I have always known I would have taken part in a voluntary project after having finished high school. But I also wanted to travel and see different and new things.
And then I found EVS. It was so perfect, I couldn’t believe it was true! EVS combines two of the best things ever: doing something good for the community and yourself and travelling, getting to know new cultures and people.
I didn’t have to think twice: I was ready to do an EVS!
After some time I found this project in Palermo: Able Like You III. The project was all about working with mentally disabled adults in a day care centre called “La Fraternità” (Brotherhood), founded and run by a family. People with all kind of disabilities can go there in the morning (until 2 p.m.) and do together several activities such as drawing, painting, singing, acting, and make handicrafts. About 6 of them live there constantly, so it’s not just a day care centre, it’s also a home. I think that’s what makes it so special. A group of volunteers who has worked in La Fraternità before made a video about their project and I loved it! So I decided to apply and – luckily – after some stressful days spent waiting and hoping, I was accepted!
Now it’s been 6 months since I arrived in Palermo and I only have 3 months left to spend in this beautiful city. Time goes by so quickly.
Coming here was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life, I will never regret it.
Since I’ve started living here, I met so many awesome and interesting people, made new friends all over Europe and worked every day in an amazing cooperative, made of great people who really give everything they have in order to make people happier.
Every morning the guys at the centre welcome you with a big smile and a loud “Buongiornooo!”. La Fraternità was founded 30 years ago and most of the guys have been there from the beginning. It means that they’ve been growing together as a big family for such a long time. That’s also why nobody there calls the centre “La Fraternità”, but “Casa Famiglia” (Family House). It’s so nice, because you can feel that everybody is happy there and that the staff does its best to keep it like this. As the time goes by, you will get to know all the guys and every habit of theirs. For instance, there’s Filippo, who always wears a hat and asks you “What time is it?”; Samuele (who is the youngest of them – he’s just 24 years old), loves to imitate others and then laughs about it; Ugo, who is the artist of the group, obsessed with cars; Sergio, who always has a smile on his face and basically – that might sound cheesy – is made out of love.
Well, in a word, I love my project and I am very happy with it.
Apart from my awesome project it’s also not that bad to live in Italy. Or may I say Sicily? Actually, I must say, there’s a huge difference. Especially if you think about food! Oh my god, food.
Arancine (a must!), panino con panelle e crocchè, parmigiana and of course typical Italian food such as gelato (ice-cream – my favourite is the pistachio one), pizza and pasta every day.
If you ever consider moving to Italy, be prepared to gain some extra food-lover-kilos.
One of the other great advantages of EVS is that you have free weekends and a whole new world to explore! We’ve been travelling a lot since we arrived here. Every weekend we try to do something different, even if it’s “just” in Palermo.
Now the summer is coming and it’s getting warmer (it’s 8th May and it’s already 23°C outside). Mondello, a wonderful beach on the outskirts of Palermo with clear, light blue waters is just a 20 minute bus ride away from the city centre. My work finishes at 2p.m., I go home, pack my stuff and I’m ready for a swim or for a gelato al pistachio. That’s my life right now. And I don’t want it to end!
Carla Mappes, Able Like You III EVS Volunteer