Before coming to Palermo, I was studying and working in Paris in the field of cultural and social projects. A friend of mine, who had done an EVS in Albania told me his experience and I found it as an excellent opportunity to change my life abroad and grow in the personal sphere.
I had had the opportunity to travel in diverse continents, but I had never stopped in a place and I think that there is a big difference between travel and live in a country.
Living in a place means to confront with another way of life, another culture, another language, but also to be part of a local community. With my EVS, I have met local people as well as young people from so many other countries and cultures and, in this way, share and discover a lot of diverse points of view and ways of live. This is really an opening experience.
I am participating in “Able like you 3” project which deals with adult people who suffer from mental disability.
My first day in the association “Volta la carta” was the carnival day, so when I arrived everyone was dancing and I was welcomed with smiles and curiosity.
Once we finished dancing, a lot of people came to me in order to getting to know me deeper and it was funny for me feeling as if I were the focus of attention. Before coming here, I felt a little bit anxious because I didn’t know how to deal with disabled people and I can’t speak very well Italian, but when I arrived I realized that everyone loved me without knowing me.
They are able to break the ice, and after a huge amount of kisses, questions and jokes, I felt quickly part of this community. Although I was always doing things with urge, I took my time to observe them and it was very interesting to understand every behavior and to find the right way to communicate.
Right now I’m working here at “Volta la carta” some months ago and I have to say that I really feel a part of them. Every day we do a different activity. For example, Monday morning there is “Volta la carta” radio. First, we do a drafting committee and then I help someone to write his/her own article for the radio website.
On Wednesdays, during cooking activity we prepare all together the lunch. They choose the menu and everyone receives a task. Pizza, couscous, lasagna, involtini…everything is possible!
Now, I’m at the end of my EVS experience and I’m starting to think about everything I will miss. Every morning when I arrived to the association I see the smiles of everyone who is waiting for me.
Morning is in fact a ritual. I kiss some of them, someone else makes me a coffee and we talk to each other, making fun just before starting the activities.
I have developed a particular relationship with some of them and now I know them very well, in order to find the right words when they need moral support or help.
The best part of this experience is undoubtedly the human side.