Ciao! My name is Lisney Maria, I am 22 years old and I am from Curacao, which is a Dutch Caribbean Island that is part of the kingdom of the Netherlands. When I signed up for my ESC, I had no expectations. I was excited for the experience, but I went in with an open mind. For me, my experience started the day I got accepted, I got confirmation end of April and my flight was scheduled for May 1st, I only had one week to sort out all my things before boarding the plane to Palermo.
My first few days were spent exploring Palermo, there is so much to see and you cannot get sick of it! Even after two months I kept noticing new designs or buildings etc.
I did my volunteering at CESIE, and I also did some activities in two different centers. Among these one is a youth cultural center, Ubuntu. While being at Ubuntu I helped feed and entertain babies, occasionally I would play some games with the older kids as well. This center has some regular leaders and the rest of the adults that help out are volunteers. While working here I learned how to balance multiple children at once, feeding one baby while entertaining a toddler. It also allowed me to develop certain skills that could be useful if I ever decide to work in a daycare back home, or when I have kids of my own.
Among other activities, I also volunteered in a community center that offers various services, such as food, laundry and shower services to needy people living in Palermo. While working here I had some tasks such as, help give out food in the afternoon. In the morning my tasks could vary, sometimes it was to do laundry, other times I would just have to cut potatoes and carrots. What I can take away from working at Mensa is humility, I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to help these people. Occasionally I would also speak to the people that came to eat at the center and after a while they would recognize me, it was something small but special.
Besides Ubuntu and Mensa, I also participated in a language tandem at a high school in Palermo. It was a language exchange where the students would speak Italian with us for 30 minutes and then we would switch roles and we would speak either English or Spanish in my case. I had a lot of fun participating in this project, not only do you help the students with their language skills, sometimes they might even open up to you and talk to you about something that they need to get off their shoulder.
In conclusion, I had an amazing time volunteering in Palermo, exploring Palermo and getting to know many people. I picked up on some Italian and I am happy that I got to teach people about my island!
A big thank you to CESIE and everyone else that made this experience possible!
ESC Volunteer – Mapping solidarity 2020