20 janeiro 2020

O testemunho da Valentina No. 1 (Viver Telheiras)

The first two months into my Lisbon and ESC experience have brought a lot change to my life. I have left my very demanding and deadline-oriented job in a multinational in my home country not too long before starting my volunteering year in Portugal. The work pace changed, and the tasks have varied. After getting to know the organisation I'm volunteering at and its strong connection to the neighbourhood I work in, I started taking part in permaculture/urban agriculture workshops with children from the schools around, art workshops at the community centre, held a number of meetings in Portuguese about future projects and have helped organise our working space for various events. 

The experience also came with a new living arrangement which brought me a new roommate and a number of hostel, and later, flat mates, who became my meal cooking supervisors, flea market companions and travel buddies. Similarly, the on arrival training for volunteers at the start of their projects connected me with other friends to keep in touch with and visit.

It's a challenge which undoubtedly will take you out of your confort zone and make you face obstacles for which otherwise you wouldn't have prepared. I remember feeling the frustration of not speaking the language at the level I wanted to (still do), and how much of an impediment it brings to daily life; likewise, navigating a new health system with all its bureaucracy whilst in unfortunate circumstances reinforces how much of a privilege familiarity and citizenship status are.

Lastly, even away from friends and family, I oftentimes felt incredibly grateful for the opportunity I've been given. I've felt inspired by and enjoyed my work, I went on hikes/trips with people who shared my joy for nature, I've joined some groups which work for the same causes I would support at home, participated in manifestations, and have queued up my reading list, which I plan to go through with my library card. 

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