It happened one year ago, when after taking part in a short-termed EVS-project I wanted to participate in a longer one. I found my project in some Facebook-group, I even didn’t find it myself, I was simply tagged by a friend in the comments. I looked at their INFOpack… and decided to go. Why? Mountains, nature, a year “in the middle of nowhere” combined with one of my favorite activities – interacting with children and grown-ups. It was a small village at the foot of the mountains and the forest.

The climate and air were simply awesome; there are 5 sanatoriums (one of which was the first in the WORLD to treat tuberculosis). So that is why I chose, went, stayed in a small village and wasn’t afraid of that fact.

Another reason for me choosing this project was the hosting organization – “Makerspace”. And even if I will try to explain what they do, you’ll probably not understand, as analogues in Ukraine are not known widely. Let’s say it’s a place you come to with your ideas and try to implement them there (I told you I am not good at explaining stuff). In the beginning we (there were two of us taking part in the project, a volunteer from France and I) were showed how to use different fun things (3D-printers, laser-cutting machines, CNC machines, screenprinting) and then we were given complete freedom in organizing workshops. We could either choose already prepared and available ones or come up with our one ones. My main responsibility was conducting these workshops with kids, adults and later also with people with special needs and interactive English language classes in the local school.

Concerning what I learned – I learned to live on my own and become more independent. Beginning with cooking (because there was such moment that I wrote in my CV that I am like a real master in cooking and when I arrived they asked me: “What, really?” and so as there was no way back I began cooking) and ending with the pulling out of my wisdom tooth and my experience with CIGNA I will certainly keep for a long time.

But if seriously, I learned Polish, I learned to look at problems and situations from different perspectives, learned about different cultures (there were also other volunteers from Europe; in the beginning you look at the people from the “warmer countries” and thing that they are kinda strange and not quite understandable, emotional as a child at an age of almost 30, but then, after some time, you understand that that is due to the different background, the different culture and began to value my personal space and understood it’s importance.

With my acquired knowledge also my perspectives (view) on many things changed. The first thing I understood was that I should simply be calmer and have a calmer attitude to many different things. I also understood that I shouldn’t exaggerate the role of one single person and that I, on the contrary, should communicate more, expand my network of contacts and increasingly network and then magic will happen. And most importantly, I understood – Everything begins with you!

I’m through and not through at the same time. Telling you everything what happened with me during that year, would be like writing a new book of “The Lord of the Rings” so I am open for any questions and will be happy to answer them.

Inesa Melnyk (https://www.facebook.com/doorrison   https://sites.google.com/view/doorrison) spent 11 months in volunteering.

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By jakov

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European Solidarity Corps    Eastern Europe & Caucasus Resource Centre    Громадські ініціативи України