It’s been just two weeks since the third phase of the E-volution project has ended and the memories are still fresh. This time, the wonderful Warsaw was the hosting city.
After a two-hour flight we arrived at sunny Warsaw where two volunteers from the Schuman foundation were waiting for us and led us to the meeting point after we left our luggage at the hotel. As the time was passing by and the groups started gathering there was no awkwardness amongst the participants, since they knew each other from the previous times. Although we were surrounded by unfamiliar faces, the Italian, Spanish and Polish smiley faces and joyful spirits helped us feel immediately part of the group. An ice-breaking Geocaching game helped the team bond and gave us the opportunity to have a first look of the city. The day ended in a beautiful traditional Polish restaurant where we tasted the delicious typical pierogi.
9:00 am on Friday morning we started with a meeting in the hotel lobby. The groups split up and the day was dedicated to voluntary actions for the local community throughout the city such as cleaning the beach, baking muffins and playing language games with kids. After a quick lunch we headed to Prom Cultural Center where we shared our experiences and discussed how volunteering can contribute to an individual, local and European level. Our day couldn’t end better than with a party at the beach by the river!
The most important day has come. Saturday, the SCHUMAN PARADE. Everybody was feeling a little bit anxious about both the parade and their presentation. The two-month preparation was finally coming to its fulfillment… The Schuman parade was cheerful, colorful and full of joy. Being a part of an event like that was an amazing experience full of emotions. When the parade was over, each group was ready for its interactive presentation about the central subject of the whole project: volunteering for Europe. It was a great time!
The project had the best possible ending, the whole group sitting on a cliff enjoying the firework-fountain show.
Thank you all for the unforgettable moments we spent together!
We hope to see you all in Barcelona!
Testimonies of the Greek participants about the Greek interactive game:
The game we played was about the difficulties refugees face, when coming from their countries to Europe through Greece, how smugglers presume upon them, how bureaucracy and the help of volunteers affect their journey.
In the beginning I was afraid that people who passed in front of us couldn’t understand the meaning of the game or wouldn’t participate because they were against it.
When the game began all these thoughts stopped. I was looking at the faces of the members of the greek group who played the game. I said to myself: now they have in their mind all the situation they faced in the hot spots! Now I am one of them, I can feel a little more how all these refugees feel.
People were passing in front of us. Some of them continued their walk because they were not interested. Some others stopped, wanted to learn, to ask, to be part of this game. I felt excited. We were not alone. Many other people from other countries think the same way as we do. They wonder like us. That makes me feel strong. I want a better world with happy people and I think it may be a future reality…
How did I feel? How do I feel every day? Being a part of this game was not really a game for me. I have been volunteering in the greek-FYRoM border for more than 5 months now. For me it was not a game, it was my reality, it was a way to show the world just a small part of what these people have been through. Forced to leave their homes, to cross the sea in rotten boats after having sold everything they had, to live in camps and wait for the EU’s decisions about THEIR future… The game tried to show how difficult and cruel all this can be. I think we reached our goal. Participants finished the game frustrated, anxious, sad. Ok, now multiply per one million and maybe you’ll feel like a refugee….