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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Introductions and thoughts


We are a group of strangers that got together in the beginning of this month. Until a while ago we didn't know anything about each other. The one thing in common was that we got selected to do an EVS project in Ramnicu Valvea, Romania.

We are ten strangers that, together with Asociatia Tinerilor Rromi Valcea (ATRV), will try to change some mentalities and stereotypes in the Rroma Communities. By working with the population and the media for support, improving the social integration of the Rroma.

We are ten strangers from five different countries. They are Poland, Portugal, Uruguay, Turkey and Zambia. Ten very distinct strangers that so far have made a great job of getting to know each other and start this project with fresh ideas and creativity.

Now that 12 days have passed since our arrival, we are no longer strangers, we are a group of friends that wants to make a difference, help the community, have fun and travel but most of all discover about oneself.

As a way of introduction each of us prepared something so that you get to know us a bit more.

From Poland we have Kuba and Martyna:

"I didn't have much time to make a decision about my participation in this project. Now, after spending two weeks in Rumnicu Valcea, I'm glad to have made this decision. At first I was really afraid about the people, the communication between us and of course of the project. What I can tell you now, is that my concerns were unreasonable. I met wonderful people, who are with me, part of our project. Of course there are problems with communication, but what you can expect when there are people from 5 different countries. My expectations and ambitions for the project get bigger and bigger every day. I wan't to be part of our creativity group in the work and getting fun together".
Kuba, Poland

"When I got the message that I had been selected to take part in EVS Program in Romania, I had only two days to make up my mind. It was really hard to decide if I really wanted to spend one year somewhere far away from home with people I didn't know at all. As far I think it was the best choice I could have done in that moment. People here are really kind and it doesn't matter who is speaking in which language. We are just a group of people who want to do something for others. We have big hearts and heads full of ideas. If we keep our attitude, probably it will be the best year in our lives!"
Martyna, Poland

From Portugal we have Nuno and Ana:

"My name is Nuno from Portugal and I am a volunteer of EVS in Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania. It´s almost two weeks since I arrived in Râmnicu Vâlcea and until now I am discovering new different things from Romanian culture but also I am learning new things about other people´s culture. My impression from the city is being very good as I am amazed by its natural landscape and all the white snow that covers the city. I am also finding very friendly people who are helping me with my adaptation. So far this has been a new experience for me but also very challenging and enriching due to the intercultural environment. One of the things that I wanted before coming here was to meet people from other countries and I am having that opportunity which I am appreciating. I am enjoying learning Romanian language which I intend to get better and doing the activities and games with other volunteers. I also intend to travel through Romania and knowing it better."
Nuno, Portugal

"I'm Ana, from Portugal. I found this project while I was searching for a job back home. I had no knowledge of the EVS program, but the more I read about it the more I felt that it was something that I needed to do. Obviously I was scared. I would be with total strangers for one whole year. What if we didn't get along, what if I didn't like the city and culture and project. What if and what if. In the end I realized that there's no point in "what if's", I would just live it to the best of my abilities and take as much as I could learn from this experience. That is what I have been doing, while loving every minute of it. So far I've learned a lot about other countries and also about Romania. I expect to make a great project and have the best time of my life with all my fellow volunteers."
Ana, Portugal

From Uruguay we have German and Virginia:

"My name is German, I am from Uruguay and I am 24 years old. I am actor and musician. I knew about this voluntary project from my sister, who participated in an EVS project last year. I like to know a lot of types of cultures, to travel, help the others etc. I like the group which was formed here and I think we became a team despite the language barriers. I am very enthusiastic and I have a lot of expectations for work with the group and the organization. Now I am in very nice city called Rm Valcea, I like the people here and their customs."
German, Uruguay

My name is Virginia, I am from Uruguay and I am 30 years old.
I am specialist in company’s administration management and human resources. These were my tasks before coming in Romania. In 2013 I have decided to start a new career, as a teacher of Informatics.  This last, has determinate me to take the decision to participate in the project.
What motivated me to come here, was the necessity of a big change in my life, change the place where I spent the last years, a period of loss and shocks.
I feel that this experience will allow me to know myself, overcome one of my biggest difficulties which are speaking another language and overall, will help me in the “learning to learn” process.

Is very difficult to be far from my home but since my arrival the people working in the organization and the other volunteers made me feel like home, helping me every day to overcome my limits. 

From Turkey we have Mehmet and Burcu:

"On our arrival we were greeted by a very warm atmosphere. This was the sign for all preparations to be done with a very good group. At the beginning the mutual understanding was very important. I watched during the course for 3 or 4 days the behavior of pretended friends (hidden friends).
Then we made an evaluation of the team. I was a  „ face to face” evaluation.
Through these activities, we become closer to each other. The people I met here and the activities that I attended have proven to me that I am in the right place. I’m happy that I’m here. Thank you !"
Mehmet, Turkey

"Hello. I am Burcu. In Cyerc I work as volunteer. I feel very lucky to be able to participate in this project. Here I can successfully study and learn with the other volunteers, I believe we can do a lot of things. I have memories i will not forget of this first week."
Burcu, Turkey

From Zambia we have Valerie and Janet:

"Romania..... My imperfect yet so perfect world..... It has not been a fortnight since I for the first time came to Romania yet my experience may somewhat suit one who has spent a lifetime here. Coming here was to be my most exciting experience ever and so I came in the highest of spirits. But to my astonishment, it become one of the most depressing decisions I have ever made. My country Zambia is quiet small with a population of 14million, it's a third world country and I may add the obvious fact that it's in Southern Africa with the majority of course being African people or as you may call them black people. Romania on the other hand has few or no "black people" and so our presence in Valcea county has and continues to attract a lot of attention. Attention ranging from laughing, staring, insulting and for the most part people moving out of paths simply because we are on it. The weather in Romania is also quite different from that of my country and this has been another depressing factor because we are in winter and the country is experiencing freezing temperatures unlike the warm weather in my country. This is my 10th day in Valcea county, half my days are spent with the other volunteers and the other half in our apartment. Loneliness has caught up with me and I always feel like screaming because at this point, being home sick is inevitable. Despite the feeling of not belonging, I am convinced that any person would feel the exact same way I feel if they came to my country, though they would have different experiences, am certain each and every one of our experiences would have a down side whether in Australia, Africa, North America, South America, or Asia because where ever one goes there will be shortfalls because no one is perfect and no place is perfect either. And so my title Romania.... My imperfect yet so perfect world because even for people to be complete, the all sides have to be added and because no one is perfect, I guess there are no exceptions for countries either Xoxo!!!!"
Valerie, Zambia

"Hi my name is Janet from Zambia. My first days Romania was a living hell because of the weather and the people around me who made me feel uncomfortable because of the stares and the insults from the locals.
I hope to have a great time in Valcea and EVS despite my first experience in Romania not being so good at the beginning."
"The Lord is upright; he is my Rock and there is no wickedness in him."
Janet, Zambia

Our project officially began on the 4th of February. That was when all of us got to meet each other for the first time. We started with an activity to learn some information about each of us. With all the alphabet letter spread across the floor, we were asked questions about our names, countries, hobbies, likes and dislikes.

Other activity was to create our own planet/world, we had to name it, describe it and to define what morals and values would be part of it.

During this first week we did a grand variety of exercises to know each other and to became familiar with the project and the ideals of voluntary work. Like what is the Ideal Volunteer.

This what we believe it to be:

This way, now you know a little bit about each of us, what we have been doing and what we expect of this year in Romania.

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