Volunteers

Manu Chao in Timisoara!

Another of the good things, that summer brings, are the music live… there are several music festivals and concerts almost every weekends around Romania. I went already to Electric Castle Festival in the county of Cluj the last weekend (but I’ll write about that later on, because this experience deserves a post by itself) and the last Wednesday, for example we went to Timisoara to watch Manu Chao.

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One of the things with which I enjoy the most here in Romania is that for any event whenever we get together a lot of friends from that great family which is EVS (and not only EVS, also friends that work or study here) so people from Craiova, Cluj, Oradea, Arad, Resita… from more than ten different countries met us for the Manu Chao’s concert. And it was a really great night: after one hard day due to the heavy rain that was falling during most of the day we arrived at “Muzeul Satului Banatean” and then the rain stopped and we could enjoy with  more than two hours of show in which we didn’t stop dancing.

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After the concert we went to the backstage and then Manu Chao appeared sharing food and drinks for all of us, taking pictures, signing autographs and the most important, talking with us, he was surprised to see a big group of friends together from so different countries. We explained him about EVS, about our different projects and also we were talking about a load of topics with him, I think everybody left the concert with a great satisfaction; after the great show they made on the stage, he was really kind with all of us, despite being a world-famous star, no ceases to be a completely sociable, talkative and close person.

manu chao

Ne Vedem!

P.R.

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Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer is Here

Summer is here and, as always, it has a good side and a bad side. In the good hand we can take a walk through the cherry trees that garnish the streets of Arad full of its red berries, if the weather is really hot we can go to the Neptun Lido, besides the fortress of Arad and have fun with the different swimming pools, someones with hot springs (smell of eucalyptus) another with slides and also there are several places to eat something and, why not, take a beer for only 2 lei!

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Another advantage that summer brings is the goods you can find in the open market a lot of fruits and vegetables very cheap (cheaper than the big supermarket chains where we are used to buy) and, definitely more tasty and healthy. Now is the best period to enjoy of the Romanian goods, it’s easier to eat better spending less money.

But not everything are advantages in this period for us, the schools and kindergarten shut down so we aren’t gonna work anymore with our children, after nine months we’ve taken a load of affection to them. We’ve tried to teach them and I think, in general, we’ve done a good job but, honestly, I think I’ve learnt more with them than they with me. Sometimes we forget the language is something else than connected words, the gestures, the looks, the expressions… children are able to remember you the worth of all of this. There are been 9 month full of emotions, hugs, dedicated drawings, smiles and tons of fun. We’ll remember them as, I’m sure, they’ll remind us.

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Gastronomy, Our Beneficiaries, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

S.O.S. Balkans

The worst floods in the republics of Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia in over a hundred years have already caused more than forty deaths. Authorities fear that the death toll rises as waters recede and make the counting of damages. The economic damages will also be important: the losses amount to 1,000 million euros only in Serbia, a country that the floods have left without 40% of its power generation capacity.

The most affected areas are Obrenovac (Serbian town about 30 kilometers southwest of Belgrade, where on Sunday the bodies of 12 people were found) as well as Maglaj and Doboj (both in Bosnia), where thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes . In neighboring BosniaHerzegovina, nearly a third of its inhabitants have been affected. The situation is catastrophic,” said Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic, who canceled a planned trip to Austria.

The rains stopped over Sunday in the most affected areas (central and western Serbia and northeast Bosnia), but continue growing the Sava river in Belgrade where the soldiers are built a 12 kilometres wall of sandbags to protect the city. Thousands of soldiers and volunteers worked through the night on Saturday to build a 5 kilometres wall of sandbags to protect the Kostolac power plant, also the workers at the plant joined the effort, digging up a road in a bid to divert waters that threatened to flood nearby coal mines. The Kostolac plant supplies 20 percent of Serbia’s electricity needs.

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Otherwise, these floods could dig up thousands of landmines still remain especially in Bosnia and that were placed during the Bosnian War (1992-1995). Approximately one million people live in the affected region, where floods could dig up part of the 120,000 explosive devices that have yet to be detonated in Bosnian territory, officials said. There are also over 9,400 minefields carefully marked with signs and fences that could be affected by the rains.

The Mine Action Centre of Bosnia has warned of this risk to the residents of the affected areas. “As a result of this natural disaster, mine may have been displaced from the danger zones identified. Every possible measure to encourage residents should be taken,” said the organization.

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But the disaster has brought unexpected effect has aroused a feeling of unprecedented solidarity between communities that twenty years ago were declared enemies. Regardless of ethnicity or religion, the least affected neighbors have turned to help those who have lost everything. The constant references between affected the war that devastated the Balkans in the nineties give an idea of ​​the magnitude of the disaster.

In the Bosnian city of Maglaj, residents have already returned to see if there is still something to saveAfter the war I found my furniture, and I noticed I could use again, my couch and my cupboard. But now, now I have no cupboard, you can go and check it, we have nothing“, Hatidza Muhic, one of the affected lamented.

In Tuzla, another Bosnian town, predominantly Serbian, a similar image and despair are palpable. “In two days has destroyed everything we got when we returned to rebuild after the war,” said Nevenka Djuric, who has lost his home after a landslide caused by rains.

Gradually, the neighbors try to recover the few belongings that water and mud did not take. But among such loss, at least the stock has gained something: what could be the beginning of improvement in the relationship between opposing communities for many years. Croats, Serbs and Muslims have shown his human side facing the worst floods in the Balkans in the last century.

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There are various ways to help and get involved, either by actively assisting those in need, if you are in the area, or through donations. Many reputable organisations have opened accounts for this purpose, including the Red Cross Bosnia, Red Cross CroatiaRed Cross Serbia, Novak Djokovic Foundation, Government of Serbia, and Association Pomozi, just to mention a few. Please visit their websites and contribute what you can, or at least – help spread the word.

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Also, international organism as UN, EULEX, World Bank and countries as Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary… but even in our city, Arad. A group of EVS volunteers has taken contact with the serbian community in the city and we are gonna start a campaign to collect staple goods (mineral water, higienic goods, diapers, non-perishable food…) and send to the affected areas. Tomorrow we’ll start an informative campaign in schools, high schools, universities, supermarkets to try the most of people have the possibility of helping. And tomorrow, we try to raise awareness the people whose come to our barter market “Let’s Swap” about the neccesity to help in these critical moments.

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: EVS Activities, Our Beneficiaries, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mid-Term Training (2/2)

After a Saturday very busy we woke up on Sunday to keep our trip, in this point Antonio joined us. We headed to the Brasov train station to take the train that would take us to Predeal bu,t due to the chaos in terms of platforms and trains information, we lost our train. Luckily we only had to wait for less than one hour for taking the next train. Once in our destiny we met with our mate Rita and another 8 known EVS volunteers from Baia Mare, Fagaras, Craiova… and we only were in the train station.

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After taking a cab, finally, we came to the Eden Hotel, where we were greeted by Carmen (our favourite hotel desk clerk) and where we met in the same hall with a lot of known ones, volunteers from Arad, Baia Mare, Bucarest… After this, dinner with a lot of known faces and to know the different groups in which we were gonna be divided. As in the arrival training some volunteers brought with them guitars so we started kind of party with live music. It was only the first night, therefore it was a very quiet meeting… we should to get ready for the very intense week we had ahead. The training elapsed very fast for us, We wouldn´t have minded stay some day more enjoying the hotel (we had jacuzzi in our room), the town and overall, spending more time with our training fellows, but like all good things, the training ended.

So we (Luca, Aga and me) left which was our home for the past four days to go to the capital of our hosting country, Bucharest.

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We came to Bucharest under heavy cold (-16º) and we saw the city covered by a one-meter- cloack of snow. Anyway we decided to go out and to know the city by ourselves, so we started to tour in the downtown, we headed directly to the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function: Palatul Parlamentului. After that we kept our visit for some hours around the city, visiting the most important and known places in the city like Piata Revolutiei in the heart of the 1989 revolution. Since the building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Ceausescu launched his latest speech. Nearby is the Roman Ateneul (1888) and hosts major concerts and the Central University Library in a neoclassical building, with marvelous art exhibitions. Anyway we didn´t have so many time and the weather was really hard so we finish our visit walking by the city and enjoying the architecture.

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The city center is a mixture of medieval, neoclassical and modernist architectural styles and buildings ‘neo-Romanian’ dating from the early twentieth century and a collection of modern buildings from the 1920s and 1930s. Most utilitarian part of the communist era architecture dominates most southern districts. Recent contemporary structures such as skyscrapers and office buildings complete the landscape of Bucharest.
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However, despite the cold weather, we ended the evening enjoying the nightlife of the city along with other EVS volunteers (from two asociations: Asociatia Culturala Ask Me and A.C.T.O.R.) … and it was really amazing, although many people had warned us that Bucharest is the most expensive city in country, you can find places really cheap and to have fun with not much money, some of this clubs are Kulturhaus and Panic! both close to Piața Universității. After two intense days our trip came to its end, but we still had time to meet us with some volunteers from Tismana whose we met in our arrival training and they came back to their respective countries after have finished their project. After that, we walked around the city for a couple of hours before to take the train that would bring us to Arad, promising ourselves back in town when the weather is more benevolent to enjoy the city in all its splendor and to meet again with our friends (whose aren´t few).
And, in this way, it finished a very intense week in which we met people from the 5 continents, we did more than one thousand kilometres and very many priceless new experiences.
Ne Vedem
P.R.
Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mid-Term Training (1/2)

The last week we were in Predeal again for the Mid-Term Training, and it was a bittersweet feeling. On one hand we can come back to the Hotel Eden and enjoy Predeal with a lot of EVS volunteers (we were 66) from the five continents (from Africa – Tunicia, Marroco-, from Asia -Nepal-. from Oceania – New Caledonia- , from America – Perú- and the rest from Europe), almost half of them were with us in the arrival training and we had met many others volunteers in these months in Romania; the sessions were, in general, better and more interesting that in the arrival training, the nights were more quite but maybe, more intense. On the other hand, we met with a lot of volunteers who will leave Romania soon and it´s difficult to meet them again in a short time; another negative side is that this training means we already spent the half of our time as EVS volunteers.

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I started this trip with Luca and Aga, we decided to squeeze the long trip to Predeal, and we made a stop in the amazing city of Sighișoara, we spent one day in this beautiful place roaming the narrow streets of the citadel, visiting The History Museum inside the Clock Tower and we even entered the house where the famous national hero Vlad Tepes was born, now reconverted in a hotel with restaurant. It looked like a good place to rest and eat something but the prices are prohibitively expensive for our pockets so we ended up into a small pension eating the most typical Romanian dish (șarmale cu mamaliga și smântână), it was my first time. After that we went to the train station, under the snow which began to fall minutes before, towards Brașov.

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In Brașov our friends were waiting for us in “Casa De Cultura a Studentilor Brașov” where they were helping to the “Incubator107 Brașov” in a multicultural event. There we met a lot of unknown volunteers (local ones, EVS from Craiova, Baia Mare…) and other ones already known, after this meeting our friends showed us the nightlife in Brașov (we already knew the city by day) so we went in a taxi to the downtown (it was my first time I was been driven under a snowfall) and we came to a wonderful place, at least for me, Beraria Ciucas. We ate and drank something to go after to another club: For SALE PUB, a typical irish bar where between beers and peanuts where we took shelter from the bitter cold that Brașov offered us that night.

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If in our first trip to Predeal we ended up spending the night in Brașov, this time we slept in Brașov just before going to Predeal. So on Sunday  came to Predeal… but that part of the story I will tell you the coming week.

It shall continue… (click here)

Ne vedem saptimana vitioare!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Gastronomy, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning other languages

As every new year, the most of us do ourselves a lot of new purposes, the most common: go to the Gym, give up smoking… And we´ve also started the year keeping our main purpose that is none other than to continue our learning process. For this reason my mates António and Aga have started to teach their mother tongues (Portuguese and Polish, respectively). Then every monday and wednesday appear in our dormitory a lot of EVS volunteers of Arad.

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So, right now I talk the most of my time in English (with a pitiful accent, by the way) and I´m learning Romanian, Polish and Portuguese. With Romanian I can, more or less, understand “un pic” and to ask for basic things (after five months is the least I could do), I´m improving my level every week thanks to our weekly Romanian lessons and also everyday interacting with our neighboors, bartenders, beneficiaries and overall with the children… And I hope, in no more than a week, we´ll have the chance to watch Romanian TV.

With Portuguese language I´ve got a real problem, everybody thinks Portuguese and Spanish language are very similar; In fact, I can understand the most of written Portuguese but it´s almost impossible for me to understand them when they speak, and I´m really used to listen to in the dorm, almost everyday I witness a Portuguese conversation between Rita and António. So I´ve joined the Portuguese lessons for that reason and also because of another thing: the most of Portuguese people are able to understand Spanish language very well, so they take advantage of me and I want to fix that.

And finally, Aga is teaching us Polish. It´s a extremely difficult language for me, they have a lot of differents letter and too many different sounds for what I am used. Only the first day we were for almost two hours to understand and to know the different letters and pronunciations… It´s another world for me, nothing to do with latin languages or english, if you see something written in Polish looks like impossible but when you start learning you can see similarities in grammar with latin languages and, although I still think, it´s really complicated but I think after a few months learning I might survive if someday I get lost in Poland.

http://www.youtube.com/user/PolishPod101

Ne vedem!

Vemos mais tarde

Zobaczenia później!

PR

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Moș Crăciun pentru o zi!

Hey!

After  this long Christmas holidays pause, here we are again!

Someone came back home, someone used this free time to take a round. Personally I went to Poland with Aga and an Italian friend, we went by hitch-hicking and, honestly, it was a bit hard to come back home but after three days we did it and we had the possibility to see and appreciate some cities in Slovakia and Hungary, really nice places.

Anyway I would like to tell you about what we did for Christmas with our little friends, our “copii din Curtici” and maybe I’ll tell you about my trips in another post, why not!?

So as I said let me tell you about our “Moș Crăciun day” in Curtici.

Some days before the holidays we got a call from our organization, they asked us to help them to unload some packages from a truck, actually it was more than some package, it were “second hand” toys collected in Germany and sent to Romania to make happy Romanian kids that unfortunately couldn’t have the chance to enjoy this period as other children do. We stored all this presents and we took some of them to bring to Curtici and gave them to the children of the Curtici children center.

Some days after Aga, Antonio and me went with Cristina, our coordinator and Ana, local volunteer, to Curtici.download

The surprise for them was that we were wearing the costume of Santa Claus and  children were amused to see us in the shoes of Moș Crăciun ( as Santa Claus is known here in Romania).

Everybody was enjoying that moment,  children sang for us some Christmas songs (the little Aida was superb) and after we started to give them the presentsDSC00131

Laughs, hugs and kisses, great!

We spent with them some time and after giving the good wishes for a happy Christmas we left Curtici with a smile in our faces!

Here you can see some pics of the event…

La revedere my friends!

 

Luca G.

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Odd Socks

One of our first tasks in our project was to prepare a singular campaign for the collection of socks. Vis de Copil (A Child´s Dream) and Fundatia Pro Prietenia (our host organization) are the creators of this campaign, and we had the honour of preparing it all along. The main idea is to collect socks, but we accept all kind of clothes. The campaign to collect clothes are very common, but people usually give all kind of old or used pants, T-shirts, sweaters… but no many people think about socks. Here in Romania the Winter is very hard and long and for some months the temperatures are below freezing, so in this case socks are really important.

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We start the campaign designing a logo, visit cards, leaftleaves and, even, T-shirts. In mid September Vicky and me togheter with representants of Pro Prietenia and Vis de Copil appeared in TV talking about this campaign. And before September finished we´re out here in the streets to show the campaign to local people. We were till the end of October going every week to a very crowded shopping complex in Arad. We were a great reception from people we met, the most of them came to us to ask about the campaign and in what way they could get involved, thanks to the invaluable help of Georgiana and Denisa (local volunteers) we could convey to people about the goals of the campaign and finally, we collected many socks, there were people whose even bought new socks and put them into the big sack we had for this.

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Although our work on the streets has finished, the campaign continues; Odd Socks campaign collects socks for the poor in Romania but you can help us from anywhere in the world, so if you really care this difficult situation in which many families are going through in our host city, you can visit the Odd Socks facebook page, click here.
Ne Vedem!
PR
Categories: EVS Activities, Our Beneficiaries, Our City, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

International Symposium on Human Trafficking

The last week we had the opportunity to take part in the third International Symposium on Human Trafficking which was held in Arad and was organized by The Friendship Foundation (UK – Romania) in partnership with our hosting association, Pro Prietenia Arad and with the collaboration of Pointman Leadership Institute.

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Our tasks during the week were to help in the logistics part with the help of many local volunteers, but we could also enjoy with the different lectures that occurred throughout the event.

The first day the lectures were focused about the principle-based leadership in the fight against human trafficking and they were carried on by Michael Craig and Quintus Smit. On Tuesday the same speakers opened the day with a speech about the need of a multidisciplinary approach.

After the lunch break the symposium continued with new speakers: Marius Roman spooke about the fight against the human trafficking. Laurentiu Dinca and Claudia Sarbescu spoke about the prevention and Mihaela Tomita finished the conference speaking about connections between drug trafficking and human trafficking.

The Third day was focused on point out models of best practice for combating the human trafficking; in UK with Michael Craig, Brian Gregory and Cristina English; in Romania with George Iuga, Marius Grec and Cristian Rafaila; in Switzerland with Corinne Estermann and Mariana Petersel; and in Netherlands with Foka Van de Beek.

On Thursday, Filip Ologeanu and Emanuel Popa opened the day with a very interesting exposure about their project. MATTOO (Men Against the Trafficking of Others) is an international organization that uses the empowerment of boys and men to stop the threat of sex trafficking by showing the direct correlation between the demand in the sex trade industry and the supply of humans through trafficking. After that, Tiberiu Medeanu (professor at the Vest Timisoara University) talked about the new penal codes related with the human trafficking. And in the afternoon we could go at the opera in Timisoara to see the Romanian premier of the British award-winning anti-trafficking opera  Anya17.

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The last day we could check how the fatigue had punished the assistants and the organizers after a hard week. To close this third symposium Michel Craig and Smit Quintus were the responsible ones and they did it speaking about prevention and combating the corruption.

We can say this third edition was a real succes and we hope this symposium can have many more editions and increase its call and its importance every year.

PR

(UK – Romania)
(UK – Romania)in partnership with our hosting association, Pro Prietenia A
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Let´s Do It Romania

After to go to Predeal for our arrival training, we´ve participated in the campaign “Let´s Do it Romania“. It has been the fourth consecutive edition of this singular campaign which has counted with more than 200.000 volunteers throughout Romania. In all the country we´ve collected nearly 300,000 bags of trash. Here in Arad we were with a lot of local volunteers, the most of them are members of boys scouts.

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This year the city with more movilized volunteers has been Botoșani which has counted with more than 15.000 volunteers, ahead of Gorj (which was the city with more volunteers in 2012) with more than 13.000 volunteers. After these cities we find Bihor (more than 11 000),  Iași (over 10 000) and Dâmbovița (around 9 600). Here, in Arad we were more than 7.000 volunteers… far away from Botoșani, but if we compare these dates with the first edition in 2010, this year we´ve been more than double.

The best news this year has been than the 40% of the collected waste is recycable increasing the results of previous years (30% in 2012, 26% in 2011 and 17% in 2010) and if we add all these editions more than 1´6 millions of trash bags have been recollected by more than 650.000 volunteers. With this action Romania is taking awareness about the need to recycle, and statistics show us the evidence.

Enjoy with the pictures taken by Party Arad, click here.

And you can follow the facebook page if you’re interested, Let´s Do It, Romania!

Ne vedem

PR

Categories: EVS Activities, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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EVS experiences in Arad

Empower your EU citizenship

EVS experiences in Arad