Costantino took part as a cultural mediator and local volunteer in the 2-month European Solidarity Corps/EVS project “An Earthquake of Solidarity”, coordinated by Associazione Kora in Norcia, Italy, from 18 July to 21 September 2018. The project involved 16 volunteers from 13 different European countries, that supported the local population after the earthquake. The volunteers organised English and Spanish sessions, made outdoor, intercultural and theatre activities with kids, kept company to disabled people and spread sensitisation about European topics.
This is his story!
Hi there! My name is Costantino, I am 23 years old and I am from Norcia, Italy. What a coincidence, isn’t it? I did volunteering in my hometown during the entire EVS project and I shared unforgettable moments with many volunteers from several countries in the European Union. Before attending this project, I graduated in Pisa (Tuscany) in Translation and Interpreting. After that, I found out that there was a project in Norcia. What a great opportunity to keep up with English and Spanish! I had the chance to kill two birds with one stone.
This experience was really important because I could practice the languages that I am currently studying and I had another chance to support the local community in the aftermath of the earthquakes that struck Norcia – as well as other cities in Umbria, Lazio, Marche and Abruzzo – in 2016. This project also taught me how to take responsibilities and how to support foreigners while doing volunteering. Moreover, local people could benefit from our activities. We spread awareness about the European Union and several topics – immigration, job opportunities, reconstruction and much more.
The entire group helped me in changing my point of view concerning my hometown and the locals. Probably the best thing about this EVS project was every single, non-formal lesson when teaching English and Spanish for the local community. Children are really nice and charming here. Even if someone among the locals recognized me, I had fun while arranging the activities in Norcia. The Italian volunteers in the group also gave me support during the preparation of every Italian lesson. As I was the only local speaking English fluently, the volunteers asked me a lot of questions concerning how reconstruction is going, where to find a lot of places and how to do several activities. I must say that I was a volunteer and a “tour guide” at the same time.
The best thing I can think of was during the very first meeting with the “Lene Thun” association for a workshop with clay. The children were really nice and I made friends with two girls who made my day. We started playing with clay and glue to make wonderful pieces of art – and tattoos while painting in tempera, but this is a secret. The final result was awesome! To this day, I still keep every piece of art that we made during every workshop with clay.
I also had the chance to practice my language skills thanks to interpreting. Many people here in Norcia speak nothing but Italian or local dialect. This is why I had to translate several thoughts, questions and statements from English into Italian or Spanish – or vice-versa. I know that this could be a mess, but it was really fun and interesting for me as a translator and interpreter. I was given the opportunity to take advantage of my skills to receive and give pieces of information from locals to volunteers and vice-versa.
Thanks to this EVS project in Norcia, I met a lot of people that I didn’t know and I could help the locals, i.e. my community. As an inhabitant of Norcia, this was vital for me and I couldn’t be happier. I look forward to taking part into a project again or to help the volunteers that are coming next year!