Hello, my name is Evelyn and I was a short-term volunteer for CESIE.
Coming from Sweden and arriving to Palermo to volunteer and live together with other people was a first time experience for me. The project as you can read on the website promotes social inclusion, equal opportunities and solidarity values by involving us younger volunteers from all over Europe. This sounded exciting to me and I just had to try it out as a young adult myself.
All the volunteers had different experiences, which lead to long conversations at the dinner table about our everyday experiences. Among the many realities, I had the opportunity to support CESIE in its activities with different groups of beneficiaries and to have volunteering experiences with children from 1 to 11 years old. On these occasions I had to do my best to understand each child’s needs, even if I couldn’t understand the language. As the weeks passed by, this got easier overtime and I got to build individual bonds with every one of them. During these experiences I was able to play with the children, help them with their homework, feeding them and putting them to sleep. Anything possible to make sure their day had been good before leaving them back to their parents.
I also got to volunteer at another center where the work environment was much calmer and the target groups were adults in need of food and some company. Here I helped with preparing lunch, serving and then later helped with the dishes and cleaning.
I must say, the language barrier was difficult for me as well as the cultural difference. Unfortunately, most of the people in Palermo as well as my coworkers did not speak the English language, that resulted in my trying my best to understand the Italian language. This is why I am so happy and lucky that I got to live with smart people that were all open minded and willing to help me.
I would say the best part of this project was getting to know my flat mates. Despite all the problems that we faced on our way, we were always there for each other and made sure we were happy. We worked together, we lived together and we even spent our free time together getting to know the city of Palermo as well as going on adventures outside of the city and exploring Sicily. I know get to call these flat mates my friends.
I am thankful I attended this project because I got to learn about new cultures as well as growing my self-development.
Volunteer ESC – Sharing solidarity