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 prostovoljska 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:

Thursday, 7 May 2020

April 2020. A month that I will never forget.

I mean it doesn't happen that often that you spend a whole month at home and it's not just that we have to stay at home. All the consequences that the Covid-19 pandemic brings are very unusual for me and properly also for others. A whole month that the world holds its breath. A month in which we do not meet friends, in which we do not go outside to eat an ice cream although the sun is shining, in which the shopping streets and pedestrian zones of the inner cities are empty, in which we cannot celebrate our birthdays as usual, in which we cannot go and train as we like because the gyms and public sport facilities are closed. But even if it looks like the world stopped completely it is not totally like this. Because even if a lot of things happen in front of the computer screens in the living rooms of the world, something happens. Also here even if it is not exactly like it was happening before the pandemic. For example, my German lessons. Even if there were somewhat difficult conditions this month, we tried to make the lessons as good as possible. via zoom and with the arrow on the split screen, instead of the finger on the PowerPoint presentation on the canvas in the office. But the mood is still good because even if everyone is at home alone now, we are making progress without forgetting the fun. So, it happens from time to time that we drift away from the actual topic for 5 or even 10 minutes. But in my opinion, such things are some of the most beautiful things in class, because it's not just about learning, it's also about talking to each other and getting to know each other better and better. You also have to admit that sometimes it is a little more interesting what you experience and how you feel than learning a little more grammar. Of course, it's not like we're just talking and having fun. but sometimes you have to take it a bit easier.

Just like I teach German to the Internet, I now also have the lessons in which I learn Slovene from home. I have to say that I have made some progress and that my Slovenian has already improved. Of course, it was not too difficult since I didn't speak a single word Slovene before I came to Maribor. In the meantime, however, I am able to introduce myself, handle some situations while shopping and in the supermarket in Slovenian, do some small talk and even a bit more. Should also be so, because the course is as good as finished and only the final test is still pending. Of course, I hope that I will do well or at least mediocre in this test. Anyway, I will try to stay positive and do my best. And without a doubt I'll let you know what the outcome of this final test was. But for the moment I have spoken enough about learning languages, because there are also other things that were special for me this month. The RUBRIKA: FILMOPEKA project ended this month. It was definitely one of my favorite projects and I learned a lot. I will remember all the things that I learned and the fun I had and take them with me. I am especially grateful that I had the chance to try something in this project that I always wanted to try but still never had done before. I was able to do my first reviews guided by a real professional, with all the support I needed and in a safe environment. The final task was a review of one of my favorite films. After a few deliberations, I decided to go with Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece "The Godfather. I like the film, which was released in 1972, so much that I could watch it every day, literally. In addition to the brilliant acting by Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert Duvall, but also on the pop-cultural iconized phrases such as: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse". I enjoyed writing the review for "the godfather". However, the end of RUBRIKA: FILMOPEKA left me with a laughing and a crying eye. I will keep the nice memories of this project, but I am also a little sad that it is over.

Therefore, we had two events as part of the aunt Rosa library. It was the first time for me that we had an event like this as a webinar. That was really new and exciting for me. The first of the two events was about Simone de Beauvoir and her book “The Second Sex”. Simone de Beauvoir was a famous French writer, social theorist, political activist, feminist, and philosopher. Originally published in the French language, in two volumes and is 1949 is “The Second Sex” a lengthy study of the sources of women's inequality. The webinar was very good because we first had a brief presentation about her and the contents of the book followed by a discussion round. The discussion was very insightful for me because I could hear the ideas, opinions and convictions of others and talk to them about my own.

The second event was centered about Donna Haraway’s life and work. Also, at this event on the world book day, our webinar was structured in the same way as the previous one. I also enjoyed this event. One of my last jobs in April was to interview the psychologist Juan. I was able to ask him some questions about the current situation and get his expertise. In addition, I was able to find out how he takes care of himself during times of lockdown and which tricks he would recommend. So even if it looks like the world is standing still, there was a lot to do. In conclusion, I can only say that I have tried to make the best of the time and that I hope that from now on it will go up again.


April 2020

Dear readers,

the month of April once again takes place between four walls. However, we have remained active during this month to offer many events digitally.
We worked as a team during the first week of the month around a webinar for Aunt Rosa's library program. This webinar was dedicated to Simone de Beauvoir's work, in particular her book "The Second Sex". We imagined a meeting on the open source video conferencing platform Jitsi. It took place on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 7pm. We first made a short presentation around Simone de Beauvoir's biography. Then we devoted ourselves to several chapters of her book, especially around the conclusion. During this event, we were able to discuss different subjects, such as the perpetual inequality between men and women in society, but also, we were able to be a little critical about her work. We decided at the end of the event to continue the cycle of conferences in this way.

Throughout April, I decided to continue my French courses but this time, once a week and not every fortnight. This is a very enriching job for me because I have to learn how to make people learn my mother tongue and try to keep up a progression. I try to make the courses active and not to adopt a pyramidal approach to learning. I try to integrate several games and a lot of exercises where the students are actors. Lots of rehearsal, of course. I'm quite happy with myself and I see, lesson after lesson, a real progression of the students.

I have also proposed to organise an open discussion event on sexuality. I don't consider myself a teacher or an expert on sexuality, but I think it's important to have places where we can have free exchange or free expression on taboo subjects. It's one of the ways to develop mutual help, understanding and social connection between people. Society has become very individual and I think it is necessary at the present time to rethink it and to develop simple but essential actions to recreate solidarity between people. This open discussion on sexuality took place on Friday 17 April at 5 pm. About ten people were present. The first question was: What do you think of the sexual education you received? If you have had any form of sexual education. We were able to compare the different experiences and discuss different themes in a free way. I was very surprised at the end of the event, at the time of the evaluation, by the number of topics that people wanted to discuss at the next meeting.
On April 23rd we had a meeting organised by Movit with the different EVS currently in Slovenia. It was good to be able to hear from the other volunteers and to be able to exchange about our situation and volunteering in this period of quarantine. At 7pm, we had the second webinar on Donna Haraway and her literary work. Donna Haraway is the author of the Cyborg Manifesto, a text mixing feminism, queer theory, biology and science fiction. It was again a very enriching moment where we were able to talk about different topics. 
I will see you in May for my penultimate blog. I have been in Slovenia for 8 months now.
Enjoy the May sunshine.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Folow the sound of music – virtualni sprehod

Od septembra 2019 gostimo tri mednarodne prostovoljce, ki s svojimi vsebinami pestrijo naše programe in tudi lokalno skupnost. V okviru Festivala sprehodov 2020, v organizaciji Društva Hiše! so pripravili sprehod, ki so ga poimenovali “Follow the sound of music”. Oblikovali so ga kot sprehod, na katerem spehajalke_ci doživljamo različne predele mesta skozi njihove zgodbe in spomine. Dodatni čar sprehoda pa je posebej za to priložnost izbrana glasba prostovoljcev.

Gilles, Lucas in Filip vabijo k on-line raziskovanju njihovih najljubših kotičkov mesta Maribor. Pa začnimo …

… my name is Gilles, I come from Limoges, France. I decided to participate in the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) in order to continue my professional career in the field of culture, but also to have the chance to live and work abroad. I got my ESC volunteer-ship in the non-governmental organization Pekarna Magdalenske Mreže in Maribor. I arrived last year on September the 3rd and moved into my new home located in the Jewish square. This is also one of the first places I discovered in Maribor. When you arrive in a new city, you first concentrate on discovering your apartment, then you discover your building, then your neighbourhood, and, finally the rest of the city. Jewish square is right at the back of my building. I liked to spend time watching the Drava sitting on the little wall of this square. Jewish square is an artistic and cultural place, recognizable by the sculpture in the middle of the square, with the different galleries and inter(trans)disciplinary laboratory GT22.

For my neighbourhood in Maribor – the Jewish square, I chose the song “Myth” from the band Beach House. Beach House is a dream-pop band from Baltimore. The song “Myth” is about new starts and consolidation with a past. “Let you know you’re not the only one who can’t keep hanging on to all that’s dead and gone. If you built yourself a myth you’d know just what to give materialize or let the ashes fly.” My experience abroad is also a new beginning for me, a new chapter. I’ll let you discover the song by yourself.

When you leave Jewish square, look toward Intimi Order – GT22 go down the stairs and walk through this less visible part of Maribor. There are three different staircases that allow you to get closer to the river. Choose one, stand in the middle, and play
the Joakim song.

I chose this piece because I think it fits well with the urban dimension of these concrete stairwells. You find yourself between two floors, from there you can see the bridge or the Drava but you stay between the concrete walls. Take this moment to think about yourself, think about the future, or, as it is written on some graffiti in the city: Maribor is the future. Let yourself be carried by your emotions and plunge into yourself. I invite you to go there in the evening or very early in the morning when the sunlight is golden. I like this part of Maribor because it represents the diversity of Maribor, the different architecture, some buildings of Austro-Hungarian architectural influence, mixed with other more brutalist and modern architecture.

I thank you for walking through Maribor virtually with me. I leave the place to Lucas for the next musical text.

… I‘m Lucas Bertram from Germany and I’ve been in Maribor since September, working with Pekarna Magdalenske Mreže. Since I’m here I spend a lot of time in the park with my friends, my girlfriend, or alone. I really appreciate this place and because I can not tell you how much, I borrowed someone else’s words:
“Dear parks, I think you’re pretty great, and I just wanted to let you know. I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to you or anything, because I’ve always felt this way. You just have so much going for you, and I can’t get enough! I love that you’re always there for me when I need a place to take a stroll. You don’t care whether it’s a sunny day or overcast; you don’t even mind if your paths have puddles after a rainstorm or a layer of crunchy snow in the winter. You’re still there, open, inviting, and ready for me to come to take a walk. I love that just when I think I’ve discovered all the different parks in the area, you surprise me and there’s a new one waiting just around the corner to explore. There’s something so satisfying and invigorating about tromping around a new park for the first time. Will it have a paved path or gravel? A pond? A fountain? A playground? The options are endless! A view from the Prairie Path I love that you bring people together. Is there anything quite as equalizing as a park? Children scamper onto the swing set while their parents relax on the benches and chat. Young couples picnic on the grass or toss a Frisbee in the field. Neighbours greet each other while they pass by on their evening walks, dogs in tow. I think that’s pretty great. I love that you’re a good listener. When I’m stressed or upset, there’s nothing better than a walk in the park. When it’s quiet and empty, the trees are great listeners, the breeze gives great advice, and the laps around the pond provide all the answers a person needs. I love that we have so many memories together! Do you remember when I was young and I would spend hours climbing the “moon” slide with my friends and pretending it was a rocket ship, or walking the balance beam and perfecting my circus act? Thank you for giving me a place to pretend. Or how about later on, in high school, when my friends and I used you as a safe place to go in the evenings when we had nothing else to do. We spent lots of late nights talking on the swing sets, playing truth or dare, and running around the field with the fireflies. Thank you for keeping us safe.”

Listen to my song here.

A basketball court, a place where ankles break, ligaments tear and knees are squeezed. A place where a dunk is made right above your head. A place where a 3 point shot will be pulled up directly in your face if you forget about your defence for a second. Where your guard keeps you closer than his partner at night and is ready to lock you up on every god-given position. In a nutshell, the Game knows no mercy. But we are not there for mercy, we are there for the challenge, the joy, the excitement when you release a shot. We are there because it is also a place of togetherness, a place where one is there for others, where several people work together as a single one for a common goal. Where you understand each other even if you don’t speak the same language. Because on the court it does not matter who you are or where you come from it only counts basketball.

I chose this place because I spent most of my free time there during my first months in Maribor. I collected a big number of beautiful memories of sweet wins and not so many sweets loses. Listen to my song here.

I thank you for walking through Maribor virtually with me. I leave the place to Filip for the next musical text.

… I’m Filip and I come from Pale, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After finishing high school in Sarajevo, I spent four years studying in Prague, and two years in Budapest. Last summer I arrived at Maribor to complete my postgraduate internship program (ISP CEU) at Pekarna Magdalenske Mreže, and after three charming months in Maribor, I got the opportunity to become an ESC volunteer. I like living in this town and I made a lot of beautiful memories here so it’s not so easy for me to make a selection for this virtual walk. Regarding my special places in Maribor, I would have to mention City park, Pekarna (the Tito statue), the atrium of Vetrinj mansion, a cobbled courtyard in front of the entrance to Intimni oder – GT22, Gallery K18, banks of Drava river, and many other. But here, I would like to present to you two places which I learned about just recently, paradoxically, during the walks in the pandemic period. These places are not necessarily my favourite, but after 10 days of staying indoors, discovering them was quite refreshing. First is the “shore” of the Maribor Island on Drava river (West of the central part of Maribor). And my second choice is the large plain on the North-Western corner of the town with three statues which resemble the Moai from Easter Island or sculptures from Pink Floyd’s album cover “The Division Bell”. The official name for statues is “Three angels” … While in Bosnia we only have pyramids, Maribor has a pyramid and the Easter Island statues. Great!

Lastly, because being outdoors is a large part of my life in Maribor, and because we should take more care of nature and of each other, I am sharing the song “Zemlja” (eng. Earth) by my cousin’s band Blue Shadow Caravan from Denmark / B&H. Listen to the song here.

Monday, 6 April 2020


The third month of the year and perhaps already the most extraordinary. Surely you can imagine why it is the most extraordinary I mean honestly who has ever experienced such a situation. So, among us pastor daughters, definitely not me. For me, the whole situation is a bit surreal. Actually, I only know conditions like this happening all over the world right now from catastrophic or end-time films. And like probably many others, I've always dismissed them as nonsense and unrealistic. But well here we are. I don't want to overdo it now and even if public life has come to a standstill, this does not mean that nothing is happening here in Pekarna either.
But now from the beginning. At the beginning of the month, coved -19 was already an issue, but everything went as usual. So, like everyone else, I started the month with my normal activities. On Monday the second we had a PDD workshop which was very nice. The workshops with the children are always great fun but this time I enjoyed it even a bit more than usually because we were very active. We really moved a lot what was also cool for the kids because they had the opportunity to let off steam and to let their desire for movement run free. My favorite activity of this Workshop was playing table tennis, because I also like to play table tennis in free time or at home with my family, even if I’m not really what you would call a good table tennis player. In addition, our workshops and most other things do not focus on winning or being particularly good that’s not what it is all about. In my humble opinion, it should always be about everyone doing their best because if everybody is doing as good as they can, and they make an effort that’s what count. Because then you will gradually improve yourself and have fun and it's all about fun in the first place.

The following Tuesday we had a very nice information event at the High school of design in Maribor. At this event, like the PDD workshop, I worked with the other volunteers Fillip and Gilles. At the event, we presented information to the high school students about the European Solidarity Corps. Of course, we started with the basic questions. such as: what is the European solidarity corps? How can I participate Who can participate? Where can I go? For how long? And a lot more. After we talk about the formalities, we sheared out own experiences and feelings. From the search for a sending organization to what we have gained in new habits in the last six months in Maribor. afterwards, of course, the students had the opportunity to ask questions. To reinforce this event, we also had our coordinator Nataša with us, who was kind enough to help us with the language barrier and of course also with questions in the administrative direction. Certainly, one of the highlights of the month was for me the International Women's Day with Angela Davis. The event was organized within the scope of Aunt Rosa Library and was a great mix out off a presentation about her and parts off her book “Women, race and class”, a reading of selected excerpts from the same book and a subsequent round of discussions. The give you a short overview I will show u a few words about her and her book that are not from but that are way better than what I would write: “In her book, Angela Davis, political activist, writer and professor, offers a historical overview of women’s rights movement focusing on members of the working class. In more detail, she presents how racist and class-related stereotypes caused divisions within the movement itself. I really had a lot of fun at this event. I particularly enjoyed the dissuasions round at the end because many different opinions and interesting points of view were announced there.
 In the second half of the month, all of us felt the effects of the covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately for me this means only staying at home and working from there. Of course there are more pleasant things, but all in all it could of course be much worse. That's why I try to see it positively, even if I miss the contact to my friends, the company and the Gym. But I have to say working from home is not as bad as I thought it would be at the beginning. Because I already had some of my normal activities from home, for example, I have already taken part in Slovenian classes and also taught German. What makes me very confident is that the events that we have planned for the next few weeks through the Webcams of our computers will be great. Of course it is not a comparison to normal but for now we have to make the best of it.

Blog of March 2020 - Coronavirus special edition

March 2020 is a month that will stay in the minds, the coronavirus has paralyzed the whole society. Before we talk about all this, I will first describe the beginning of the month.

The first week of March begins with our regular appointment with the children of the special dormitory. The workshop was a quiz around the rooms of the house, especially the kitchen. The next morning we had a presentation of the European Solidarity Corps at the High School of Art and Design. We were able to introduce ourselves and explain our approach to join the European Solidarity Corps. The students asked us questions, both technical and personal, about going abroad and our feelings about Slovenia and Maribor in particular. The advantage is that all three of us are from different countries and with different profiles. In the afternoon, it was my fourth French course. This course was mainly based on oral practice of the language. I adapted my course around vocabulary and pronunciation. I spoke more French and the students were able to discover my favourite places, neighbourhoods and locations in Paris. On Thursday, a Spanish psychologist proposed a workshop called: Let's talk about mental health. This workshop was about sadness. The event introduced us, first of all, to what sadness is and then gave us some advice on how to accept sadness. The conference ended with a very interesting exchange around the subject. During the whole week, together with Urška, Filip and Lucas, we are preparing an event around Angela Davis as part of the reading cycle of the Aunt Rosa Library. I also spent a lot of time in the gallery and was able to answer visitors' questions about my exhibition. At the same time, I also prepared my workshop about the private and public space related to my exhibition.
The following week, we start on Tuesday evening with the event around Angela Davis and more specifically around her book: Woman, race and class. Urška prepared a general presentation of Angela Davis and we then developed more specifically around two chapters. Chapter 13, entitled "The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: A Working-Class Perspective" and chapter 11, entitled "Rape, Racism and the Myth of the Black Rapist". The evening was very enriching, with much debate.
On Thursday, I was supposed to have my workshop at gallery K18 around private and public space but unfortunately it was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
From Wednesday March 11th, the Slovenian government decided to cancel all public events and from day to day, the restrictions became more and more important. From that moment on, the whole team had to think about how to continue working in its conditions. I must confess, like everyone else, that I never imagined that one day a problem like this would develop, but life is an accumulation of surprises, good or bad. Starting the following week, we transformed our weekly meetings into videoconferences. Together with Lucas and Filip, we decided to adapt our walk, which we had planned for the Rajzerfiber Walking Festival, in a digital way. It was a collaborative work where we had to do it with digital means. In the end, this crisis is a bit of an experiment in teleworking for me. At the end of the month, I also adapted my French course in a digital way and we are working on a digital reading around Simone de Beauvoir's work, the Second Sex.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, see you in a month for April's blog.
Take care of yourself.