Greek ESC experience in Aldeia Galega da Merceana, Portugal

Απρίλιος 09, 2019

In October 2018, K.A.NE. has sent Ms. Maria Theodoraki as an EVS volunteer in Aldeia Galega de Merceana, Portugal for 12 months. She is hosted by ProAtlântico – Associação Juvenil under the project titled “Together we can”.

This month was full of activities and I don’t know from which one to start.
So, we visited two small towns in Portugal with the association, Nazare and Obidos. Nazare is the place on the coast, with the biggest wave worldwide. Even thought when we visited we didn’t see any of these massive waves, the place was very beautiful. I would say a typical fisherman town. As for Obidus my words are not enough to describe this beautiful place. The narrow streets are so picturesque and the walls of the castle, with the colors of the sunset are the most extraordinary thing. It’s a place that everyone must visit and experience with his own eyes and of course to taste the famous ginja.
But, apart from the trip, we had the chance to experience a big tradition of the country. Its’ name is Magusto. A celebration full of castanhas (chestnuts) combined with a glass of red wine. Not only had we prepared them in Casa Europa, but also at the working place with the kids. Every kid had his own box full of castanhas that all together prepared.
Moreover, after a training that was provided from ProAtlantico, all the volunteers had the chance to learn some more things on how to work with kids. What are our authorities as volunteers, how can we act in case of a conflict, some ideas for activities and how can we help them to develop skills. The training was divided in two phases. First we had to exchange our daily experience with the kids, with volunteers that do not work in this area, and then to watch a full presentation about how other volunteers worked in the past and our responsibilities and rights in a working place like this. I found this presentation very helpful since I am working with kids and it has a direct effect on how can I be a better volunteer.

Maria Theodoraki – November 2018

This the month of Christmast!
The city of Lisbon is full of light and decoration. I visited the Christmast markets in the city center and drunk some hot wine, under the sun and the cold wind.
At the working place we prepared the Christmasts party and a play, in which all the departments of the institute participated. Form the elderly people , the kids, the babies, to all the workers. I participated with the babies in a very small part of the play, but the most interesting and facinating thing for me was the whole preperation process. Everyday for alsmost a week I created hand crafts, decorated, cleaned, played with kids, and made some make up in order to have everything ready for the party day.
I really enjoyed the party with the colleagues. The play came out very funny, and I had the chance to meet some family members of the workers. We finished the night with some wine and plenty of traditional prortugues sweets and snacks.
Moreover, with ProAtlantico, I got to know, not only how people in Portugal celebrate this holiday, after a dinner we had all together, but also people in Germany. All the volunteers coming from Germany, prepared a presentation and traditional food, especially for this time period. Many information, habits, funny facts and also a song, was some of the things we experienced and tasted.
I will have many things to share with my family and friends in Greece, now that I will go for vacations.

Maria Theodoraki – December 2018

New Year, new people, new goals, new country and so so so many things to experience. This is my resolution for 2019. Coming back from Greece to sunny Lisbon and already full of activities to do.
First of all, I got to know how challenging can be to work with elderly people, once more due to a training that Pro-Atlantico prepared for us. A professional woman, shared with us some of her own experiences through her working life time and gave us some advices on how we can work with them. She gave us the opportunity to thing a little bit like our older selves. I found it very interesting, it was food for though. Every age has different thoughts and worries, especially when you are at that age that you might not be able to complete some everyday facilities on your own.
After this educational time, we had a meeting with the Spanish and Hungarian culture. We have so many volunteers from Spain and from different areas. They prepared a presentation for each place and region and we experienced not only culture, music, habits and traditions, but also the different languages and dialects and their tasty food. Also, the same happened with the Hungarian, but this time I participated a bit more, since I helped my friend to prepare all the food and desserts. She is only one and since I like so much to cook, it was big chance for me to experience the preparation on first hand.

Maria Theodoraki – January 2019

They selected me to go to the On-Arrival training. Everyone was telling me with so much excitement how good time they had on this training, and how much of new things and people they got to know. To be honest, in the beginning I didn’t really believed that, but now, after having the experience, I cannot agree more. It is a life time experience even that it last only for a week.
I met so many and wonderful people, and with many of them I will keep in touch. I exchange not only cultural information about European countries, but also the until now EVS experience, ideas for activities, and contacts for a future cooperation with other volunteers. I spent most of my time, talking with everyone individually and also in a group, while drinking a beer or a coffee at our beloved coffee break. Also, the training itself was very interesting. The trainers did really good work with us. Every day we had reflection time and all the feedbacks/ideas we were giving, were listened and implemented in the next days. The games, and the discussion after them, where more than helpful to understand EVS, voluntary in general and how can I help not only the others but also myself to develop skills and grow a little bit more after this experience. I am a big fan of non-formal education, and this training was all over about it!
Moreover, not only the On-arrival training was interesting on this month but also the intercultural day for Romania and Austria. I tasted some schnitzel and help on the preparation of the sarma. The volunteers did some amazing job with the presentations and giving some of their music. This day closed with the most amusing way: a comedy play at the theater, Loved it!

Maria Theodoraki – February 2019