“I’ll show you how I am and I’ll be how I can
throwing myself against the world, walking around every corner
and by the natural law of encounters I leave and receive a bit
and I pass through naked eyes or dressed in telescopes past, present,
I participate in the mystery of the planet”
Novos Baianos (Brazilian song)
Experience [lat. experientia] – optimized knowledge about a particular argument.
Experiment – crucial phase of the experimental method.
There are also moral experiences, ontological, mystical and sexual. If we seek related words we found: competence, which is the ability to act in a given situation; luggage (which comprehends everything we collect along the way and carry on our shoulders since the moment we are born, including what we change in ourselves over time, learning (because you always learn something, even involuntarily), practice (without practice, no EXPERIENCE can be considered “real”), trying, testing, being part of the game (because we cannot always analyze everything, many things happen unpredictably.
I’d say that’s all that makes part of an EVS project. After all, aren’t these all the things making part of any human being’s life?
Well, my story started before leaving for the European Voluntary Service. Life puts – often randomly – things in our way, people and also the experiences we to be met and lived.
Every small action can change a whole path, leading us to do things that we could never have imagined before.
So it has been an unexpected encounter to start what brought me here. I met an amazing girl, I remember it very well: It was Sunday and I was in Brazil working on a fair in my town (Expoguá) when Gloria, an Italian girl with a French guy, Kevin, arrived and started talking to me. We talked a lot, I took them to my parents’ house, where we had some food and drinks, while presenting a bit of our culture, and by chance (or fate) three months later we were living together. That’s how I met one of the most beautiful friends I have, Gloria, who conquered me with her serenity, her happy soul, and her smile was contagious and shone wherever she went.
A few months later, other two volunteers came; also them lived with me, Beatrice (from Italy) and Cristina (from Romania). We lived together for 6 months; this cohabitation put me in contact with cultural diversity, developing in me a deeper vision of my thoughts and desires. In fact, during this period I got to understand that all what we are looking for, although we all come from different cultures, is something common to all of us. It is the old attempt to find the meaning of life. The question is always the same, we don’t know where it is, which is the answer, or when we will “find” ourselves. But I understood that the answer is not in only one place, all what we seek is within us. Definitely the unknown makes us act in a different way, in my case I had the opportunity to live almost without any external influence, as were my parents, friends, colleagues …
The moment that awakened in me the desire to go out of my “little world” and look for the answer to the famous question: WHO AM I, REALLY? It was something that couldn’t hold back, I had to go and explore everything with my own feet.
Italy, you’re amazing.
I would like to say that I have chosen you, but in our history it was you to choose me.
Okay, I have Italian descent (but as a good Brazilian I also have Portuguese and indigenous origins), I was always in love with your food and your beauty. But with so many countries in the world, wasn’t it fate to pull me right towards you?
Before leaving for the EVS, a lot of existential questions started to raise. Insecurity comes, often at night, and before going to bed I asked myself:
Are you sure you have to go? What about your family? Your friends? Your job? Is that what you really want? What will you do without the food that your mother cooks for you? Or worse, what if you won’t like the food there? And if people are not kind with you? And if you get sick? …
At least for me, it was a bit like that, but the answer was always: “If it isn’t supposed to be now, things would have gone wrong from the beginning”.
Then I left, like a child who doesn’t know how to make the first step, hoping to see and experience everything I had never seen before.
I got very excited, new job, big city and so many things to explore. But the biggest challenge was to speak the language. The chance to have lived with Italians didn’t help me, because at that time I could never have figured out that after a while I would be living in the famous “boot-shaped” country. At the very beginning, I tried to look at the people, listening attentively, trying to understand something, but I was too shy to speak, since I knew nothing.
And so, “piano piano“, as the Italians say, I started to work in my project. The other challenge was to work with something that has always aroused interest in me, but I am was not experienced in: working with children and kids in schools. And as the universe of children is different from adults’, I needed some time to understand them better, and how to interact with that world. And now I love being “the teacher,” helping with the exercises, playing with them, and maybe a little ahead I will teach them a bit of photography, which is my passion and what I have studied for.
After a few months, that girl who didn’t not think to become able to speak within the first three months had completely lost the shame, is fully into the project, and after four months she wrote (almost alone) the story you are reading in Italian, English and Portuguese.
Now I have no doubt, volunteering here has been of the best decisions I have taken in my whole life, I learned that there is nothing you cannot do with a little effort, calm and positive thoughts. The biggest fear is gone and I even saw it passing away.
For now, I hope that life will continue to be generous with me, introducing to me amazing people, good food and unforgettable moments on the way. And most importantly, I hope that all this won’t make me forget, not even for a second, to always learn something about me.