My EVS experience in Palermo, Italy was way too special than I could have ever imagined. In the beginning, there was confusion and worry, trying to integrate into a new culture proved to be very hard for me at first. The first few months I was based at CESIE office, I was part of the REC project and also supported some roles in the Communication department.
After 6 months of my EVS, I was lucky enough to be involved in other projects in order to be in touch with the entire EVS experinece. I worked part time in the office for the REC project and went to Centro Astalli to work with migrants.
The REC project was very fulfilling, I engaged with other young people from different backgrounds. Understanding various cultures and lifestyles changed my perception of life and my tolerance with different personalities and cultural backgrounds.
The change of being immersed to work directly within the community on a first hand level was extremely amazing. At this point I was being exposed to the Palermo Community and the foundation behind the way of life of the local people. I saw and understood so many things in 6 months than I had ever done in my entire life.
In the process, I met different people and encountered different situations. I joined other community-based programs to enable my integration into the community and was also part of an anti-racism movement. In other words, I cultivated a very healthy social life.
Being involved in this movements and enabling young people to fight for their rights gave me a first-hand experience of the theories I wrote about in my blog, focusing on discrimination in terms of race and gender. Together with other young Africans, we created a movement that stands to fight for the rights of African immigrants In Palermo. This was the highlight of my Palermo experience. We analysed and tried to find solutions on the issue of young African immigrants lacking dignified opportunities and also living life through low self-esteem and constant disrespect. The association has been growing rapidly throughout the city especially after launching their objectives and mission during the World’s refugee day in Foro Italico.
To add on, I got to be part of a theatre group as I had always done in Kenya, only this time, it was in Italy. My free time was based on attending the theatre showings, but unfortunately due to my short period of stay, I never had the chance to be part of many performances, However, it was a beautiful experience to compare the theatre and film industry in Kenya and Sicily.
I never thought that anyone could make many great friends within such a short time. I was happy to make so many friends with whom I had the chance to explore some parts of Italy with. Memory and Rose from Zambia and Ines and Susanna from Portugal, they will always be unforgettable. Such friendships will last a life-time as we plan on visiting each other’s countries as soon as we are all settled.
My experience in Palermo was too fulfilling for me to put in words, and I am glad I gave one year of my life to this. Most of the things that I did such as film, working with immigrants, race and gender activism, project management, visiting different cultures and theatre arts are activities that will remain to be part of my life for a very long time.
Angeline Nyawira Mithayo
EVS volunteer within the Erasmus + project “REC”
If you would like to participate to the REC project and meet and international team while working in your artistic creativity and learn about experimental video making, contact Cloé Saint-Nom firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is EVS?
EVS (European Voluntary Service) is an international volunteer program funded by the European Commission. It enables all young people legally resident in Europe, aged between 18 and 30 years, to carry out an international volunteer service in an organization or in a public body in Europe, Africa, Asia or South America for a period ranging from 2 to 12 months. Do you want to know more?