I arrived on the first of May in Palermo and in the beginning I really had a cultural-shock. All the chaotic traffic, loudness and dirty streets surprised my “Austrian mentality”, but this doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it. I liked and I like the challenge to be part of this game of the local community. The people and the Palermitanian way of helping strangers were very helpful. The Sicilian people are welcoming, warm hearted and without fears related to strangers and other cultures. I also tried to improve my Italian very fast and I think at the moment my Italian is good, so I can look more deeply inside the mechanisms. I left the status of the tourist behind me and this I like a lot.
If I think about my work in La Fraternitá, what I want to say? First of all I like all the characters; I want to use this word, because for me they are characters, there. They taught me a lot. In the beginning without a common language, we had to communicate through our hearts and feelings. In this time I got to know them in a special way. If you speak you can tell lies, but if you act, you can express your real feelings. Another important aspect for me is that “they are”. What do I mean with they are? For me, they live in the moment. They don’t live in the past or in the future. For example, if Ugo draws a car (I think everyone knows that he likes to make cars), he draws the car and the world around him doesn’t exist in this moment. It’s the same for the others, during drawing, playing football etc. They teach me to live in the present. And they haven’t prejudices; they take the people as they are. Sometimes, when I meet new people, I think how he or she is…. If I don’t like them, I put them in drawers and this enormously affects our relationships, but in La Fraternitá I’m Julia from Austria and I have the chance to build a relationship between the guys (including the women) and me day by day.
EVS for me is leaving fears behind; get strong through all experiences and the personal contribution to create a world of humans.