in a closet and doing nothing until someone needs me and then being dragged out, waggled about and thrown away until the next time ? What about me ? I have needs too, I might not have a puppet wife or puppet kids but still, I mean, come on!

Suddenly, a light. A hand pulls me out, sits me on a chair, and soon after, my brothers followed. I'd breathe a sigh of relief if I had the ability to breathe. The two usual ladies that I like to think are my moms are here, as always, but this time there's a third person. It's a man, and I cannot understand a word he says. When they speak to him, they're unintelligible too, it's like a disease that is spreading. I hope it doesn't reach me or my brothers, how would we communicate then ? Oh, nevermind, we're puppets, we have no ability to communicate anyway, but it would still suck. My moms are leaving us alone with this guy, who even is he ? He starts lifting my arm, and putting it on the table, at this point I was scared for my non-life. What was he going to do, chop it off ? Cut me open ? Again, I'd beg for mercy if I had a way to communicate, or a concept of mercy, but I had no other option other than sitting there, powerless, at the hand of a person I did not even understand. Is he even a person ? Maybe he's the puppet god, shoot, quick, how do I worship him ? Do I bow, do I say a prayer ? I can't do any of that ? What if this is a test and I'm not getting into puppet heaven ? My frantic thinking was interrupted when he started tending to my wounds. It felt really good. Finally my injuries were being treated ! Where has this guy been all along ? Thank you puppet god ! I haven't felt this alive in so long, and again, I am very much not alive. I don't know what he was saying, but he sounded angry though. Did I do something wrong ? O puppet god, please spare me your wrath ! I have been unfaithful to you but I shall make it up somehow ! It really felt like he didn't want to be here, the puppet god was muttering to himself while healing me, which is like, please keep saving me but maybe don't look like you want to murder me ? Once he was done with me, he put me back on the chair and moved on to my brothers, who I imagine were also very glad to be rescued, even though I have never communicated with them nor did I know whether or not they were my actual brothers, we're just in the same place at the same time, withering away.

I had time to think now. What do I even remember ? How long have I existed for ? It feels like every time I leave the closet, I can never remember what happened before. Have I been here forever, or are my memories fabricated ? Am I conscious, or is this an illusion ? The glue did look pretty toxic, so I'm not ruling out hallucinations at this point. The light is nice, I can see my surroundings for once. Not much has changed since the last time, although the situation does seem eerily familiar. The puppet god finished taking care of my first brother and sat him in the chair next to mine. He made my brother face me, which was a nice touch. I always imagine us having a nice conversation whenever we can see each other. I'd ask him about his day, he wouldn't respond because he's a puppet and is unable to communicate, I would laugh and ask him if he wanted to grab a coffee, he wouldn't respond because he's a puppet and is unable to communicate, I'd tell him that I have a pretty busy day anyway and better be going, he wouldn't respond because he's a puppet and is unable to communicate. Ah, the very fond memories of those times ! Or maybe these aren't memories, just echoes of conscience, slowly fading away. Who knows, I'm just a puppet. Hey, what's that on my hand ? It feels like something is written on them, something I don't remember seeing before. If only I could just turn my hands around... Ugh, stupid puppet existence ! Who cares, the puppet god probably wrote a bad recommendation for me, so I'd go to puppet hell. Screw you too, puppet god, I'm not scared of you! 

I guessed he was done with his work, since he summoned my moms back, who stared and my brothers and I's wounds, then spoke to him in the same unintelligible language, probably the language only true worshippers can speak, but at least they sounded happy. The puppet god picked one of my brothers up and put him back in the closet, one of my moms picked my other brother and put him back in too. Oh god, I don't wanna go ! Please don't make me go back in there... I feel a hand lifting me up, I give up. This is my existence. It's always going to be that way, isn't it ? Wait, I can see my hands now, something's written on it, I can definitely see it now !

"you are alive, wake up !!! please remember this, you have to remember!"

What does that mean ? Did I write this for myself ? What's going on ? I'm starting to feel dizzy, I can barely remember where I was a second ago, I can't... I can't... I can't see.

It's dark, so dark I can barely see my own hands. I've been in this closet for god knows how long. I have my two brothers at my side, and we're just gathering dust.

02 julho 2019

O Testemunho da Cláudia

A decisão de mudar o rumo da minha vida começou com este SVE na Grécia, as indecisões e o medo de arriscar desta vez não venceram e agora posso afirmar, com toda a certeza, que está a ser uma das melhores experiências da minha vida.

 “Sustainable Synergies” é o 
nome do meu projecto na Nea Guinea, organização que promove um estilo de vida sustentável sobretudo através da Permacultura, as atividades são muitas no entanto a minha principal tarefa tem sido a manutenção do nosso Jardim dos vegetais, como aqui chamam á horta.
Inicialmente estive também a dar apoio aos convidados da organização que vieram de várias partes do mundo e que estiveram hospedados na mesma casa que eu, ajudei nas refeições, compras de supermercado ao mesmo tempo que ia aprendendo com todas as conversas que circulavam á minha volta.

Sim, tenho aprendido muito principalmente num registo informal, sobre permacultura e sobre a cultura grega, e por isso sinto que as minhas expectativas estão a ser completamente cumprimidas.
A casa e terreno da minha organização ficam apenas a 1hora de distancia de Atenas onde tenho passado alguns fins de semanas e onde também já fiz boas amizades. Estar tão próxima de uma cidade com tanta história como Atenas é particularmente gratificante para mim tendo em conta o meu background em Arquitectura.

Entre as tarefas da minha organização tenho tido tempo para outras pequenas viagens, já visitei a ilha de Andros, Sonion e o seu templo de Poseidon, cidade de Nafplios e pode ser que ainda tenha tempo de visitar mais alguns sitios até ao final do meu SVE, mas num país tão bonito torna-se um sério desafio decidir qual o próximo destino.
Em Junho o ciclo anual de permacultura da nossa escola terminou e a minha coordenadora propos-me fazer uma colaboração com outros projetos de uma associação parceira na Ilha de Lesvos. Não pensei duas vezes!

Nas ilha de Lesvos tive a oportunidade de colaborar noutro projeto de permacultura, na recuperação de uma pequena aldeia nas montanhas, conhecer e ajudar numa escola para crianças e jovens refugiados (One Happy Family) e ir ao maior campo de refugiados da Europa, Moria. Foi pouco mais do que uma semana mas muito intensa de onde levo muitos contactos, amizades e lições para a vida.
Esta aventura já está quase a terminar, infelizmente, mas uma coisa tenho a certeza, daqui já levo muitos frutos e com eles sementes que pretendo plantar e criar um novo jardim noutro lugar.

Thank you EVS, Ευχαριστώ την Ελλάδα!
(Obrigado SVE, Obrigada Grécia!)

Nea Makri, Grécia

ESC activities in June from "Les Amis de la Giraudiere" (France)

After May, June joined with summer vibes at its horizon. We travel all the way to Narbonne, close tri the Mediterranean Sea, to be a part of the seminar organized by the Erasmus+ programme, which included meeting new volunteers all over la France and building an international network.

In our quest visiting the south of France, the next stop was la Rochelle. It was a blessing walking through the streets: the mix between history and contemporary architecture, the smell of the sea and the prodigious port. 

June was also a synonym of public appearances. During the previous month, we were interviewed for the local newspaper called Courrier Français

Later came Sud Barbezieux who would say the next step was the radio? 

We participated at RCF Charente’s Programme called “26 minutes eco”, where we were questioned about entrepreneurship and its connection with economy.

Towards the end, we celebrated an open day at la Giraudiere
The aim of this workshop was to reunite different professional profiles to discuss the impact of entrepreneurship at diverse education levels and explain to them the goals of this project and our approach about the matter.