30 setembro 2019

O testemunho da Anna No.2

My last five months in Portugal have flown by incredibly fast. I’ve had great and not so great moments. I consider great moments to be
the ones where I’ve been able to connect with like-minded people, build good relationships, find a common language with the children I work with, discover the Portuguese wilderness and cultural sites, keep up with my photography hobby and enjoy good food.

Having a good time at the on-arrival training in Serra da Estrela.

As with everything, it’s not always fun and games. I’ve also had some difficult moments. One of the struggles for me is finding my place in the work environment. At times I feel I cannot contribute enough, mostly because of the lack of Portuguese language skills. But I’m working on it, slowly but surely. Luckily the children I work with are very kind and they seem to understand me even with limited use of words.

Co-creating with children. A banner we made for Children’s Day on June 1st. 

As already half of my time here is over, I’ve also started to think about my future and where I want to go next. I hoped that time away from my usual environment would help me to get some clarity in this matter, but I guess I have been overly optimistic. I haven’t really had a breakthrough yet. However, I’ve learned a few things about myself as a person and that is always nice.

A representation of two of my favourite hobbies – hiking and photography. Before coming to Portugal I didn’t  really know that spending time in the nature could become my new favorite thing. 

Três meninas. Photo taken in Évora by my dear friend Miguel.

All in all I can say that there is more positive than negative and by now I feel quite comfortable in Portugal. Even so much that when I went to visit my family and friends in Estonia, I got a bit home sick, meaning I was missing my home here. Now a new school year has started and I’ve taken up some more responsibilities at my workplace. This means I have the opportunity to learn even more about myself and perhaps develop some new skills.  Autumn for me has always been a great time for new beginnings and fresh ideas, so I’m looking forward to where the next months will take me.

My support team aka my lovely Lisbon family – Irene, Marina, Miguel and Agnes. Unfortunately this month we had to say goodbye to Miguel who has now moved on to Brussels to gain new experiences. Good luck to you, Miki! 

18 setembro 2019

O testemunho da Ewa

Olá! :)
My name is Ewa and I would like to share my story about participating in an EVS project Healthy Human, Healthy Environment, which I made in Lisbon.

Firstly I want to say few words about myself – I’m 26 years old and I come from Gdańsk, beautiful seaside town in Poland. Shortly before coming to Lisbon, I graduated in Logistics and Transport Management on Gdynia Maritime University. During my studies I went to Finland for and Erasmus exchange programme. In general, my story with volunteering started in 2011, when I took part in a recruitment process for EURO 2012, that was going to happen also in my city. And after that it went really fast, as I helped as a volunteer organising several events, mostly connected to sports (for example EHF Handball Championships, U-21 Football Championships and with EUSA some events in other European cities – in Zagreb, Madrid and Coimbra. Sports events and its organisation started to become my passion and I tried my best to be involved in it professionally in the future. I also wrote my thesis about Sports events logistics.

Okay, now let’s focus on the project!

Why did I decide to go? I wanted to experience something new and try living in a different country. I love to travel and get to know new cultures and I wanted to check how it is to live in Portugal. I was looking for projects in different countries, but Portugal was my main goal – and it worked out! I can say that the project HHHE came out in the perfect moment for me. I came to Portugal for the first time in 2017 and I fell in love. Following year I visited it another 3 times and I felt like I have to come back again and again. Also, quite important point – my boyfriend is Portuguese (we know each other since 2010, but we met first time in real life and we are together only since July 2018! Quite a crazy story :)).

What was the project about? It’s hard to describe it in one sentence. My host organisation –Viver Telheiras, came to life mostly for integrating the local community of Telheiras. It connects different types of organisations from this neighbourhood, so that can co-work together and for example organise events together. That’s the reason I helped those chosen organisations in their daily work and in organising events that were happening in Telheiras.

My first event was Magusto, that happens every November (around 11 th of November – day of São Martinho). The main point of the event are baked chestnuts, that actually I tried for the first time in my life! And I highly recommend, they’re perfect for cold evenings and winter time During Magusto I worked as a photographer and I tried to save the event in pictures, which besides chestnuts, was full of dance workshops and performances, and stands from the organisations from Telheiras that were selling their products and describing what exactly they’re working on.

As SPIN was the coordinating organisation of many different project in Lisbon – as well mine, they invited all of volunteers working with them for the Christmas party. Each of us had to bring something typical from our countries – For this event I made Pierogi, very typical Polish dish. They disappeared from the table before I was even able to eat one haha.

I was getting more into my work, which in the beginning was quite slow, because organising meetings with all of organisations from Telheiras, to talk about our cooperation and concrete tasks for me, was not so easy, especially around Christmas time. In January I started to work in ReFood – I decided that I will be helping them 3 days in the week, because their types of activities I liked the most.

Three days meant three different groups of people that I was working with, which I loved. Thanks to that I met a lot of people, mostly local ones, in different age, different experience and various lifestyles. It also helped me to open for Portuguese language, because there were some people that didn’t speak English and I was “forced” to use Portuguese :) What was the work about? On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I helped in the evenings to prepare the place for the next day – I was responsible for checking the amounts of Tupperware that came back to us from the families that ReFood helps and filling the missing ones if necessary – so the volunteers from the next day had everything ready for preparing food packages. On Thursday mornings I helped in deliveries of food from the supermarkets (I also used to be a driver sometimes, which was really nice as well!).

On Wednesdays we usually had the reason to celebrate –almost every week there was
someone having birthday (even me in January!), and this photo is showing it the best:

Viver Telheiras was one of the participants of Pilot International project called MiT –
Municipalities in Transition.

The main goal of the project is to integrate civil society and public administrations of neighbourhoods in couple of countries in the World. Viver Telheiras and organisations working on this project, created some ideas, in which implementation I also took part. One of them was the idea of School Gardens, of Associação Educativa para o Desenvolvimento da Criatividade.

I participated in the preparation meeting for schools, in preparation of the ground and control visits, on which we could see the effects of our work.

The other idea was preparation of recyclable instruments by kids from schools of Telherias, organized by Banco Social de Comunicação. The final point of this project was the concert of the kids with real orchestra on Telheiras Festival that took place in May.

In February, we hosted in Telheiras the final meeting of MiT project. I was also involved in it, mainly in the logistical part and preparation of daily activities. Those couple of days were really nice experience, as we were groups from 6 different countries. People were really great, we had a lot of fun, and also workshops and activities were quite intensive.

What besides EVS? Apart of working for Viver Telheiras, I tried to participate in different events that were happening in Lisbon. I attended Portuguese language course, I worked as a volunteer also in different places. In January I joined the team of Lean Academy Portugal, where I was involved in organisation of the event Lean Summit Portugal 2019, that took place in May 2019. In March I was a volunteer on the football match Portugal vs. Serbia  Besides that I took part in various types of workshops, meetings, I joined local ESN, I travelled a bit too. Christmas time I also spent in Portugal, with the family of my boyfriend in a typical Portuguese village – and it was first Christmas away from my home, so it was also special because of that. It was really nice, quite different than typical Polish Christmas, especially when it’s sunny and 20°C outside :D

Do I recommend? Of course! Lisbon and all Portugal is beautiful, I feel there as at home. As I’m from the seaside, the closeness of the ocean was great for me, I felt way better knowing that it was so close to me. Especially in the last period of my EVS, because I moved to the place where I had 15 minutes by walk to the beach  :D For sure I will be coming back to Portugal, maybe even one day I will decide to stay there for longer if I’ll have the possibility.

My project was supposed to last 12 months, but I had to finish it already in August, because I get the chance to work in UEFA in Switzerland, which is all I ever wanted and dreamed about! :)  Hope it’s the beginning of something great that started from being a volunteer!

10 setembro 2019

O testemunho da Alina

“I want my every  day to be new and different from the previous one, so that I discover something new every day, and I want to travel every day”. I thought in my room in my country when I accidentally saw this EVS project in Lisbon. And now, when I want to share my story and feelings about my EVS life and do the opposite look,  I am amazed that everything was exactly the same as I wanted. Now I can’t even believe that the end has come of my EVS and I also needs to pack.

My EVS was for one year, but time spilled so fast that I did not even have time to look back. It seems everyone knows this feeling, doesn’t it? It seems, like it was yesterday, when everything was interesting, new, unusual for me. It has been a year of my life in Portugal, but until now almost everything here is still interesting and new for me, there are still a lot of places that I want visit and have not visited yet.

 They say that “your homee is where you were born”. But why then every time when  I was coming back   from another trip to Lisbon, I was telling  me that “ I’m at home again” and I felt that I was at home. Why, right now, when I am writing about this, I feel sad and want to cry. Why, since  my  first days in Lisbon, I felt me at home. Probably the whole world  is our home and we can feel ourselves at home espechially  in the places, where we are comfortable, where we feel the energy of the home and the heart feels  good. Lisbon became my second home, and sometimes I feel  it is  my first home.

The smell of Portuguese coffee and pastel de nata’s, the smell of the ocean, with which I became very close, the Miradouro’s, who I so passionately sought to clymb from my first days in Lisbon and still there are attractive for me.

Probably all EVS volunnteers write at the end of their project,  that it changed their life. But the truth is that my EVS also changed my life. More precisely, this experience changed a lot in me, in my views on life, my principles, lifestyle, language barriers, style of communication with people. Thanks to EVS, to my coordinating organization and of course to my Hosting  organization,  where I worked for one year, I learned a lot and opened myself  in a new way, brought new challenges in the professional sphere and in the personal sphere as well, made me learn a lot about myself and to work on myself.

There isn’t even enough pages to count how many things my IVS has given me, how many I have learned, what ideas and new plans for life this amazing project has given me.

I was going to work in the same field where I worked before my EVS: with children with special needs (I have 7 years of experience). It seemed that there was probably nothing more to learn about this sphere, but it only seemed so. And now, having summed up, I realized how many things I discovered for myself in a professional  way, how many new skills I received and managed to realize myself in many projects. During my EVS, I was able to do:

– establish contact with the boy with Autism, overcome language, cultural barriers, get closer to him, to teach him new things and make a Art  project: Personal exhibition at the school where we worked together. This was my personal Art Theraphy project, according which I was working in that school , especially with this boy who has a talent for drawing. The project was very successful and for the school, and for the boy and his family, and for me too.

– In my Coordinating  organization, I organized Yoga Classes with volunteers and with everyone who was interested in the practice of Yoga. I had another interesting and cool experience, that gave me new skills.

-I had an interesting experience of traveling. It was and remains the most magical, emotional, amazing experience in all my life, full of meetings with amazing beautiful and good people, with whom I managed to make friends, full of crazy adventures, that taught me a lot, and of course full of a lot of new knowledge  in general , about new, interesting places. I can say I traveled a lot during my EVS and which is most important  I enjoyed it (started of discovering Latin America` Brazil and finishing travelling  inside of the country` in Portugal).

-in cultural and personal terms, in a new way  I opened myself up. I  acquired a lot of new habits and hobbies of life, such as surfing, Capoeira, drinking Portuguese coffee and making typical sweets,  discovering new insanely beautiful beaches in Portugal. I also learned to communicate with people from different countries, with different outlooks on life, with a different culture, I have made a lot of good and interesting friends.

I am grateful to everyone who was in my life during the period of my 1 year life in the amazing beautiful and magical city of Lisbon. This was the best year of my life, which is probably never can be forgotten. And I’m not  saying goodbye to  Lisbon, I would like to say see you very soon my pretty and lovely city. I’m going back with little sadness, but full of a lot of important “personal  luggage”,  with pleasant emotions.

I’m saying good buy also all the EVS people, who were near me here and with me and who gave me something or a lot of things. I’m very thankfull all of them: take care of the Lisbon and enjoy your EVS, beijinhos)).