The twenty volunteers taking part in the project “An Earthquake Of Solidarity“ in Norcia have reached the halfway point and have been reflecting on their time so far.
For Michelle from Denmark it has been a great experience so far. “I have really enjoyed all the activities I have taken part in,“ she says. “For me, it is particularly interesting to spend time with the children of Norcia and to experience life in another country. There is a Danish proverb – ‘I have blood on my teeth now’ – meaning that I am hungry for more opportunities like this!“
Enthusiasm is still abundant among the volunteers. “The first month of this project was one of the best experiences of my life,“ states Natalia from Poland. “I really feel like we are doing something important here and the community actually appreciates our actions. I have met many amazing people from all around Europe and I am sure that we will keep in touch.“
Living together with the other volunteers is something special for Natalia. “Most of the time, it’s fun”, she declares. “We exchange stories, traditions, and previous experiences. We all came here for the same reason and with similar motivation, that is why we work things out if there are small disagreements.“ The task she enjoys the most doing is spending time at Monello, the summer club for children. “Kids are always very honest and most of them give us positive feedback,“ she laughs.
Kostas from Greece also appreciates the experience he has in Italy. “I have met so many new people and made lots of friends,“ he agrees wholeheartedly. “I will always remember our week in Rome. We had so much fun and met lots of other people from other EVS programs. All the people are easy-going and I discovered that we all have many things in common although we look so different at first sight. I also really liked that I got the chance to talk to some locals.“
“I really enjoyed becoming close to the others“, Emma from Ireland expresses. “It actually feels like we have known each other for a long time. I have lived in multinational houses before so for me personally living with people with different backgrounds isn’t something new. But we all share and learn a lot here.“ The activities she enjoys the most are organising the English language exchange and working as a part of the social media team.
For Costantino, the only local volunteer in the project, meeting so many different people is also a valuable experience. “Spending time with people coming from several EU countries is a great opportunity,“ he expresses. “I keep practising and improving my language skills in English and Spanish. I also learn cultural aspects I was not aware of before. This is a key factor for me, especially because I would like to work as a translator and interpreter in the near future.“ He is very glad to help the local community again. “Since the earthquake struck Norcia two years ago, I tried – and I still try – my best to help the locals. I help preparing the Italian lessons and I also take care of the English and Spanish course, so that the locals are aware of our purpose. In order to really support the local community, I look for new activities to help the inhabitants of Norcia.“
The volunteers have not only been offering English and Spanish courses for the local population of Norcia, they have also been present at the Infopoint in the main square of the town, ready to answer any questions and give information about European opportunities. Besides that, they have been helping with the local theatre group for children, spending time with disabled people and organising a weekly ‘clean up’ of Norcia, collecting rubbish with the locals.
To sum it up, it has been a eventful month for the volunteers and they hope that they can continue to give something to the people of Norcia in their last few weeks!
Article written by Melanie Wolfram and edited by Emma Pollard and Giulio Mariotti