The EVS project “EU Volunteers to learn” is at the very end of its 2 years of implementation. Asociatia Lumea lui Pinocchio, coordinating and hosting organization, had the pleasure to host and meet volunteers from Spain, Austria and Germany. One of them, Maria Teresa Vidal Bernad (Spain), spent the period October 2017 – May 2018 at the Centre Pinocchio…here you are her final witness about this enriching experience!
I’m Maite, a 31 years old teacher that at one point of my life decided to take a year off of my job. I needed to breath, to explore, to know, to learn and to enjoy. So… after thinking what could I do I’m not sure if a project found me or I found the project. That project was called “EU volunteers to learn”. The location of this project was in Panciu, a small town in the east part of Romania. So,… I thought… Why not??
I come here for two months, October and November, and after my plan was to search another voluntary project or travel or enjoy the life. But in the end I stayed eight months so… something changed my mind. When I come here there was already a volunteer from Spain called Monica, she was so nice with me from the begining and I was asking her one hundred of questions before coming in order to know what could I find there. We started a really nice friendship but her project finished after my first month. I’m still in contact with her to keep update about what is happening around here. At the same time Waqas and Thanina arrived to Panciu to start their EVS project for two months. They were from Germany and Austria, two different places and two different people to meet and learn. Waqas couldn’t enjoy so much of his project because he broke his feet, it was a pity, but the kids loved him soo much. They still remember his name and ask about him. At one point Thanina and me were the ones that, together with local staff, should manage with everything, with the mic dejun, afterschool, helping in the canteen, non formal activities,… But I think that we did a really good job, after eight months I am proud of that period.
Almost at the second or third week of the project I realised that these kids were special and that they needed somebody to spend more time with them, to love them and to give some time that maybe their family couldn’t have the possibility to give. I started asking the staff if I could stay longer and help them a little bit more. All of them opened their arms and smiled at me, saying: “Please stay more, we want you here”. So they make me feel really important, useful and part of the team. At the end of November my first group of volunteers left but new volunteers were waiting to start one year project in Panciu. At the end of November, thanks to an Italian governmental project, Roberta, Manuel and Sara arrived to Panciu; so, a lot of changes happen around me. New people, new ways to see the project, new organisation of the activities, new weather…
After the Christmas break, I went to the mid term evaluation because at one point my project became a long-term one. There I had the chance to meet awesome people that I’ll remember in my life forever. We did the training in Predeal, in a ski resort; we were almost 50 volunteers from all around Europe ready to be part of the change in our society. This meeting changed my life again and all of them gave me the power to ask if it could be possible to stay two months more in Panciu. So, again, I extended my project. I feel really really happy of having had this opportunity.
At the begining of February another volunteer from Spain come to be part of our team, Laia, who was full of energy and be ready to enjoy the project.
And now it’s the end of May and after eight months I can say that “I have fallen in love” with the kids, the country, the people, the food, the landscapes, the ways of life, the experience. I’ve made a really good choice staying here all the time that I had free of my job. This experience made me grow up as a person and made me accept more the things the way they are.
The project “EU Volunteers to learn” (ref. nr. 2016-1-RO01-KA105-024178) is financed by the European programme ERASMUS+, and sees the collaboration of Asociatia Lumea lui Pinocchio with its Spainish partner COCAT.