European Voluntary Service

This is Pekarna's blog for EVS volunteers. Pekarna is a sending and hosting/receiving organisation for EVS volunteers and their volunteers (send and hosted ones) will keep you up to date about their work.

Evropska prostovoljna služba

Pekarna Magdalenske mreže Maribor te vabi, da se tudi ti pridružiš množici prostovljcev/-k Evropske prostovoljne službe (EVS) in odpotuješ v organizacijo po svoji izbiri v drugo državo EU. Smo pošiljajoča in gostiteljska organizacija EVS, ki mladim od 17. in do 30. leta za obdobje največ enega leta uredi vse podrobnosti za brezskrbno in povsem brezplačno delovanje v tujini.
Evropska prostovoljna služba je del programa ERASMUS + Mladi v akciji.

Za bolj podrobne informacije nas lahko kontaktiraš na: evs@pekarna.org



Friday, 10 March 2017

37 days with Maribor

I have been away from Greece before, however the last time was for my erasmus semester so it was only a limited 5-month-period. And also a quite different experience with different motives and expectations. My EVS is going to last double the time, which was something exciting and scary at the same time. Also a fact, that I only realized when I set my foot in Slovenia.

The last months before joining infopeka were quite strange for me but also a time period where I passed through different stages of adapting and getting used to my upcoming reality, moving from excitement and impatience for discovering a country that I hadn’t actually thought I would live in before, to sadness and melancholy for leaving Athens, the place where I have been living during the last 6 years and the place that felt so intimate, which will always hold a unique spot in my heart, but also sad for leaving my friends and family...and then back to excitement and anticipation for new adventures and experiences. Admittedly an emotional rollercoaster!

What happened during these 37 days? My fellow EVS partner, Coline has already given a quite detailed impression of the organization and our commitment to its different activities, so I will not get to it extensively. But I will just have to stress once more the really warm and hosting environment and atmosphere that infopeka and its members saved for us, trying to make us feel as comfortable and as integrated as possible, because it would be a pity if i didn’t mention that.

I found it really great that during this time we will have to deal with a plurality and variety of different activities and be exposed and collaborate with people from different age groups and needs, but I will have to stand on something that made me quite excited and looking forward for my future involvement in it, which is theater of the oppressed.

I already knew about the method before coming, but unfortunately, apart from a short involvement with theater with my university theater group, I didn’t have the chance to be engaged in it till now.

And what I realized is that social theater and theater of the oppressed are the types of theatrical expression that I want to focus on and develop. It is a process of endeavouring something new that you didn’t know or you didn’t expect you could do, but also reflecting on why you are doing it at the same time. The idea that there is no right or wrong, that each performance, each little piece of actions and choices you make can influence the development of the moment; the fact that a single movement, an image, an expression of your body can tell more than a hundred pages, the feeling that through your dedication in that you’ll have the possibility to reflect on your own actions socially and politically and realize what you can actually make real changes around you, the preparation of what comes in real world and what we all see and do without reflecting on, without really understanding why; it involves everything else that goes beyond the narrowness of executing and adjusting yourself on a written text (of course I am not saying that I don’t appreciate “conventional theater”, I think that it is something quite hard and demanding and admittedly something that has offered me a lot, from attending theater performances but also from participating, although in a really amateur way, in a group myself. And that in all these types of theater i can find something really intriguing, they all engulf something artistic within them, although serving quite different purposes. The first one awakening emotions, from giving you the pleasure and happiness of attending a fine and well-done performance to allowing you make your personal associations from attending a single performance and the second one, asking you to really be a part of the change that you and every single of us can do.

I could go on and talk more about my impressions of that but just leave it like this for the moment.

Exciting moment: Maribor has really beautiful sky colours and is amazing how different sunsets can be every single day! Maybe it is normal for Slovenians to watch such skies, but really for me, it’s not so granted..probably air pollution in Athens keeps away some impressive sunsets, so i have to enjoy it while I have it.


till next time,

Sofia

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

1st Month

This is it, one month already! On one hand, seems I just arrived yesterday, on the other, seems I already have my little habits in Maribor city. Strange feeling.

The departure was intense, full of a big melting pot of sadness, excitation, doubts and true happiness. The last month before departure was inegal, I was getting more and more impatient to arrive here, while I had to say “goodbye” to everybody and enjoy my last time in France. They were lots of pressure in theses goodbye, as if it had to be “a perfect last moment”, whereas Slovenia is not the moon!

The first week was really exciting, discovering the city, digesting lots of information and meeting Infopeka : We’re really lucky to have such a welcoming and warm team that cares about us to be comfortable and happy in our new life. After a global view of every field of activity that Infopeka does, Sofia (the other volunteer) and I decided to join several missions. We will be part of the Theater of the Oppressed, which has weekly workshop about society issues through theatre exercices. It’s a famous method that I didn’t know before coming, but that I really enjoy. We will be also part of two weekly workshop with kids, one with kids with special needs and another with kids from immigrate parents. It’s amazing to see how we can connect quite easily with them, despite the fact we don’t speak the same language ! We’ll help to organize several events, such as Filmopeka – movie projection followed by a debate- or StopTrick Festival. Finally, we are the members of Pizda- an engaged Fanzine where I do some Illustrations about feminism, homophobia…

I really appreciate the freedom that we have to create our own workshop or events, we can explore and invest in all things we’re interested by, and that’s a real chance.

We’ve been visiting Ljubjiana, a charming town were some part looks like fairy tales landscape. We went to Metelkova, an amazing place where Street Art is everywhere, full of concert places and bars. People join in that huge square, having fun on old kids playground…

This week-end was Pust, the traditional carnival of Slovenia. On Saturday, most of the people get disguised and go partying, and on Sunday happens the big parade in Ptuj. The entire city was in a happy mood, and we saw tons of sophisticated disguised, from all parts of Slovenia. We even met the Kurent Community, theses kind of big sheep with bells around them, that “chase the winter away” by ringing them ! I was so glad to see what looks like a traditional Slovene event… 



To sum up, I get more and more used to Slovenian way of living, and more and more invested in Infopeka activities… From what I’ve seen from now, this year will be full of cultural events intense experiences!

Coline

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Outward Bound pustolovščina

Preko poletja do jesenskega časa, je bilo večino časa namenjenega Erasmus plus kratkoročnim projektom. Prvi, na katerem sem bila prisotna, je bil youth exhange „Creative tradition“ v Velikem Žitniku. Participanti so spoznavali lokalno kulturo, se učili folkloro, vozili s kanuji, obiskali muzej Nikole Tesla, itd. Takoj zatem smo organizirali EVS camp „Clean nature, clear mind“ v Samoborju in zadnji je bil zopet na že omenjeni lokaciji, kjer ima OBC edukacijski center, in sicer training course „Love every challenge“. Training course je bil namenjen mladim iz osmih držav za usposabljanje in uporabi metod za „outdoor adventure education“. Najbolj sem bila vpletena pri izvedbi kamp-a v Samoborju, zato ga bom tudi malo podrobneje opisala. Petnajst mladih iz štirih držav, se je zbralo z namenom, da skozi dva tedna čiščejo naravno okolje, reciklirajo, iz odvrženih odpadkov ustvarijo nekaj novega in na koncu pokažejo svoje izdelke javnosti na vpogled ter napravijo fotografsko razstavo.



Vsak dan smo imeli ekipo, ki je bila odgovorna za jutranjo vadbo, ekipo, ki je skrbela, da nismo ostali lačni, ekipa, ki je poskrbela za čiščenje ter vizualno ekipo, ki je vsak dan izbrala 5 najboljših fotografij dneva. Začeli smo s timskimi igrami v parku na lep sončen dan. Outward Bound timske igre oz. metode so organizirane po principu učenja skozi izkustvo v naravi. Prebije se led, participanti se bližje spoznajo in ustvarijo timski duh. Že prvi dan so se vsi hitro sprostili in drug drugemu postali podpora. Spretnosti reševanja problemov so se hitro razvile, komunikacija je postala tekoča in uspeli smo celi dan preživeti na svežem zraku. Prvi teden smo čistili okolje v čudovitem parku Žumberak Samoborsko gorje. Uživanja ni manjkalo, predvsem pa zadovoljstva druženja v dobri atmosferi sredi narave. Spoznali smo tudi nekaj novih joga poz in meditacijskih tehnik. Drugi del kampa je bil osredotočen delavnicam, skupinskim diskusijam ter na fotografsko razstavo. Pri delavnicah smo bolje spoznali in predebatirali tematiko na internacionalnem nivoju in začeli z ustvarjanjem. Nekatere participante je inspiracija prevzela do te mere, da so prebedeli noč, s ciljem dokončati svoje izdelke. Obiskali smo stari grad v mestu, kjer smo tudi preverili stanje čistega okolja in na večer pripravili kres. Debate so se ob ognju transformirale na globlji nivo, seveda tudi pozitivne energije ni manjkalo. Ob koncu kampa so se predstavile ideje projektov iz vsake države in mi smo držali pesti, da se načrti uresničijo ter da glas ozaveščanja zaščite narave seže preko meja v deveto vas. Skupaj smo preživeli dva čudovita tedna in bilo je lepo videti, kako so se participanti povezali, dobili veliko inspiracije in bili hvaležni za to izkušnjo. Vsi skupaj si želimo še več takšnih priložnosti in bomo definitivno obdržali tega v lepem spominu. Ti projekti so odlična priložnost, da spoznaš nove ljudi na internacionalnem nivoju, se naučiš več o koordinaciji in organizaciji le-teh ter kako motivirati mlade, da se ustvari timski duh. Na koncu je občutek izpolnjen, ko vidiš veselje in čutiš hvaležnost za priložnost, ki si jo delil z drugimi. 


In že sta se poletje in jesen po vseh dogodivščinah na terenu poslovila. Po več kot enem mesecu oz. dveh mesecih izven Zagreba, ko sem se vrnila v mesto, je prišel tisti občutek domačnosti. Mesto se je napolnilo in zaživelo, s tem pa tudi moje veselje, za izkoristek vseh aktualnih dogodkov. Kar se tiče dela, sem dobila priložnost pridobiti več znanja na vizualni strani marketinga in promocije, predvsem preko socialnih omrežij ter izdelavi promocijske podobe organizacije ter Erasmus plus projektov. Moram pa omeniti, da je največji osebni EVS izziv bil povezan s športom v naravi – plezanje in abseil. Prvi razlog, ki je izstopal je bil strah pred višino in dejstvo, da je bilo nekaj novega in čisto drugačnega od preteklih izkušenj. Pri prvem poskusu plezanja sem prišla do točke, ko mi je telo sporočalo, da paničari in tudi um ni bil preveč v pomoč. Vendar ko poizkusiš drugič, odreagiraš mirnejše, saj se um in srce bolje povežeta. Dragocena izkušnja, pri kateri vadiš trdnost in se moraš osredotočiti na določeno stopnjo fizičnega in duševnega napora. Tudi abseiling ima podobne zahteve. Najtežji del je s prvim korakom prečkati rob skale. Telo mi je možno drgetalo, da to ni naravna poza ter um me je hkrati spraševal, zakaj to delam. Po nekaj malih mišjih korakih je postalo mnogo lažje. Še vedno malo stresno, vendar takrat se začneš počasi sproščati in uživati ob lepem razgledu vse naokoli iz višje perspektive. Vse aktivnosti, ki jih lahko doživiš, so po principu Outward Bound šol „izbire izzivov“. Na koncu dobiš občutek uspeha in zadovoljstvo. Veselim se še bližje spoznati ta šport ob naslednji priložnosti v prihodnosti. Od interesov, ki so okvirno vključevali naravo, šport in vizualno umetnost, preko odkritja novih stvari skozi učenje ter do novih vpogledov in inspiracije za nadaljno in jasnejšo pot kariere, je proti koncu EVS – sa bistvo doseženo. Navigacija proti odkrivanju potenciala skozi potiskanje onkraj meja svojih sposobnosti se na koncu vedno obrestuje, hkrati tudi ugotoviš, da pri tem destinacija nima nobenega pomena v primerjavi s tem, kaj delaš ter s kom to deliš.

Živa

Monday, 12 December 2016

The greatest adventures don’t require a passport

It is sometime around the middle of December. As I’m sitting in my room back home in Žilina, Slovakia after spending extra ten days past the end of my EVS project in Maribor, I find myself wondering how to write this last blog post. It will be the hardest to write – not because I would struggle to remember and put down everything important that’s happened recently, but because my feelings are difficult to put into words right now. It will be almost impossible to not get sentimental and perhaps a little pathetic, but don’t worry, the teary eyes have already dried, the goodbyes and „see-you“s have been said and the old life is coming back for me. But before that, let’s do a recap.

Of course the biggest thing I have to mention is the StopTrik festival, which I already wrote about in the October post, but I have to return to it, since it overlapped into November a bit (the good feelings about it anyway) and Ioana wrote a nice in-depth post about it, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested. I sincerely hope it will be bigger and more fun next year. And the year after that.

At the end of November, me and Nataša went together with Sara (she was sent to Ireland by Pekarna) to present EVS during an evening in the college students‘ club ŠTUK, where multiple organizations offered opportunities to work or study abroad. It wasn’t a big event, but as always, I was happy to spread the contagion of EVS enthusiasm among young people.

Other than that, the month was pretty much about slowly wrapping things up, making a goodbye party with Ioana, doing the last this and the last that, enjoying all the Christmas lights in the city and falling into that weird phase of duality, when your mind feels like it’s split into thinking about two different places at once – anyone who’s ever lived abroad knows what I’m talking about. The feeling didn’t really hit me until the very last few days in Maribor, when I had to start thinking about packing, buying just enough food to take as little of it back with me as I could, and going to work more or less without having to. The last volunteer meetings, seeing „our“ children from Brezmejni svet for the last time to take them to UGM, the last evening out with people I can now with confidence call friends. Hating goodbyes and prefering to simply disappear like I always did, I tried to avoid the sadness until the last moment and when it hit, it stayed for a while, overwhelming everything else. I could write about it in ten different ways and not be satisfied with each interpretation. Everyone has their own.

But I’m back home now and old and new challenges are waiting for me. I feel rusty and my old uncomfortable self is coming back to me – there will have to be a long, hard conversation. With experience, I’m realizing travel has become a big escape (for myself and others), and EVS was no exception. So, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s words, I encourage you to focus not only on physical journeys, but on moral and spiritual ones beforehand. And even though many things are unclear for me now, what I know for sure is that I’m going to tell everyone about EVS and what a grand adventure it can be. Ten months in that one country that’s so similar to the one I come from that it often gets mistaken for it were enough to fully convince me. I had an amazing workplace filled with warm, kind, fun people, a job – no, a mission – I found meaningful and many wonderful relationships, sights and memories. EVS will stay in my memory for a very long time. And to people in Pekarna and Maribor I say: „Se vidimo!“


„The greatest adventures don’t require a passport.“

Michal

Monday, 5 December 2016

Jesen, čas sprememb

Jesen, čas sprememb. Vreme se ohlaja, dijaki in študentje začenjajo šolanja, Pekarna Magdalenske mreže pa ponovno začenja s svojimi glavnimi aktivnostmi. Čas je, da se zresnimo – se topleje oblečemo, ponovno prevzamemo več odgovornosti, se pripravimo na trše čase. Ne želim biti mrk – še zmeraj ostaja veliko zabave v tem kar počnem in sprememba scenografije po vročem svetlem poletju je tudi dobrodošla – le vsako leto me to malo utrudi, in tudi letos ni bilo izjema.

Na začetku meseca, se je v vasi blizu Dunaja zgodil projekt, za katerega smo se začeli zanimati poleti – mobilna kuhinja, ki čaka, da jo sestavi navdušena skupina aktivistov. Ta kuhinja, naložena v dva kombija, bi naj pozimi vozila okoli meja ter nudila brezplačno toplo hrano ljudem, ki bežijo in imigrirajo v Evropo, uporabljajoč denar, ki so ga zaslužili s kuhanjem na festivalih in srečanjih aktivistov med poletjem. Sicer je nismo videli dokončane, a izkušnja je bila vseeno zanimiva.



Delo v začetku meseca, po tem, ko smo se ravnokar vrnili, ni bilo zelo razgibano, zato sem namesto tega čas zapolnil v pričakovanju na naš vmesni, polletni trening. Le ta je bil izveden v slikovitem termalnem kompleksu na Dobrni, mestecu blizu Celja. Kot na začetnem treningu je bila to zame prijetna izkušnja, tokrat še bolj kot prvič. Nekatere prostovoljce sem poznal že od prej, aktivnosti in vaje so bile bolj premišljene in utemeljene, dobil sem veliko uporabnih informacij in ker smo vsi že skoraj zaključili z našimi EVS izkušnjami, smo imeli veliko zgodb in občutkov, o katerih smo govorili. Edina slaba stran je bil rahel prehlad, ki sem ga prinesel nazaj, a je bilo celotno doživetje tega več kot vredno.



Pozneje v mesecu se je začel nov projekt – Brezmejni svet! Vsak teden gostimo dvajset in nekaj otrok iz Bosne, Albanije, Kosova in Makedonije, ki se še učijo slovenščine ter jim pri tem pomagamo preko iger in vaj – tako se nekaj naučiva tudi z Ioano! Takšen proces ima svoje težave saj nismo nikakršni strokovnjaki, tako da rešujemo stvari sproti, a ob koncu dneva se čutiš nagrajenega in z otroki se zmeraj bolj razumem.

In kar naenkrat je september mimo in z njim začenjam čutiti približevanje konca mojega obdobja prostovoljstva. Prevladovati začenjajo mešani občutki, nekateri znani, nekateri novi. Seveda čutim nekaj obžalovanja in panike pred iztekom zadnjih minut – kar sem pri sebi tudi pričakoval – a če potegnem črto, me ne moti, da se približuje konec. Še zmeraj pa ostaja nekaj mesecev in nameravam jih (za)napolniti do roba, kot koš jesenskega sadja!

Michal