Richness in Diversity
Hey there, it’s Nairobi here.
I was born and raised in Guadalajara, México. I’m 27 years old and I’ve been living all around Germany since I was 19. This is what allowed me to come to Latinovac with a project funded by the European Solidarity Corps.
I searched for a project where I could learn and practice about permaculture with a hands-on and non-formal approach. I was also enthusiastic to be involved in the planning and organizing a cultural festival in the town! As I learned early on, it’s common for the population living in the countryside of Croatia to lack means of entertainment, cultural activities, sport events or other sorts of enriching and healthy activities for leisure times.
We had 21 working days planned and 9 free days. 5 days gardening or farm helping and 16 organizing and preparing for cultural events in two different towns and five schools.
The working host team is formed by Mario, Danijela, Mihaela and Ivan. In the volunteer team we were 15 people plus one work-awayer that joined on the second week.
The jobs and tasks were always doable, enriching and entertaining. The working host team did a great job with the delegation of tasks and activities. The events were all successful and had great feedback from the people who attended.
My experience here was not entirely how I anticipated, although this doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good.
My expectations for gardening jobs were much higher than what happened in reality. This could very well be the case because of the season when I arrived (September) and/or because it was the shortest project they’ve organized so far and it was probably too short. We had very little explanations to what the tasks meant, what was the purpose, the background, the future view of the garden, the motives of the work were mostly unknown. Still, working with soil is always nice and there’s deep learning every time we do it but the learning didn’t come from the hosts, most of the time.
The events we organized were great. The organization to prepare this events, not so great. Time schedules were often changed or cancelled, communication and meetings were rather chaotic and poorly moderated and general misunderstandings were very common. The results were amazing and that shows that sometimes inefficiency doesn’t equal a bad performance. Good life learning.
Community time was beautiful. Neighbors and other persons we were able to meet during our time here were magnificent, friendly and brought many teachings to me. For leisure time there’s a wide variety of things that could be done, all of them I enjoyed much. There’s a very special kind of peacefulness and quietness that are very worth to experience and remember. Food was made daily by a wonderful Croatian woman who had always a smile to give and provided us with vegetarian food.
I’ve got to learn and understand valuable cultural differences when it comes to work productivity, friendship values, cooking recipes, political and sociological points of view, language challenges, emotional and spiritual ways of living. I felt very welcomed and accepted by the other volunteers, I learned that when I dance naked in the rain can be a opening door to body positivity and self-confidence to some people and can also be a confusing and disturbing experience to others, that from this we can share our personal impacts with full openness and respect so that at the end of the day we can laugh, stay friends and appreciate the opportunity for learning and sharing.
I wish the project to continue, to keep working for inclusion, patience and common working between locals and international people. It sure inspires many souls to work together for a peaceful and gracious community.
About the project in general
The project “Richness in Diversity – Step 3” is conceived as a continuation of the previous two projects on similar topics: getting to know, interacting and bridging cultural and linguistic differences. The project wanted to connect young people from Požega-Slavonia County with volunteers from Europe through workshops, festivals and other educational activities.
Unlike last year, preventive measures were expected, so the activities themselves were organized in accordance with the possibilities.
The project lasted only a month, and the main activity of the project was the celebration of the European Day of Languages in cooperation with primary and secondary schools in the Požega-Slavonia County. Also, the Autumn Festival was held in Požega Markovac, this time co-organized with the association SLAP.
Project activities began on September 6, 2021, and ended on October 7, 2021.
The project was approved by the Agency for Mobility and EU Programs and co-financed by the European Union Erasmus +.