THE SOUL OF NORCIA: OUR FIRST 2 WEEKS AS EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS

10 young volunteers from 5 different countries are in Norcia to help rebuild the social community, damaged after the 2016 earthquakes that hit central Italy.

This project is coordinated by Associazione Kora, funded by European Commission through Agenzia Nazionale Giovani – ANG and it’s implemented in partnership with Comune di Norcia in the frame of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), an initiative that allows young people to volunteer on projects across Europe with the purpose of benefiting local communities, as well as themselves. The aim is to build more inclusive societies, support vulnerable people, and to respond to social challenges.

This article was written by Selim Arda Tekin, ESC volunteer from Turkiye.

It’s been 9 days since we arrived in Norcia. In this period, we already had great memories, some of us started to work with people with disabilities, others supported the local summer club for kids and organised games in English for children, and others discovered more about Norcia by interviewing locals. We are continuing to make Norcia a better place for all, but before proceeding even more, we would like to take a look at what we’ve done.

Our project started in La Buona Terra, a beautiful farm in the heart of nature, where Associazione Kora is based. It is located in one of the best places in Central Italy, Passignano Sul Trasimeno, where you can embrace nature. We spent a week there, having an orientation and planning the activities and time table that we are now following in Norcia.

First day we got to know each other and also the others from another project of Associazione Kora in La Buona Terra farm. We got along well in a short time because everyone is kind, outgoing and respectful.

In the following days, we discovered the farm and got to know each other better while having a relaxing detox in nature. Sometimes you need to escape from the city environment and La Buona Terra is a perfect place for that!

In the weekend we visited Lago Trasimeno. It was fascinating, a natural splendor where you can see a delightful sunset, a unique landscape where dozens of different colours come together and dance harmoniously with the blue sky.

On July 25, we arrived in Norcia. We settled on our accommodation. After that we decided to discover Norcia because it was everyone’s first time in the city. We really enjoyed it, Norcia is an old town with a spirit, every street, every corner, every house has a story to tell. You can feel the historic atmosphere when you enter the city from Porta Romana.

The following day we started our activities with kids, locals and disabled people. We went to the school to meet the children, we really liked their positive and pure energy. We think that they also liked us! Meanwhile, we also wandered around town in order to have interviews with locals. We got to know them better, they were very helpful.

Now let’s take a look at what our volunteers think about their first week in Norcia !

Isa, 24 years old, from Spain: “It was quite good for me. I’m having interviews with the locals and this allows me to discover their stories. I met a lot of people and their stories have widened my horizons. They are talking like “Oh yes there was another earthquake after that, it just happened.” They talk like it’s something ordinary but it’s not, I’m really impressed about their resistance after the earthquake. I also had the chance to discover unique stories, like a lady from Thailand. All of their stories are unique and different. But in our free time, weekends, we prefer to go somewhere else because we haven’t found much stuff to do yet”

Vincent, 26 years old, from France:

“I am working with people with disabilities. It’s really great for me to work with them but I was not fully able to work with them because of the language barrier. Everyone in Norcia speaks Italian, not many people speak English so I can not communicate with them. I want to discover their stories but I don’t know Italian. I want to learn it but I feel like I won’t have enough time or the project will be finished in that time. But it’s a great booster for me, due to this I want to learn Italian more than before.”

Pauline, 26 years old, from France:

“I’m glad to be here, being in Norcia gives me freedom. I can go to the mountains, to forests or to the river. I’m pleased to be in the heart of nature after Paris. I like my activities but I also had problems with the language because I don’t know Italian. Sometimes I’m glad that I don’t know Italian because this gives me the opportunity to learn it but sometimes I feel uncomfortable due to the language barrier. Norcia has a soul, a story to tell and I’m happy to be here and discover its story.”

Keep on following us on our social media, @Europe4Norcia on Instagram and Europe for Solidarity on Facebook, to find out what we’ll do next: among the other things, an international music festival!

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