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!

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