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: evs@pekarna.org



Monday, 6 November 2017

Time for Personal Projects

Only two months left in Maribor. If on one hand, eleven month in a small town can seem quite long when you come from a bigger one, but on the other hand times flies, especially now that days are becoming shorter and shorter. Since September, it was time for me to start my personals projects. I focused on my passions: music and art, and tried to create some events from it. That’s how the Alternative Drawing Class was born, and it has been running since more than one month. The concept is simple: with or without graphical skills, the participants will go somewhere (nature, cafe, city…) and discover a new drawing practice. Painting by the emptiness, by the shadows, with opposite colours… If some attendants are willing to learn the basics (perspective, volume…), some are already very experienced and then my mission is mostly to open their mind, show them that there is not only one “good way of drawing”.  I invite them to challenge themselves, make some mistakes, and of course have fun with drawing ! It is always a pleasure for me to have this class, I learn improvisation in teaching, adaptation to the level (and the weather !), and it feels great when at the end of a session, the participants actually prefer the last “alternative” drawing rather than the one they naturally drew !






I wasn’t expecting that facilitating would fulfill me that much. I also started some French classes few weeks ago, and even if it doesn’t look so professional because of my lacking of knowledges grammatically talking, I really enjoy preparing the lessons and having them! A new path to explore for the future?




Another Project getting bigger and bigger is the Open Stage / Jam Session that I’ve been organizing for the third time : every two weeks, musicians, singer and audience can share a unique experience of improvised music. Depending of the combination of instruments, the style and the tempo decided, everything can change, but the vibes are always nice! It is great to see some old guys that were part of bands in their young age, so happy of playing with others! And it makes me happy as well : I was really missing playing with others, so this occasion is perfect. If it is not so easy to connect with Slovene people, music gives me this opportunity, through a more creative way!

Coline

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Creativity out-of-the-box

In the beginning of the month I had the chance to participate in an Youth Exchange titled “We are all equal in creativity” which brought together 30 different young people from 6 European countries. Aim of the project was, through creative methods – such as theater, storytelling, and creative writing – to gain useful skills that we could later use in our work with discriminated groups, as means towards social integration and empowerment.




As part of the project, we also had the opportunity to meet with some people, currently asylum seekers in the area of Faenza in Italy and share with them some thoughts on integration.

Even if the project was quite more loose than I expected and despite the fact that we didn’t dig into creative writing as much as I hoped for, this type of gatherings always leave you some space for personal reflection and interpretation and always something comes out, even if at first glance some things may seem a bit pointless or excessive.




So, what did I get? After an engaging discussion on searching for possible solutions to the refugee situation, going through inner personal stages – from desperation of not being able to find any possible solution to numbness and incapability – I realized that yes, sometimes the bigger image seems already broken and unrepairable, but also wasting your individual possibility of contribution does not make things better. So of course our personal interactions and behavior in our microcosm may have nothing to do with the monsters crawling further away, but probably it is a step towards something, it is something concrete not just a discussion, a recommendation, a proposal.

But also this project left another bitter taste in the end; these people, these “asylum seekers” as everyone now wants to label them, giving them an impersonal and cold identity connected to their life situation have so many new things to fight for in this European environment. It is not just about making friends and finding a job, as our possible needs would be as European citizens migrating into another EU country. Their need is bigger and greater: it is a call for respect and understanding, a vital need that we tend to neglect. For some it can be easy to attain for others maybe not so undeniable.

So yes, in this cases you should think out of our microcosm, out of our little box of life, fears and expectations. 

In any case, I had some unexpected acquaintances, talked a lot, contemplated and collaborated with so many different people that I probably would not have the chance to do in any other case.

Sofia

Monday, 28 August 2017

An adventurous Road Trip in the Balkans

As usual, time passed so fast that I didn’t realised summer had already come to its end.
These two last months have been punctuated by music festival, theatre of the Oppressed workshop, movie projections and of course Lent festival, an intense moment in Maribor City. I also enjoyed some free days to say hello to France, passing from town to town to make sure I won’t miss anyone.
But mostly, August will stay in my memories as the month I had my first backpacking / hitchhiking road trip. We were having this project in mind with Sofia for a long time now, since we arrived in Slovenia; in August, we will discover the Balkans… But the more time was passing, the less we were planning and when it was time to go, here was the final plan: we would have 12 days to visit 4 countries, and we would try to hitchhike as much as possible. We only had accommodation planned for 3 nights, but that was it, and we weren’t actually worried about it; we knew it would be challenging, but that we would manage to find a solution every D-Day.

Let the adventure begin!

We first went to Croatia, visited few towns and Krk island, then saw most of the coast thanks to an amazing Croatian guy that took us all the way down to Split, passing by all the little villages and explaining each of their stories.

We passed the border and arrived in Bosnia: after a stop in Mostar and its old bridge overhanging the transparent river, we arrived in Sarajevo. There I had a big surprise: first by the importance of Muslim religion and oriental atmosphere and secondly by the omnipresence of the war. For us, we could not feel this Capital without understanding its history, that’s why we decided to go for two free tours about history and war, completed by the war museum. The guide, which was a kid during the siege, explained what happened with a personal perspective, and took us to the crucial places, were we could understand the reality of Bosniaks at this time. We were staying in a really tiny hostel, which allowed us to create quick connections, and that’s how we met plenty of people from all parts of the world. It was amazing to see how even if we were coming from different backgrounds, culture and identity, we were all connected by this spirit of adventure and discovery.




We liked the town so much that we decided to stay one more day, and found some Italian companions that were also going to Montenegro the next day. We jumped in their car, compressed between backpacks and guitar, and during several days we had great laugh and saw great landscape.

After Kotor and Budva, we went to have a look in Podgorica, the capital, were an old British grandpa was waiting for us as our Couchsurfing host. It was funny to see that he actually had more energy that we did ! We took the night train (what an experience! #thisisBalkans) to Belgrade, were we met Milos, the resident artist which we collaborated with in Maribor. Belgrade is a nice, lively city, but it was time for us to come back to our little Maribor. We hitchhiked one last time, and finished our adventures in a wonderful Croatian sunset.


This way of travelling pushed me to trust my instinct, taught me to be in a “whatever mood”, asking people to camp in their garden, take us with them on their road without thinking about their opinion of us. Life is short, and without trying we would not get what life has to offer us. To wake up every morning without knowing where you will fall asleep at night can seem risky or worrying for some people, but I took it as a big shot of adrenaline. Thanks to these people that agreed on sharing their journey with us for one hour, one day or even more, we had the kind of trip we wanted: going with the flow and enjoying every part of the adventure.



Coline

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Summer has finally come

Summer has finally come – quite rainy and windy though – but still, having the chance to enjoy some hot days that couldn’t help but remind me my summers in much warmer Greece.

After a small break for INmusic festival in Jarun lake of Zagreb in Croatia, which was a surprising an unexpected music experience, I am back in Maribor, figuring out our schedule during summer, with some interesting things going on.


We are in the middle of LENT festival, the “biggest” and most “elaborate” event of Maribor let’s say, so up to this moment I and Coline have had some presentations about Greece and France respectively, a presentation of our small but aspiring aunt Rosa (i.e. Luxembourg) library and one more kids’ workshop coming on the way. All of this happening within the frame of ART-KAMP, a side project of LENT taking place in Mestni park, where many different organizations and individuals connect and offer –mainly – artistic activities to kids and adults as well as information about their organizations and their activities, all of this accompanied by some music and dance performances from local artists and also intercultural presentations of folk dances and traditions from various countries, everything with free entrance of course.


It is nice and enjoyable to see Maribor finally a bit more alive and kicking, a bit more cheerful and playful and honestly, a bit more crowded since I had the sense that summer would be quite dreary to be around here – so LENT spiced things up a little bit.

The highlight of my “LENT- experience” was of course our theater of the oppressed performance, since it was also my first time performing in a forum play, which took place in a very nice and well-hidden courtyard just in the center of Maribor. The emotions: surprisingly, no anxiety or stress at all, it was really enjoyable and productive, since there were not so many but still quite powerful and interesting interventions by the spect-actors; it was always insightful to see and observe the turning out and the development of the dialogue between the oppressor and the oppressed, where the audience took the place of the second one, giving a new direction and trying to find a getaway for this oppression. We maybe didn’t succeed into changing the world or finding concrete solutions on how to tackle sexism and gender-exclusion in the workspace – which was the main focus of the play in this case; but in some way, with small steps, we managed to open an on-going dialogue regarding the situation which is clear and present and also to keep in our minds that we can and we should show intolerance when something like this is happening to us as immediate receivers.

Another highlight: the in-residence of Gallery K18, artist Milos Tomic, a respected and inspiring multimedia artist, who focuses, among other things, in stop motion animation technique. We had the chance to meet and collaborate with him, an experience offered us a great induction in stop motion, a technique that I am as familiar as I am with nuclear physics, but although I didn’t know what to expect at first, it was a real eye-opener and his direct and approachable way of explaining things made it much easier for me to get a grasp of some basic principles when applying and using stop motion. Definitely a worth-mentioning encounter! So now, I am more than excited and looking forward for the upcoming 7th stop trik festival in October.

With this and that, June is over, quite rapidly again.

Let’s see what July brings.

Se vidimo,

Sofia

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Save the Village of Volunteers!

June is already beginning, that’s crazy how time flies down here: summer, which seemed so far when we first arrived, is now so close! And we can feel that the city is following this season; coffee shops are full and the flowers in the park have blossomed. To celebrate the end of the scholar year, lots of events have taken place on every part of Maribor.

One of them was particularly successful in my opinion: Prostovoljsko Mesto (Village of Volunteers). It happened during the week of Volunteering: local organizations participated, where people could attend different kinds of workshops, lectures and events and on Wednesday, all these NGOs gathered together in the main square. The concept was that every association had its own stand and had prepared a little game or activity for the audience. Every time kids arrived at the stands, they were given a notebook with an investigation to solve: to fill in the clues, they had to go to as many stands as possible, to collect stamps which would allow them to resolve the case and finally save the village of volunteers. Circus workshop, DJ, interviews from the “mayor of the volunteering village”, scientist games, team-building and creative games: everybody could find their favourite activity! 



With Sofia, our task was to build up a game that could adapt to different numbers of participants, different ages and that looked attractive from far (kids will not visit all stands, they will choose the more eye-catching). We made up our mind for “the volunteering snail”: instead of one big game, there would be 6 mini activities… First, the participants were invited to draw their idea of volunteering, then they had to write what they could offer (I can teach guitar, my good mood, I know a lot about gardening…) and what they would like to learn (a new language, a new competence…). After this reflexion phase, we had prepared some more active games: in a big bowl full of water was floating another smaller bowl. Kids and adults had to put stones in this little bowl, paying attention that the bowl doesn’t sink. For each stone that they put, they had to tell a word about volunteering. The next game was a memory game: they had to match actions (helping, teaching…) to images. In the next one, in bigger groups, they were proposed to try the “stick game”, where they had to collaborate and think “as a team” and not as an individual to succeed in their task. Finally, they could jump on our hopscotch snail, to end up with telling something that they learnt today. The game had quite a lot of success: our stand was busy almost all day! 




Actually I didn’t expect kids would be so focused, and will really take the time to think what they can bring and what they would love to receive. We also got amazing drawing about volunteering, and we were quite surprised that some children were so quickly efficient and collaborating during the stick game: we had already tried it during our on-arrival training and it took us much more time to stop putting the blame on the others! I realised that lots of young people were already quite familiar with volunteering and it was great that this day was meant as well for the discovery of volunteering, as well as a day of Joy for all the current volunteers, who could have fun together. Laughs, music and good mood created a convivial atmosphere, and the square became a lively place for meeting and cooperation. I’m really glad to see that these little and big events such as culinary or creative workshops and any kind of cultural events are enriching the life of the locals, that always have the opportunity to learn new skills or improve their knowledge, if they ask for it. I deeply think that these moments of sharing, collaborating and gathering together are continually constructing our happiness: They allow us to build connections with others, and being fullfilled personally.



Coline

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

EVS (European Voluntary Service) izkušnja kot prostovoljec na cirkuškem uličnem festivalu Cu'fus

Slogan »Svi pod mus na Cu'fus« mi je v glavi napovedal nov izziv – izrezal sem šablono z napisom in ga odtisnil na majico, nevedoč, kakšna dvotedenska dogodivščina me čaka. Vedel sem samo, da bo največja naloga in s tem najtežja zdržati 5 minut brez smeha. Prava misija nemogoče, verjemite.



Simpatično, mirno hrvaško mestece Samobor se je s pomočjo 10 motiviranih prostovoljcev iz Srbije, Slovenije in Francije za nekaj dni preobrazilo v pravi cirkuško-umetniški raj, poln dogodivščin, izzivov, nasmehov, kjer nihče ni ostal bosih nog.

Mesto, skozi katerega se vije reka, ki vedno znova očara, parki, ki te napolnijo z dobro energijo, bližnji Stari grad in Vidikovac ponujajo lepe tekaške treninge in nepozabne panoramske zahode nad mestom. Srečen sem, da sem tu in delam, kar me veseli, razveseljujem, spodbujam in navdušujem ljudi s tem, kar rad delam, in talenti, ki jih razvijam ... Sonce se je skrilo za grički, čas je, da pohitim nazaj do hostla, ki mi bo dom za naslednjih 14 dni. 



Ko se na hitro spoznamo z Matijem, vodjo festivala, in ostalimi prostovoljci, vem, da bomo kljub kulturnim, socialnim razlikam in različnimi sposobnostmi delovali kot odgovorna in razumna ekipa, ki bo čez teden izkovala načrt in izpolnila vse naloge, se soočila z vsemi problemi za uspešno izpeljan festival uličnega cirkusa. 



Kljub temu da smo bili vsi na začetku neznanci, me je vsak posameznik dopolnjeval na edinstven način in s tem pripomogel, da sem izpopolnili sebe, svoj potencial in samozavest. Spoznal sem veliko različnih kultur, ki jih ne bi bilo mogoče spoznati v tako kratkem času. Ne samo da smo skupaj delili bivalni prostor, šampon, hrano, obleke, ampak tudi celo našo življenjsko zgodbo in majhne rutine, ki nas izoblikujejo v osebe, kakršne smo. Kljub kulturnim razlikam smo vedno našli skupno točko, ki nas je vse združevala, nam odprla srce in mišljenje, da smo delili, razumeli, videli in ljubili svet drugače. Vsi smo se učili o razlikah med nami, ki niso isto kot problemi, in da lahko rastemo, delimo, se zabavamo skupaj z ljudmi različnih kultur, spoznavamo stvari, ki so pomembne za naš razvoj in se bolj zavedamo sebe, kako drugačen in unikaten je vsak od nas.

Torej, kaj sem delal v Samoboru?

Fotografiranje, snemanje, risanje, izdelovanje šablon, ustvarjanje prijetnega ambienta v mestu za umetnike, prostor, kjer se širijo nove ideje, delovanje v skupnosti, reševanje praktičnih problemov, učenje novih veščin in znanj, nabiranje izkušenj, boljše poznavanje sebe in navsezadnje potovanje. Biti del te izkušnje s strastmi, ki me navdušujejo, je veliko zadovoljstvo. 



Naša naloga je bila pomagati lokalni skupnosti in organizatorjem festivala zbirati čevlje, barvati, dekorirati mesto, pripraviti instalacije v parku in s tem smo pripomogli ustvariti zanimiv tridnevni festival. Spoznavali smo lokalne ljudi in se učili o novih kulturah. S tem sem začel tudi bolj ceniti svojo kulturo, mesto, v katerem bivam, domačo hrano, glasbo, sleng, okolje, ki me obdaja, in ljudi, ki me podpirajo na moji poti.



Po končanem delu smo imeli vsak dan tudi prosti čas in aktivnosti, ki so vsebovale vse, od umetnosti, glasbe do spoznavanja mestne kulture, kar sem zelo cenil. Za radovedne duše smo namenili pohod na Okič (grad), izlet v Zagreb, gledališko predstavo, obisk Medike(podobno Metelkovi), koncerte, tek, jogo, učenje novih jezikov, reševanje problemov, učenje novih veščin, biti odgovoren in širiti pozitivo in uživanje ob zvokih kitare v parku, dokler ne pade noč ...



Ni slabo za 14 dni, kajne?

Vsak posameznik, ki sem ga spoznal, je pripomogel k temu, da je bila to zame najboljša izkušnja prostovoljstva, ki sem jo imel do sedaj.

Počutil sem se zelo koristnega, da sem sodeloval pri izvedbi festivala za ljudi v Samoboru, ki so bili zelo zadovoljni z našim prostovoljnim delom med festivalom. V času bivanja sem se razvil v novo osebo s pomočjo ljudi, ki so me obdajali vsak dan s svojo pozitivno energijo, ki mi je prinesla veliko ljubezni in sreče v življenje, kar sem odnesel s sabo tudi nazaj domov.

Cu'fus mi je dal čudovito izkušnjo v življenju, ki se je bom z veseljem spominjal. 



Rekel bi: »Hvala vsem prostovoljcem, ki so se mi pridružili iz vse Evrope, da smo bili skupaj kot družina in da smo skupaj doživeli to čudovito izkušnjo.«

Uroš Frelih, zapis in fotografija

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Clowns and jokers

I don’t like being cliché, but I have to say this one more time: time flies literally through our hands!

After this important announcement, let’s get back to what happened during my second-and-something month in Maribor and within the gulfs of Infopeka.

It is true that I am starting to get used to the city, however I will not hide the fact that homesickness hits back quite hard sometimes. But it is also a challenge to learn how to deal with the reality that friends and family will not be always available to resort to during your mood swings so it’s a good chance to come up fast with solutions alone.

This post will not be that long, but I want to focus on two highlights that got me really excited this past month and kept me going and expecting more to come.

The first one was Gala ZIZ, an annual performance that has become more or less a sort of a tradition every 1st of April for the last 4 years now. This year’s gala was dedicated, if we put it in broad terms, to “male oppression”, but this was of course only the first level of interpretation; rather, it was more a chance and opportunity to criticize female objectification in media and especially in these kinds of fancy events such as fundraising, in the form of which gala ZIZ happened to be presented. Sexism is here and present and it’s always problematic cause it is so internalized and patched up with the way both genders socially perform and interact, that tends to be normalized and authorized. And it’s even more alarming when you realize that people sometimes don’t even know the meaning of the word, implying that they most probably think that such thing does not exist. So gala, was a good chance to expose this reality and reflect on the fact that we have to make steady and secure steps to figure out what bothers and appalls us in gender representation and try to act upon it. I have also to admit that even if it was the first time participating in a “gala”, I really enjoyed it and I think the group mood and connection helped a lot to my positive experience. I wouldn’t expect to enjoy and have fun in a performance that I couldn’t understand its main language, but I realized that you can receive and transmit a bunch of emotions and situations without talking or without understanding what is being said; cause you have the chance to examine other things that spoken words might overrun sometimes, such as the function and the importance of the body as a performing tool in theater.


Which brings me to the second thrill of the month, the clown workshop, which I had the chance to attend during the same busy weekend of the gala. I had never thought of digging into the clown as a theatrical figure before, or about the concept of the red nose as the slightest indication of a theatrical mask but this workshop was really a revelation. We were a small group, diverse in ages and backgrounds, a fact that really helped the workshop be so elaborative and multi-layered. It was a very good and intense induction to physical theater and how our own body knows more than our brain most of the times. And I realized that in most cases, I tend to think so much about things that my body would already know how to adapt to. We have lost this “organic” touch, the sense that we have actual body parts that can do the job for us! Important realization for me was the fact that – in contrary with what I perceived so far – your body posture and energy can affect your emotional display and not only the other way around. It is quite hard to put in words what this 3-day workshop taught me, but I think and hope my body remembers better than me.

I think I am getting quite fond of theater and performing and I quite glad that I could do this during my EVS period.

In other news, March was the month of the on-arrival training, but Coline already gave a good description of what happened there, so I will not dig into that. We travelled al little bit in Slovenia as well, meeting with other EVS and getting to know them better.

I seem to get a hold of Slovenia and I am looking forward to new plans and actions.

Till next time, Sofia

Monday, 10 April 2017

Maribor way of life


Two months have already passed in Maribor, and my old feelings that this town was too quiet for me are more and more vanishing. I found my favourite spots, my little habits… I just come back from Vienna, where every single building is a master piece, and it felt very good to come back to our little peaceful Maribor.  It seems that everything is going slower down here : people relaxing in café, stopping to have a delicious Ice cream, chilling in Pyramida…  

 
I think their way of life has started to influence mine, and I’m glad of it because it was one of my personal goals : arrive to take some time for me and stop running. I spend the last fourth years in Lyon, and I was running from activity to another, I could spend several days without having any moments on my own. These last days, I had some guests for one week, and I noticed I really needed some time alone. That’s how I realized how much I appreciate theses little moments in Maribor that are part of my life now : crossing the park and the railway with a small fear that the train arrive at each time, trying to reproduce the amazing salad of Isabella, traveling the town with my flashing green and pink small bike…  I guess that’s how start finding a personal balance, it feels good!
In the context of Erasmus program, Sofia and I had the chance to participate to an Arrival Seminar: we spent 5 days with 18 other volunteers, coming from 14 different countries. The aim was to deeply understand how work EVS, our missions, roles and responsibilities. We also had to build a little project involving local community, we only had one day to do it, and very few budget. I already knew how efficient team working can be, but building a project with people from abroad was even stronger, from the diversity of their points of views!  We came out with an idea of interviewing people about their though of strangers, to observe how much stereotypes are presents in Slovenia. We decided to do it in a playful way, by building up a story about an EVS volunteer coming to Slovenia : in this story were some gaps, that interviewed people had to fill in, with their though about strangers. By example, if we asked “What do you think about French people?”  and they answered “selfish”, it would come back against their own country in their final story (“from what he has heard, Slovene people were selfish…).To sum up, depending on the opinion of people, each story was completely different. At the end, we realized we expected much worse than what we actually got : good new ! What I also got from this seminar was that whatever our origins, we all had theses confused feeling, between big excitation and fear, but we were also all glad to do this experience.


This week made me realize how important is informal learning : the fact of having no “good answer”, of being on the same level than trainers and building our own path instead of following the same one… I deeply think it’s the point of every EVS : learning in another way : in our own way. It makes you growing up, revealing who you really are. You may change, maybe a little and maybe a lot, but that’s for the best, and no matter what will happen in the future, no one will be able to take you off this experience.


Coline




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