Dates: 20. March – 20. April 2019
Venue: Nicosia District, Cyprus
Programme and action: European Solidarity Corps, volunteering projects – short-term group
Please read the EVS infopack.
Hosting organization: PlanBe, Plan it Be it
Volunteers: Lucia Urbanová, Jakub Gregor (left early for serious reasons)
Other volunteers come from: France, Italy, Germany, Portugal
I took a month of volunteering in Cyprus as a huge challenge. I have a few reasons for it and soon I will get there. I will start from the very beginning, the first arrival day.
I came a day earlier and therefore I asked my friend for hosting me. She lives in the only European capital divided into two halves (Turkish and Cypriot), Nikosia. She showed me a lot of traditions, for example, their Cypriot coffee ritual, which consists of going with a friend to have a coffee chat. The difference is! You drink ONE cup of coffee not for 20 minutes, not an hour but for about 4 hours, sometimes up to 5h. Crazy!
She also showed me the dark side of the city and introduced me to her friends who all of them reacted very suspiciously and slightly disgusted when I mentioned what kind of NGO I was going to volunteer for. One friend of her even worked for them, PlanBe PlanItBe, so he could tell me a lot, but I didn’t want to create any opinion until I see myself. So I did …
From my point of view, a lot of the activities had no meaning and were just very boring to almost everyone(13 volunteers). I do not want to go into big details, because it would not be appropriate towards this NGO.
Let me mention a few moments that I enjoyed very much. Mayor of the village (Spilia), where we went to help the locals. He is a man with a big heart. The few days we cleaned the cemetery, garbage collection, painted fences, planted flowers, or improved the public space I enjoyed immensely. As a thank-you gifts, he gave everyone a little attention and warm words of thanks and also he said the fact that they (him and his wife) genuinely believe in changing the mentality of locals who are lazy to recycle and still don’t see the impact on nature. I felt immensely grateful that such a man as the mayor is at the right place at the right time.
Another nice moment was the study visit prepared by Maria (our PlanBe). She led us to various places of the island, tasting wine and even took care of me when I had to visit a dentist that evening.
I do not regret that I went because I do not regret the decisions I make in my life. Life is too short for that. However, if you are looking for something that can help you in personal growth, or stimulate your brain cells, this place is not the right one.