“If you want to find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.” This was the idea that was in my head after realizing that I was done with the university life, not willing to start a career either. As a result, I decided to volunteer in order to clarify what I really want for my future. Believe me or not, it worked very well. OK… It’s always better to start from the beginning. I started to look for an EVS project with no specific country in my mind. I just wanted it somehow to be related to either sports or arts. That’s when I came across with an announcement called “Gmina Dabrowa in Poland looks for a volunteer to conduct sports activities in the community”.
It was not until I reached Poland that I found out that it’s not Dabrowa, but Dąbrowa (“ą” read as a nasal “o”). Gmina Dąbrowa is a community of 14 small villages. The organization hosting my EVS project is called after it: “Gmina Dąbrowa”, and it works closely with all the institutions in gmina. We usually prefer big cities, because they give us bigger opportunities, but when you choose to volunteer, you are meant to create opportunities for the ones who need them. It has been a life changing decision for me when I moved to a small village after 20 years of ‘yerevaning’. However now, at the very end of my project, I recall that decision as the best way to serve my needs, wants and desires. I came here with “A1” level of Polish (I learnt my first phrase at the airport: *WARNING: just don’t try to read it, use Google* okulary przeciwsłoneczne, aka sunglasses) and I’m leaving with B1 level. During all my stay my co-volunteer/flatmate Daria and I have been blogging about our experience. Starting from January 12 my blog was only in Polish (I’m happy nobody sees this proud peacock face of mine now). However, EVS is not only about the language we talk, but also about the language of the activities. I came here to conduct sport activities, but the best part of EVS projects is that you adjust your project to the community needs. I am more than proud to say that I’m leaving my second home with a number achievements: a volleyball club, a gym club, assistance in a bunch of activities, excursions and events organized by the schools or kindergartens of the community, as well as by local municipality and even the library of the nearby town, Mogilno. From the first day our organization gave us the opportunity to fulfill the projects we wanted to. I can remark two most amazing projects I’m proud of to have conducted (peacock face again):
-“Treasure Hunt”. The project was designed for the 1-3rd grade students devoted to the knowledge of the surrounding world, starting from the creation of the universe to the environment of our own planet. The “Treasure Hunt” had two stages: preparation and a trip to the Planetarium in Torun.
-“Theatre club in Szczepanowo”. On the 21st of June the main stage of our gmina (it’s a moving one) hosted “The Little Prince”, with the Polish screenplay adopted by me and 13 actors, 9 of which were from my school theatre club in Szczepanowo.
Just in a couple of weeks I’m leaving a part of my heart in Dąbrowa and taking back to Armenia all the love, smiles, a bunch of memories, an amazing language (with some weird word forms) and most importantly a new Anahit. I hope that what I have left is as important for my big family in gmina Dąbrowa, as whatever I’m taking from them.
Now a secret for my dearest reader: you read about my experience, but “what is essential is invisible to the eye”, you’d better just ‘EVS’ yourself and see it in your heart. P.S. Peacock face couldn’t farewell without informing: the video we created about our EVS project in Dąbrowa was among 10 winners on European Youth Card Video Awards 2018.