On the 4th April 2016, Carolina Salvador Robles finished her 7-months EVS project at the Centre Pinocchio. She was involved in the project “S.M.I.L.E. – Sport Meets Inclusion and Links-up Europe” (ref. nr. 2015-1-RO01-KA105-013970), financed by the European programme ERASMUS+, and sees the collaboration of Asociatia Lumea lui Pinocchio with its Spanish partner COCAT.
We want to say bye to Carolina in two ways: first of all, through a funny image, “Stamped Carolina”, representing the fact that Asociatia Lumea lui Pinocchio is already a part of her experience and life, but also through her words. These are the words she chose to write at the end of her enriching volunteering experience in Panciu. Thank you Carolina!!!
They’re not a few the people who ask me things such as “what was it about this thing you’re in?” or “why Romania?”, and I wonder myself “and why not?”. The idea of a long-term volunteering comes in different moments for every single person: you’re looking for an outside experience but you don’t really know what, you need some time spent in thinking, you want to spend some months travelling, learning another language, another culture, maybe a friend told you about it… But the thing is that there are many things you’re not told or you don’t expect.
In my case, I’ve been able to participate in a seven month project in a village in the north-east of Romania. At the beginning it was not really clear for me, neither I knew where I was getting into (or goin to). However, I have realised that in the moment I decided to get involved with not many expectations in this trip helped me to be boundless surprised by each little thing.
And… Why? I was attracted by the idea of being in a project with children, in a daily care center participating with “non-formal” activities (it’s a quite broad concept), handicrafts, games, theatre, helping with homework, etc. But in exchange I’m taking with me more than this. I have learned a new language (at least a little bit); I got to know a different culture from mine, althought I discovered we’re not that different; I have lived with extraordinary people and yes, I have also known their low moments; I have learned to be the hand wherever the association needed me: I have extremely cleaned, I have tried to learn how to cut wood (not that successful), I have made burocracy, I helped to educators where I could, cooked, fix up toys, kind of designing homework… I also have tried to self-manage my time, learning when I have to stop and when I can give more from myself. I have known myself better, also my other faces I ignored before.
You can give a hand everywhere, but the main thing you should be sure about is the kind of project you want to embrace: educational field, enviromental field, helping people with special needs, cultural field, etc. The second more important thing is taking into account the positive aspects you can share: if you know how to handicraft, study techniques, if know how to play an instrument… Personally, the main aspect is self-motivantion and attitude, and after will come all of the rest by itself.
In my imaginary suitcase I’m registering more kg than I took with me, full of different kind of experiences: hard moments always brought me something I could work with and I also have learned how to enjoy the good ones. I take with myself some acquaintaces and also some friends of those you know you will not be avaible to see often.
There are many people who still believe that volunteering is a waste of time… What to say? I have also learned to respect opinions which I don’t agree at all. Maybe when you’re asked for your working experience in your CV many people won’t be able to value an experience like this, but getting out of our comfort zones helps us not only in taking some steps, but in making giant leaps.