29 outubro 2020

O testemunho No. 3 da Camilla (Crescer na Maior)

O meu tempo em Lisboa como no voluntariado está a correr para seu fim. Foi um ano inesperável em muitos aspectos que me deu um possibilidade único contemplar a vida duma outra perspetiva como nunca antes. Aprendi que para olharmos fora de nos próprios devemos olhar para dentro ou seja mais para dentro mais para fora

28 outubro 2020

O testemunho No 3 da Elena ( Crescer a Cores)


My year of European voluntary service is almost over and it has been full of important changes. Despite a year that made everyone's life different and that for a period even blocked it, I will focus on what were the personal and inherent changes in my year here in Portugal. It was a slow and not immediate path, made by moments of waiting, reflection and action. I started and probably learned to love myself more, to look inward and take care of myself. All this was made possible by starting to do a bit of physical work out every day,  talking more than one language in one day, choosing people that made my time better and created a small reality that I felt comfortable in.
Due to the lockdown I was only able to resume the project at the kindergarten at the beginning of September, but despite this, even if the time was less, it was nonetheless formative. In this time I realized there was more balance between responsibility and voluntary work, I felt more useful and integrated, both as regards the relationship with the children but also with the educators. Even if we hadn't seen each other for a long time, we immediately re-established an even more confidential and playful relationship, probably also thanks to the improvement of my Portuguese language skills. I felt really comfortable and I found on their part a great willingness and generosity towards me. My project colleague and me are very grateful for the lunches time shared with them during special celebrations. The moment I appreciated the most and in which I found the most connection with the children, was when I put them to sleep during the afternoon nap, taking off their shoes, tucking them in the blankets. I think I have grown fond of them and that I will miss them all.

Lisbon wasn't love at first sight, I needed my time to love it. I think it was a feeling related to how I felt. The better I started feeling, the more I started loving it. Long walks through the city, trips out of town to discover new paradisiacal places, art visits, have made this feeling stronger and more solid. Although it has been an uncertain and worrying year, this EVS and Lisbon have made it safer and have given me time to reflect and manage time in alternative ways.

27 outubro 2020

O testemunho No. 3 da Ana (SPEM)


It is hard to believe my year of ESC just finished! What an amazing experience it has been! 

ESC life… getting out of your comfort zone, meeting new people and doing plans you have never even thought about, discovering a new city, a new country and a new culture, challenging yourself to learn a language and getting used to a different way of living that I would recommend to anyone.

I really believe I ended up in the perfect project for me, SPEM (Sociedade Portuguesa  de Esclerose Múltipla) has felt my portuguese family all these months. So much love and fun, so many laughs, (pre-covid) hugs, unforgettable moments and so much learning… It has been hard sometimes but the strong people I met there taught me that facing challenges and hard times with a positive attitude really makes a difference, and as I said before, I think I always finished my days in SPEM with a smile in my face thanks to them. Tenho tantas saudades de vocês!

During this year, I also made friends for life, I will never forget all the adventures and crazy moments I have lived with other volunteers (and many more to come soon!). It would definitely not have been the same without them. I miss you so much guys!

Long story short, "it was what it was: IMPRESSIVE". 

Muito obrigada e até já Lisboa!


26 outubro 2020

O testemunho do Özcan No. 3 (SPEAK)


I’ll just use a few quotes from really nice people to discover some ideas to make up for my lack of creativity. 

“Pessimists are usually right, optimists are the ones who change the world.”

-Thomas Friedman

I like this quote. It glorifies no one. It accepts both sides as they are. Makes me wonder what would come out of a project of a pessimist and an optimist working together. One pointing out the problem, the other one solving it. 

I was pretty skeptical about the quote itself when I first saw it because I thought it debunks the pessimists. Then I started discovering it;  Pessimism can bring certain creative power with it and according to a few ‘first hand’ experiences that I’ve had there are actually productive pessimists who start their day with full realization and get the job done until the evening. They are the consistency barons and baronesses of our age. Their mindset is built upon understanding that the future is blank. They don’t put credit into it. What matters for them is what they do at the present moment. That’s, in my opinion, exactly how you start to change things both in you and around you. By focusing on what you want to do both in arts, social and professional life at the exact moment.  

The future is a concept, it doesn't exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There never will be, because time is always now. That's one of the things we discover when we stop talking to ourselves and stop thinking. We find there is only present, only an eternal now.” 

- Alan Watts

Now to deepen what I meant and to mirror what ESC has changed in me; I think I’ve learnt to balance the pessimism and optimism that dwells in me. Pessimism to stop hoping what the future might hold but to just focus on what I can do at the moment. Not for what I can become in the future but for what I am and what really gravitates me in the present. That proved to be enough motivation to kickstart a productive endeavor. Now after I start working, the optimism in me kicks in while I’m progressing in whatever journey I’m in and I find the tail of the motivation just to stick to it. Do I feel that I  produced a nice musical piece? Yes, I like it so let’s move on. Did I solve a problem while learning Javascript? Yes, it’s pretty simple but yesterday I was not able to do this. Let’s move on. It feels like just a natural flow of untying the knots that I didn’t know that were there. 

There is no way that we can predict what is going to happen as we have experienced this year. Fate is fickle, black swans are real so I say it’s totally acceptable to be reckless in whatever you wish to do. As long as you are humble that you know you’re not better than anyone else but also wise enough to know that you’re different than everyone else. 

Travel like a king, listen to the inner voice.

Ciao Spin! Thank you for everything.


23 outubro 2020

O testemunho final do Martin (Biblioteca Natália Correira)


Depois de terem passado os primeiros meses do projeto, a minha vida, e a da maioria das pessoas, virou-se a um cenário de incertezas e de angústias. Começou a propagação mundial de um vírus que nos obrigou a pôr os travões, a olhar à nossa volta, e a vermos na nossa verdadeira escala: seres que dependem da natureza, das relações, do ar, do movimento, dos sorrisos...; começavam assim os meus meses de confinamento, que supuseram uns meses de muitas aprendizagens, onde sem estar fisicamente na biblioteca, continuei a ser parte dela. Voltei a sentir que deixei o meu lugar, o espaço onde começava a sentir-me em família, como já tinha feito uns meses antes ao tomar a decisão de deixar Madrid e começar esta viagem. O destino levou-me a uma pequena vila do sul de Portugal, onde a minha companheira tinha crescido, e onde eu começaria a crescer, com dúvidas, com ansiedades, mas com a certeza de que as coisas iriam melhorar. No início senti-me desligado do lugar, parecia-me irreal ter passado de viver em Lisboa, no centro da cidade, a uma vila onde podia dar passeios de várias horas, perto da natureza. Se calhar foi o medo do desconhecido, de me enfrentar a um novo lugar na minha memória. Com o passar dos dias comecei a crescer e a sentir-me parte daquela paisagem. Fazia longas caminhadas enquanto pensava no que estava a acontecer na minha vida, em Portugal e no mundo inteiro. Pensava e agora tenho saudades daquela liberdade de seguir em frente por um caminho e deixar que a mente acompanhe o passeio com o ritmo dos meus passos.


Nestes meses continuei a ensinar espanhol desde o ecrã, mas também partilhava a experiência de estar neste lugar: o clima, a comida, as pessoas..., e as alunas davam-me a informação de como estava Lisboa, pelo que ainda a mantive presente. Passados esses meses, finalmente voltei a Lisboa. Queria voltar a esta cidade que decidiu acolher-me. Queria partilhar tempo com os colegas voluntários, andar pelas suas ruas, sentir-me novamente parte dessa vida de cidade. Mas o Martim que tinha voltado já era outro. Nesses meses no Sul aprendi que o que me faz bem é olhar árvores no horizonte e não prédios, que andar é melhor que apanhar o metro, e que o ar limpo é das melhores coisas que podemos ter de graça e que mais bem nos faz! No entanto, voltei para a biblioteca com muita ilusão, apesar de não ser o espaço de que eu lembrava: agora sem a possibilidade de ter pessoas lá dentro, com atividades, com crianças brincalhonas e conversas engraçadas. Mas, destas últimas semanas na biblioteca aprendi uma coisa que é mesmo boa: aproveitar a liberdade que temos, não esperar as limitações para valorizar quanto é que nos podíamos mexer.


Obrigado Portugal, obrigado São Bartolomeu de Messines, obrigado à minha companheira e à sua família. Obrigado equipa da Spin e da biblioteca. Neste ano aprendi tanto que ao olhar para trás parece que foram muitos mais meses desta experiência. Portugal agora é a metade do meu coração e com certeza voltarei a viver e a aprender mais neste incrível país.


22 outubro 2020

O testemunho da Marta (SPEA)


It is incredible that a year has passed by since the time I first landed in Lisbon. Many memories come from back then.

I know that I have done many things during my ESC, and still, I feel there is so much more of Lisbon, and Portugal, to see. I have been lucky enough to travel around Portugal with my friends, visiting Ruta Vicentina, the coast of Algarve, seeing beautiful sunsets holding a cold beer in Evoramonte, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Lagos, Portimão,... walking around the streets of Porto drinking wine, eating francesinha and enjoying the spectacular traditional food that Fernando and his wife cooked for us. But I cannot lie, I have cried too saying goodbye to those friends who made my ESC so special. Because this experience is not just about being abroad, it's also about the friendships you build and how you keep them.


One year already... For my surprise, Portugal made me fall in love with it, the sunsets, the food, the people, the beaches, and way more. In SPEA I have learnt so much, not only about birds and conservation, but also about how to be a professional, be patient and not to be way too perfectionist, handle my stress and grow as a person. They gave me the chance to create, organize and carry out my first activity in environmental education for children, a big step in my career. This last month was full of work. First in Douro Internacional following the power lines as in every season, then the Birdwatching Festival in Sagres following the migration of birds, and right after that, next day I was in Faro, doing fieldwork on Ilhas Barreira with the marine department. This time I ringed birds, trapped mice, counted cats on the island during the night (waking up at 04:30), looked for catprints on the sand, removed "chorão" (an invasive plant), counted seagulls and having the greatest time with the crew swimming in October after finishing a day of hard work. But during the days we camped on the island we weren't alone, senhor Alves, a fisherman who lives on Ilha Deserta, cooked for us fish and meat in his ember, everything was delicious. Part of the highlight during this trip was making new friends and having long and deep talks meanwhile eating breakfast beholding the sunrise.

Now this experience has come to an end, even though I don't have to say goodbye to my friends here because I will stay longer, I have to part from SPEA, where they treated me in the best way, and this will be very hard for me...


I would never trade the year that I've been here for nothing in the world.


12 outubro 2020

O testemunho do João (EU Ambassadeurs project Bordeaux)


Corpo Europeu de Solidariedade. É este o grande programa no qual o projeto que realizei ao longo do último ano se insere e ao qual deixo desde já o convite a todos os que, tendo condições para o fazer (algo tão simples como ter entre 18 e 30 anos), participem. Um ano que "parou" a meio mas que mesmo assim pareceu tão longo, dadas as experiências com que volto a casa para contar. 

Poderia falar-vos do projeto, com a quantidade imensa de tarefas diversas que tive a oportunidade de fazer e que, não gostando de uma, não tinha com que me preocupar, pois sabia que no dia a seguir já teria outra que adoraria. Poderia falar-vos das pessoas, das 24 pessoas com que ao longo do ano partilhei diariamente a minha primeira experiência não só fora de casa, como fora do meu país, e que sem dúvida são a melhor coisa que levo destes 12 meses. Poderia falar-vos da cidade e do país, que vos dão uma oportunidade única de visitarem e conhecerem uma diversidade incrível de locais, dos Alpes ao Mediterrânico, de Paris ao País Basco, da Catalunha ao Leste Europeu. Era difícil imaginar, há um ano atrás e como cidadão português, que era tão fácil conhecer a Europa, que tudo estava a umas horinhas de viagem! Poderia contar-vos tudo isto e muito mais, mas nada seria verdadeiramente fiel à experiência que tive. Resta-me desafiar-vos a, assim que possam, tentarem realizar um projeto semelhante. Um projeto diversificado, não só em termos de atividades mas também de pessoas, que vos permita crescer e usufruir daquele que é, verdadeiramente, o melhor ano das vossas vidas. 

Uma palavra ainda para toda a equipa da Associação Spin, que ao longo do ano, e pese embora o meu desleixo em responder aos e-mails (tal era a intensidade com que estava a viver), sempre mostrou preocupação e disponibilidade para aquilo que precisasse. Façam o projeto com eles, que certamente será uma experiência da qual não se arrependerão!
Um abraço a todos, virtual, que a distância social a isso obriga!"

08 outubro 2020

O testemunho do Pedro (Open Mind em Shipka (Bulgaria))


Textos ou imagens não são suficientes para descrever o que vivi durante este ano na Bulgária, mas aqui vai o melhor resumo que posso dar.
O meu projecto é em Shipka, Bulgária, que passou a ser chamada de Shipka Paradise (Paraíso) por nós, voluntários. Foi realmente como viver num paraíso com este projecto, mas há que se trazer boa energia e fazer com que o paraíso aconteça.
Nestes 12 meses que passaram (Setembro 2019 até Setembro 2020) aprendi muito, mas não o que se aprende na escola/faculdade. Vivi em comunidade, com voluntários maravilhosos e com a coordenadora do projecto e a sua filha, cães, gatos, outros mamíferos, galinhas, muitos insectos, répteis, bactérias, etc. na mesma casa. Entre voluntários criámos uma família maravilhosa, em que partilhar é espontâneo, distribui-se responsabilidades, coopera-se, pensa-se nos valores ou objectivos da comunidade antes dos valores individuais, integra-se em vez de se segregar, etc.

Aproximei-me do estilo de vida Zero Waste (Desperdício Zero). Rejeitar palhinhas, sacos de plástico, embalagens, comprar avulso, etc. Produzir os meus próprios produtos: pasta de dentes, detergentes, shampoo, esponjas para lavar pratos, etc. Repensar, adaptar, improvisar com o que se tem.
Com tudo isto aprendi mais sobre como viver em comunidade, cuidar da horta, viver uma vida mais sustentável, no sentido da Permacultura e da Sociocracia, que são das coisas que me cativam mais na vida.
Abre também espaço para experimentar coisas novas e fazer o que realmente se gosta, sem receio de se ser julgado. Tentar comunicar com poucos conhecimentos na língua, fazer crochet, tricotar, fazer macramé, fazer kombucha, viajar à boleia, trabalhar com terra argilosa para fazer construções, fazer actividades com crianças, fazer pão e queijo, etc.

No fim de tudo, Bulgária é a minha segunda casa. Deste ano e deste país, guardarei no meu coração e na minha memória muito boas gentes, boas situações, lindas paisagens, excelentes comidas, lindas montanhas e florestas para explorar, etc.

06 outubro 2020

O testemunho da Lara No. 3 (Crescer a cores)

A year can change many things. I arrived in Lisbon in November last year, unaware of everything that would have happened, afraid but strongly motivated and i'm leaving it richer, stronger, more confident than myself and with a wealth of incredible memories. A year full of emotions and sensations: happiness, euphoria, motivation, amazement but also anger, sadness, fatigue. Because getting out of the comfort zone is not easy at all. One day you are at home and the other one you find yourself in a country where you do not speak the local language and do not even understand it, where every person you meet is a new person who will perhaps become part of your life or maybe not, but meanwhile you discover it by knowing it. A country where you will probably share a house with strangers and have to start a project working in a new context. This is scary, the uncertain is very scary. I remember that before arriving in Lisbon i was so scared that i made a list of reasons not to go anymore. Fortunately i decided to live that fear, feel it all and take that step to go further. All the fantastic experiences i had this year, all the emotions, all the smiles... Icould not have lived them and i would not feel as i do now: happy and satisfied. Happy for all the wonders i have seen, for the places i fell in love with, happy for the wonderful work experience with my children and with a team of strong, wonderful women who inspired me and treated me like a daughter, i will never stop thanking them. Happy because i felt at home in a city where i was not born, happy for the people i met on this journey, without them this experience would not have been the same. Some have remained in my life, others have not, but in one way or another everyone has left something. With some of them i shared a lot, i shared a completely unscheduled lockdown. We underwent this situation together and we came out strong, we supported each other and we did everything possible to make a trauma an experience to remember also positively, because i will remember in this way... a moment in which i created very strong bonds, real relationships that do not stop at the first obstacle, which have gone beyond the surface and will be able to overcome the distances.

So many emotions in a year, with the wonderful Lisbon background which is also the author of these emotions... It is difficult to explain what you can experience at night admiring the view from the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, and why you will miss the azulejos and sidewalks of the city center, or because you absolutely have to say goodbye to the Tejo before leaving...Já estou com saudades mas não é adeus minha Lisboa.

02 outubro 2020

O testemunho do Kerim No. 2

It has been six months since I have started ro do volunteering in Spin Association and everything was perfectly fine so far. I took part of some activities and wrote some articles in order to be helpful for young people who want to do ESC in future. Besides, I have met so many people despite the Covid-19 and improved my linguistic skills. I am feeling highly motivated for the next months.