YOU ASKED FOR IT, YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO TRUDGE UP THERE!

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Be careful about what you wish, because it might come true.

EVS of my dreams was to spend time in some Scandinavian cultural centre, where I could become more familiar with cultural management, production and PR. But it happened in a different way. I lived 12 months in Romanian media centre where language courses for seniors were provided and I hand no worry in the world. It was not the plan at all, but I started to be involved in civic activism, community projects and ecology. So now I am in local economy, green transport, garbage management and I am more and more fascinated by eco/recyclo-art.

EVS as laboratory

My sending organisation was cultural node Stanica-Záriečie, where I did my university practice and in that time I met many foreign volunteers. In my mind my future was related to similiar environment and community. On the other hand I did not believe I was able to create and carry out cultural and artistic projects after graduating in Cultural studies. I needed to link my studies and future career. EVS seemed to be an appropriate lab for testing my competencies and personal limits. So I started to look for a hosting organisation in relaxed style, I spent the whole month rewritting my CV and motivation letter. Contacted organisations answered that they prefered another candidate or they accepted me for a period I did not agree with. Just a few days before deadline I got an e-mail about “last-minute open call“ project in Romania. Activities partially met my expectations: media centre with social and intercultural trainings, even art was mentioned.

Overcoming prejudices and stereotypes in interspace and in split time

“Your organs will be great for human trafficking and the rest of your body will be used for prostitution!“- That was the most common reaction of my family and friend, who have never been in Romania. It made me only more determined to go! Any stay outside your home country leads to the confrontation of your expectations with reality – and it makes you change your opinion. I found out that Romania is not a country of gypsies (even the percentage of them is lower than in Slovakia!), not all the Romanians are dark (as blondie I was no rarity) and even though there is a big number of street dogs, they are treated in similiar way than cows in India (although municipalities try to regulate their numbers by sterilisation and marking). That's it for overcoming prejudices, but there is more! I did not expect that some of them would be confirmed and even more dominant than I though. EVS can work as interspace and split time and multicultural community of volunteers from different countries is created in hosting country. Thanks to that I could say: to understand English spoken by Frenchs you need at least one week incubation period. Germans are never late, but Spanish and Portuguese are “maňana.“ And Italians cook pasta and pizza which never stay on table for a long time. As the only Slovak I had to answer generalising questions. Whether my country is EU member, what caused the dissolution of Czechoslovakia (as Romania has similiar experience with Moldavia) – these questions were easy. More difficult ones were questions if all the Slovaks are like me and how are Rumburak and Arabela (famous Czechoslovak TV fairy-tale characters) nowadays.

EVS volunteer as Yes Man

As EVS volunteer I started to act as Yes Man (in my case Yes Woman). In the movie with the same title Jim Carrey tried therapy where he reacted in a positive way to any impulse. My foreign stay forced me to take this role. Things I would never dare to do in Slovakia just happened in Romania. My social filtres were gone – I agreed to any request or invitation from anybody. There was time, willingness and curiosity. I dealt with target grups that I would avoid in Slovakia because of one simple reason – I feel too sorry for them (kids from orphanage, refugees, seniors). But yesman attitude helps to create network of social contacts in extremely fast way. It led to my in participation in activities related to preparation of Timisoara city campaign for ECC 2020. Former director of the campaign is also active in other areas such as community development in Stanciova village where volunteers are hosted by WWOOFing a Help Exchange.
First & last chance: personal project
If you do not know what you would like to do, then you have to do what others want you to do.
During my EVS I was doubting several months about myself and many questions were attacking my mind: Do I understand wrongly the project? Should I wait for improvement? Should I complain? Am I the only one person for whom this is a problem? If yes, is problem inside me? Although I used to live abroad as I participated in different student and non-formal education exchanges and I also worked abroad during summers. I considered myself as open-minded and tolerant. BUT! Step by step details which were annoying me more and more started to appear in my EVS project. Do I have too critical expectations or is there misunderstanding about my project activities or is all the my project just a fake? I do not believe in extremes, but cliché: the truth is somewhere in the middle – it is really true. During the first phase of my project which might be named as “integration“ I became familiar with every day life of my hosting organization. And I found that my tasks and responsibilities were kind different what was in my activity agreement. I really though about quitting it as the former volunteers in my HO did. But then I realised: There is still one thing I can do! The personal project within EVS is giving volunteers a chance to create, develop and practice their ideas in any field. So I took my chance.
What I am proud of: GREEN MAP OF TIMISOARA and all the people & things around it
After few months as I considered myself adapted and integrated as much as possible in Romanian culture and local community, so I decided there is a time for my personal project. As I was teaching teens social skills and our sessions were built on non-formal methods of education, we had a lot of discussion. One of the topic we were speaking about was recycling. I made them two groups to discuss and find arguments why is recycling easy/difficult in Romania. There were different answers, but one was common: „There is no container near my house for separated garbage.“ The fact is when I came to Timisoara I decided to separate garbage from the flat I am living in. The closest container I found was at least 2 km far away from our block of flats. So there is a question. Is this about lazyness or about bad distribution of containers? My opinion is, that the situation could be solved by better promotion of green opportunities in city. I decided to create a map of green opportunities in Timişoara with aim of better promotion of ecological opportunities in city and promoting sustainable lifestyle via mapping „green points.“ I started to do mapping of different things like: containers for separated garbage, fresh milk automats & drinking water fountains, green shopping opportunities, bike and different stuff repair workshops, etc. The map exists like google-maps app and it is work-in progress version as any point can be added anytime. Right now you can check it here: http://bit.ly/VuG6b6. To support promotion of Green Map of Timisoara with a big help and support of my friends/local volunteers I created English-Romanian blog http://greenmaptimisoara.wordpress.com which is also about providers of green services and something I am really fascinated about – almost forgotten “old-school“ jobs like knife-sharper, shoes repairing, etc. To make all this agenda more attractive and cool I built up crew for creating stop-motion animation titled Long way for recycling available http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmREndvfsJc.

Conclusion or what did I get from it

During the EVS year I have grown in many ways, I lost some of my ilusions (even about myself), but I got some new illusions, too. My project was no „bed of roses“, but something that could be described by Slovakian proverb as “dancing around hot gruel“ followed by finding out that this grueldoes not need to be eaten so hot. Thanks to everybody who was part of my story. It was a great time. I would not mind to live it once again. Even starting tommorrow. HOWGH!

Fifth Edition

5While closing the 4th edition of Scriptamanent, after the final meeting in Izmir, we are already preparing the new call for the next edition of the project. Stay tuned!

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