29 setembro 2020

O testemunho do Tavi No. 3 (Associação Spin)


Hey! I’m Tavi, a 23 year old guy from Romania. For the past 12 months I’ve been working as a volunteer at the Spin office.

I will keep it short and sweet since I’ve been the one publishing testimonies during the last months so I feel I’ve read everything there is to read about volunteering experiences.

I think the almost all the clichés about  European volunteering apply to me. I will sound like a paid advertisement for ESC but I really developed my skills, became more independent, put more my ideas into practice etc. The only thing I didn’t improve in this project is my English. I think it’s worse now.

Working there is different for each volunteer but I’ve been lucky enough to do mostly things I like (drawing on the Spin hostel wall, making illustrations, editing videos and interviews).

Here are some highlights of my time in Portugal:

-random live music and dancing at miradoros where lots of hippies just come together

-going to museums not because I like them, but just to check them off the list

-absolutely insane huge waves compared to the tiny black sea ones

-house parties that inevitably get interrupted by the police

-discovering a million types of vegan food I never wanted to know

-hanging out with everyone on the weekend at the beach

I couldn’t have asked for more. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and to all my friends here who have made this experience unforgettable, even during a pandemic.

17 setembro 2020

O testemunho da Viviana No. 3 (AAMA Associação Actividade Motora Adaptada)


Lisboa melhorou assim muito a minha vida que o primeiro sentimento que sento quando penso nela é logo uma imensa gratidão. Fazer uma lista dos dons que ela me deu demoraria demasiado tempo. Se não tivesse preguiça poderia falar de todas as amizades verdadeiras que me acompanharam durante esta viagem, pessoas maravilhosas que viraram uma família..ou se a saudade não me matasse poderia descrever as paisagens mágicas que eu vi.. ou se tivesse a vontade poderia falar dos bate-papos sobre a vida perto do rio que eu fiz.
Se sentisse a abertura certa poderia também listar todo o que eu aprendi sobre de mim que nem sabia.


O segredo desta experiência foi que Lisboa me deixou pensar ..me deixou parar o tempo para pensar...Então agora imaginando um miradouro cheio de água, sol e cores penso no que está acabando e no que está começando..e na mudança...




Quando chega a mudança?
Como ela se afigura?
Como ela se veste?

Quando chega a mudança?
Eu saberia reconhece-la?
Repararia que a mudança chegou?

E' porque tenho medo,
que a mudança chegou?

Quando chega a mudança?
Eu saberia enfrenta-la?
, com honestidade,
Eu não sei se estou pronta o não,
é porque a mudança chegou?

Quando chega a mudança?
E' quando pensando
no que nos fazemos até agora,
tudo não parece bastante?

Talvez é aí ..que a mudança chegou?

Porque também não me sento capaz..

Será que ela chegou?

Na frente de mil perguntas
tenho porém curiosidade

Acho que vai dar tudo certo
Que a mudança chegou!

14 setembro 2020

O testemunho da Maria No. 3 ( Boutique da Cultura)

Things got a little bit weird since March, we must all agree. I do not want this to be a pandemic confession, but it would be strange to ignore the fact that yes, we were supposed to do a volunteering service while a pandemia hit the world.


I felt lucky to have a roof under my head, to have food to put on the table. I feel grateful to have had the right support from my organizations (Spin + Boutique da Cultura) and for all the people that surrounded me with love virtually and in real life.


I really don’t have much else to say. At last, I was able to finish projects that we had stopped during quarantine and I felt like closing doors and opening new and beautiful ones since then. Let’s see what’s behind them. Até já Lisboa!!!

09 setembro 2020

O testemunho do Nabil No. 1 (Bola p’ra Frente)

Hi my name’s Nabil from Morocco, finally in Lisbon (one-month ago) to start my volunteering project at Bola p’ra Frente. I was all set to come and start my project on march 1th, but then my flight was canceled, the borders were closed and the project has been postponed because of COVID 19 pandemic. What a tragedy! Let’s say it was one of the hardest times of my life.  

I believe that in the process of working on your goals and dreams you are going to face a lot of disappointment, failure, pain and setbacks. Then, I tried to overcome this situation by starting of learning Portuguese, improving my English and focus more in my field of expertise.

5 months after, I came to Lisbon which is a wonderful city to live and I started the adventure. Now, I fully recognize that in life everything happens for a reason means I came in the right time :D.

Today, Yes, I’m out of my comfort zone and I have new friends from different countries, different cultures and backgrounds and that’s where the growth is.

My first weeks at work allowed me to see how much important the role and actions of Bola p’ra frente in the daily life of Bairro Padre Cruz inhabitants whatever they are kids, teenagers or old people.  I’m overjoyed of taking this challenge and being a part of such a big family, I sincerely hope to give an add value and make a real and positive impact to this community. 

08 setembro 2020

O testemunho do Angel No. 3 ( Boutique da Cultura)

Well, after 1 year, my project has come into an end, and it has had a lot of experiences and feelings. The first day after my project finished was kind of magic. I felt the same strange sensation that I had when I was here for my first time, and I for me this kind of things are special. For me, feelings and sensations are attached to specific moments, because this feelings are born from experiences thay you had, thoughts, and just in that specific moment. Everytime you feel something, you feel it for the first time, because maybe you have felt something similar, but in another conditions, so it's kind of different. That's why for me it was strange, because I had the same feeling of being starting a new chapter, in the same place after one year. It's not the same, but I feel it like.

In this time, I have also learnt a lot from my relations with the people, more than what people think. I've discovered from close persons a lot of things, like their way to act depending on the situation, depending with who they are, and that has surprised me with a lot of people. I've met people who has been kind of egocentric, who wants to be the center of the attention, people who interrupts (in a bad way) other people when the other is talking. People who is really false (...). Anyway, not all the people is bad, or has bad things. Not all the volunteers that I have met that have wanted to be the "star" are bad person, some of them they have a really big heart when they don't look to themselves, and that's something that I really appreciate, how a person can change that much depending on "where is she/he looking", it's something from where I have learnt a lot, it's really interesting how people minds can work. People diversity is always good and I like that people find themselves different from others, or they just have more ego, the only thing I think about it is that they should be careful, when your ego is bigger than your person, you're no one, they are just a mouth talking about themselves or trying to be funny, and before being popular or funny, I prefer to be myself, to be the person I am. It's about listening and talking, when you do one of them more than the other, you're trying to be more than you are.

I have also met incredible people this lasts months. It's true that I have lost a little bit of contact with some friends because since the summer came, I don't really want to be talking that much via phone or whatever, I'm more like the wind that blows the leaf and carry it whenever it feels. It hasn't been anything particular to anyone, it has been just my way to feel the life as we should, do things just by how you feel them, and with this I don't want to say that I didn't want to talk or meet people, I just want to say that I preferred to let the things be by their way to be rather than force anything or being taking the phone to talk, I'm a person who likes to talk face to face. Anyway, this last months I've met a lot of incredible people, more outside than inside of the volunteer circle, and it's a really huge difference for me.

Being volunteer it's hard on meeting people, and it's something that a lot of people could be like "whatt", and I mean, you can meet a lot of people, but it's a lot of people that will go back to another country after some months or 1 year, after they will start their lifes again, and they will start to lose every remember or experience. Maybe it's not like this in all cases, but in most, and we have to be realist, if you leave and people is not keeping the contact with you, in many cases they will forget about others little by little. That's why I have had friends here, and I don't want to impress anyone, just show them the way I am, the way I look, and I think that's magic. I found a group of friends who are aiming for the same as me for the next year and for me it's fantastic, because in this way I can really approach them more to the concept I have of friend, we can live new experiences but not from zero, what makes the relation that we have even stronger. With other people, I'm sure I'm not forgetting them because I have good memory and I've learnt a lot from everyone and even if I don't say it directly, I'm always gratefully by the people I've met for that. About what people thinks about me, I don't really mind, if people want to think I'm "X" or I'm "Z", for me it's the same, for me the most important thing is that who met me, knows me the way I am, I feel and I think, I'll always try to be humble and help the others, I don't feel I need to be talking about myself, and the impact that it has on my friends it's special, because I can be the way I want without caring about almost anything, and they will be the same way, or feel confident with me, adn that's what makes me be the way I am, I don't need to make jokes to make other think I'm funny, or try to be serious to look like that. I'm the way I am thanks to the people I love. Thanks Lisbon for this year, and let's see how comes this next one.

02 setembro 2020

Testemunho da Ana Sofia (Short Term ESC Vienna)


Hi, I'm Ana Sofia from Portugal and for 3 weeks I was an ESC volunteer with Grenzenlos in Vienna. 22 days in August of new experiences, laughs, and challenging moments. First, the borders between Austria and Portugal were closed, so I had to take the COVID-19 test, which was fortunately negative. There were no direct flights and I was the last arriving at the accommodation, at 11 pm, which was a little embarrassing. The group that I found was amazing and that made living together in a big room at a scout's house easier. The lack of private space, which is something I am not used to, was evident there, but it was not a bad experience, my social skills improved, and it helped me to feel the pleasant group spirit. It was important to be aware of the group necessities and to have in mind that something bad for an individual was probably bad for the group, so I was worried about the other people more than I would normally do. The place of work was a wonderful garden in the 2nd district of Vienna, Augarten which has two second world war flak towers. The work (gardening) was sometimes hard because of the hot weather and it was physical, which was another outside of my comfort zone experience. Painting, which we did in the second week, was more enjoyable.

I had a lot of free time and I felt as if I was almost on holiday most of the time. The work was just in the mornings and the weekends were free of it. For me, the camp was not about the work but more about living together as a group (9 people, 6 nationalities: Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Austrian, Colombian, French). We organized international dinners with the other volunteering group, which was preparing a theater play, excursions to the city, and went out at night to the Danube Island to dance and listen to music together. There were cooking groups of two, and the moment they told me about it was the only time I panicked during the entire experience. It turned out to be a very enriching though unexpected task. I learned to estimate and cook food for nine people and at the same time created a little cooking book of international recipes with the particularity of having learned with people from each country.

I visited a lot of places in Vienna, many with the free guidance of the group leaders. For example, the St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna State Opera, the wonderful main building of Vienna University, Prater, the Central Library on the Gürtel, Schönbrunn Palace, Spittelau waste incineration plant, Vienna Central Cemetery, the Museum of Technology, Mozart's house and the Vienna University of Technology. At the Naschmarkt, I tried Mohnzelten and saw the biggest dried fruit and spice stalls I have ever seen. I went to Mariahilfer Straße, the fancy, nineteenth-century shopping boulevard several times because of Paolo Bortolotti Italian ice cream. There are three shops in that street and the one at the door 22nd serves higher quality cones, although ice cream is the same. Dark chocolate (Bitter Schokolade) was the best flavor I tried. It was opened until 11 pm which in Vienna is late. The only thing that annoyed me in Vienna was that almost everything closed at 6 pm and on Sunday all day.

I had the pleasure of listening to street musicians playing Vivaldi Violin Concerto in G Minor, RV 315 L'estate (No. 2 from Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione, Op. 8): III. Presto in Tuchlauben Street near Rolex Boutique. On the way to Leopoldsberg, I was able to see Vienna's vineyards. Grüner Veltliner wine I tried was almost as good as Portuguese wine, I enjoyed it. I think it would be a good idea to install in Lisbon the water fountains with cooling water spray, which they call Sommerspritzer. I understood their existence just on a really hot day, but it was lifesaving. Sachertorte is a good chocolate cake with apricot jam that I will try to bake at home.

On the last day, we made a wonderful barbecue with the gardeners and it was the moment I forgot I had been a vegetarian for almost three weeks.

Now that I came back to Portugal, I am doing a voluntary quarantine and I am very satisfied with this rewarding experience! Also, my German improved, and I made amazing friends. Special thanks to my sending organization, Associação Spin, and Grenzenlos Interkultureller Austausch.

Sintra, 26/08/2020

Ana Sofia Trigo