My name is fabio I’m 24 years old,
I’m from Portugal and I’m a EVS volunteer. I started volunteering with the age of 17 in a sub-group of the local parish in the city of Espinho. Our work was to help people in need preparing them proper meals, clothes and making them company, giving them a moment of joy. This experience was so gratifying that I started informing myself better about volunteering, I found out different forms of volunteering, different ways to help, different experience opportunities and that’s how I found out about European voluntary service. Back than it was not possible for me to do such type of volunteering but I always had it in mind. My opportunity came in the beginning of 2016 and I knew about CampoSfera’s project through a Portuguese organisation called “casa da hora” in the city of Porto and my actual sending organisation.
I found the information about this project very appealing, since it would give me the opportunity to learn about subjects like sustainable development, ecology, permaculture, and also it would give me the opportunity to work with youth regularly, something that strongly motivated me to apply to this project.
7th of April was the day of my arrival and the beginning of this experience. It was a stressful day, starting a new adventure, going to a new country, meeting new people, and even the weather was not helping because 5/10 minutes before the landing in Cracow the plane got hit by a lighting, it was very scary even more because it was my first time flying. I arrived to CampoSfera in the night, got received by two board members, Jakub Kubiec and Dawid Doniec, camposfera’s responsible and coordinator respectively and two Romanian volunteers doing workaway.
After this the project started, I had the first impression on how it would be my next 9 months. The work started by planting trees around camposfera’s field and polish a room’s floor for painting it in the future.
Precisely ten days after my arrival I had the chance to know my Evs colleague until the end of the project. His name is Nicolo, he is Italian and since we are the only long term volunteers in CampoSfera we had the same experience, which started with preparing the garden for building a green house.
During this project we accomplished to plant, take care and gather vegetables , such as cucumber, chilis, paprika, Carrots, pumpkin, rukula, potatoes, spinach, salads, parsley and aromatics. Working with nature was a very enjoyable thing to do.
The second part of the project started in the beginning of May by going to a school in Mstyczów and play some traditional games from our countries with kids. From that moment on we also went to schools to make presentations about our respective culture and about EVS. It was very interesting work, we had a lot of fun with the youth, it was a self-developing experience and it’s also important to mention that we always got very well received in the schools, teachers were very friendly and kind.
We had two different workshops in CampoSfera. On the first one we learned how to build two structures made of willows, a cupola and a tipi. On the second one we learned how to prepare and use clay in construction purposes, in this situation we used it to cover a wall. It was very entertaining not only for the workshops, but also for the opportunity to work side by side with very nice people. Sometimes we had youth exchange in CampoSfera, where some students come and we do different activities like playing games, meetings where we talked about different subjects related with non-formal education.
In my opinion, one of the most important points of EVS is the culture exchange, and during this project we had a lot of opportunities to see and live this cultural differences. On 3rd of may me and Nicolo spent the day in Kielce to see how was celebrated the constitutional day, for me it was very interesting to see how serious people took this holiday and how beautiful it was to see the colours of Poland in every corner.
During our projects, for numerous times Camposfera hosted volunteers from all over the world, from France, Mexico, Spain, Japan, Sweden and Malaysia. Living together, working, sharing ideas, trying different but very tasty food, going out and having fun was another very interesting way to feel this cultural differences.
In the beginning of June, precisely between 6th to 13th we went to Warsaw for Erasmus + Educational training, It was an amazing experience, where we met people from different European countries, volunteers like us in Poland. We had different activities, meetings where we discuss topics like Erasmus + responsibilities and rights, culture, polish language, personal experiences, moral issues and played some group games. It’s important to highlight the work of the trainers, I think they did a very good work organising our activities and helping the group to connect. In the end of this educational training we had a very nice activity, in which we saw a group of professional dancers’s performance, typical polish dances like Polonaise or Krakowiak, and then they offered us the opportunity to learn a bit those dances. It was a very special week that will stay in good memory for me, and for everyone there I believe.
Another great activity we had was when we went to other organisation called Ponidzie life +. This organisation is promoted by EU, and is responsible for preserving vegetation that is in risk of extinction in Krajobrazowe park in Swietokrzyskich region. The members of this organisation kindly showed us their activities, like the way they cleaned fields and the vegetation that was under surveillance. We helped them to build a fence for sheeps, which they used for making research like the impact of it on the vegetation. They took us also to Cracow where they promoted their organisation and distributed material with information about their activities. It was a very good learning process to understand the positive impact in nature of such activities that become more and more necessary nowadays.
This EVS experience also gave me the opportunity to travel and see different places. I went to cities like Kielce, Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk. This last, was one of the cities that I most enjoyed, very beautiful and where I saw the Baltic sea for the first time. Me and Nicolo also planned two different trips, one we did it in the end of August and we went to Italy where he showed me very beautiful places near where he lives, we went to Padova, to Lido’s beach, and to Venece. And the second trip in This EVS experience also gave me the opportunity to travel and see different places. I went to cities like Kielce, Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk. This last, was one of the cities that I most enjoyed, very beautiful and where I saw the Baltic sea for the first time. Me and Nicolo also planned two different trips, one we did it in the end of August and we went to Italy where he showed me very beautiful places near where he lives, we went to Padova, to Lido’s beach, and to Venece. And the second trip in September, we did the same but in Portugal, where I showed him some places, Porto, Espinho, Silvalde for example.
This are the best activities we had while doing EVS for me, and I realize that it was a tremendous learning process where I had experiences that I would never have if not for EVS. During the project there were better moments than others, and since at this moment I am at one month before the end of the project there is this feeling of “I wonder if”, maybe it could be possible to take more from this experience, with organisation do activities that were proposed to do but weren’t not possible. Anyway, with no doubt I take a lot from this volunteering time, I will miss Klimontow’s place and its nature beauty, the work on the garden, and the activities with the kids. The greatest thing I take it’s the different people I met and specially my EVS colleague Nicolo, who become one great friend and as the Italian word can describe, a “fratello”.
I would like to thank CampoSfera for the hosting time, to the members Jakub Kubiec that made some of the activities possible and organised our work, and Dorota Kubiec for giving us the opportunity to learn the basis of Polish language. And hoping our work can be valuable for the next volunteers.