Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

ESC Volunteers #stayingatproject – Part I

Due to great interest in our volunteers’ stories we have decided to connect with volunteers all over Europe in order to share their stories. We wanted to see how their volunteering experience differs from ours and the ones having their project in Finland.

#stayingatproject is linked to the current #stayathome movement giving the impression of how volunteers feel and spend their time continuing their ESC project.
In the following articles you will find new perspectives or even similar thoughts and feelings because of the pandemic. Leave a comment if you can relate. Or contact us to have a chat and share your thoughts.

The volunteers were given 5 questions regarding their introduction and changes of their lives and projects. 6 volunteers share their stories in 3 blog entries.

.

Nicolas 🇫🇷 > 🇮🇪

Nicolas painting a big draw on a wall of the parking at the youth centre

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Nicolas from France, I am ESC volunteer in Ireland for a year in the city of Killarney which is located in the South West of the island. I studied marketing and management of a business unit, and I worked in many different jobs: hotel, restaurant, department store, fitness club, cinema and in a youth club. In Ireland, I work in a youth center called EurOg which is part of the KDYS youth centres network in the county of Kerry. My host organisation is a youth centre so it is all about young people. I have various activities in my job:  I assist youth workers in the youth café or in other activities like boxing and cooking, I take part in workshops about human rights and I help set up accommodations for young people.

Questions on changed circumstances and your personality:

What are your feelings regarding your volunteering project and/or the expectations you had before Corona?

My project here is about doing social work, so of course, with the current health crisis, the youth centre is closed to the public and I cannot work anymore. The situation is a bit strange, it is hard to realise what is happening right now and the fact that is happening everywhere in the world. I am very disappointed because I was waiting spring/summer and the good weather to travel more into Ireland and discover the country, but now with the virus, it is highly compromised…

What does your day look like now in comparison to your days before the COVID-19 precautions?

Oh, I don’t know if it is funny or sad (or both) but my life is (almost) all the same!

What are the changing things in my life since the pandemic?

I cannot work anymore. I have to standing in the line in front of the supermarket to do my shopping (It is the first time in my entire life that I have to do that and it is a bit scary. But to see some empty store shelves (no pasta, no rice, etc.) that was really scary! Some people are so stupid, they create a shortage when there is none!

What are the things in my life that are the same like before the pandemic?

I have still no social life here because I have no friends (I have some but they live in Galway) I spend hours with computer (watching movies, series, listen to music, read comic book online, etc.) I help with the garden. I have a playground not far from home so I play basketball there. I take the dog for a walk every day (yes she is my friend, but she is not human!). And I am looking for a job (in Ireland, France, Finland, anywhere!)

Tell us/the readers more about your priority of social contacts/ socialising.

I am quite bipolar about social life because I really like to be with people and joking, etc. but at the same time, I need to be alone sometimes (to be calm and be able to think quietly with no distractions around). So you could say I am happy when both are balanced, and right now with this cursed health crisis, I have to admit that I really miss to socialize!

How are you trying to/How do you prevent yourself from being lonely?

I talk on social networks with other French people from the Yellow Vests Movement. Which enable me to know what is happening in my country while I am not there!

Answers dated 24.04.2020

If you want to know more about Nicolas and volunteering in Ireland, please watch his videos on YouTube
(ESC in Ireland and ESC in Ireland during Coronavirus Pandemic).

.

Santeri 🇫🇮 > 🇵🇹

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Santeri, a guitarist from Tampere and I am attending VOLUNTEER(S)olidarity, an European Solidarity Corps Project supported by the Portuguese National Agency Erasmus+ Youth in Action in Águeda Youth Center, Portugal.

Questions on changed circumstances and your personality:

What are your feelings regarding your volunteering project and/or the expectations you had before Corona?

When I came here I didn’t expect anything specific. ‘’Expect the unexpected’’ was my motto but turns out even that mindset couldn’t prepare me for the current situation. I had hopes about doing something related to music and gladly I managed to gain precious memories and knowledge in that field.

I thought that being here resembles a bit like being in the military although the environment is totally different. The principle still was the same: I go to a new place I have no idea about, I meet some people there and I have some bosses who basically tell me what to do. That’s how it went until the situation changed.

What does your day look like now in comparison to your days before the COVID-19 precautions?

Easily 70% of my days are spent on a bed or in a chair looking at the computer-screen and wondering what to do. Our schedules indicate that we have a lot of work to do although in reality the activities that we do usually take only 10-15 minutes. After that there is only time.

I’m not complaining although I kinda miss doing something physical, something which doesn’t include ‘’meditation-sessions’’ or ‘’watching a movie and reflecting’’. Something which generates physical and measureable results instead of subjective feelings of ‘’positivity’’ of ‘’solidarity’’.

Before COVID-19 our lives were based on a routine, which got altered occasionally, where we’d wake up, go to the local youth-center, plan activities or execute them and in the evening we’d go for a coffee or sth.

Now when all the bars and schools are closed, those routines are completely stripped off.

Tell us/the readers more about your priority of social contacts/ socialising.

​When it comes to hanging out ​with my colleagues, nowadays I enjoy solitude. I live with them and work with them which makes me think that it’s unnecessary to spend time with them on our ‘’free time’’ if that term even exists anymore.

I stay in contact with my family and my Finnish friends almost daily using video-calls etc. Which is refressing in some ways. It feels good to use your mother tongue every now and then.

How are you trying to/How do you prevent yourself from being lonely?

I feel lonely in very rare occasions. I think i haven’t been physically lonely for 7 months because I live with the people I work with.

Mentally I feel occasional loneliness. Surprisingly it occurs when I spend time with my colleagues outside of work. Maybe they are just people I wouldn’t interact with unless I’d have to. Like now.

​My family and friends in Finland keep my company when I need it. It cures the feelings of loneliness pretty neatly.

Answers dated 03.05.2020

Advertisement

Published by volunteersofhyvarila

Hello! We are volunteers at Hyvärilä Youth Centre, Nurmes, Finland sharing experiences and projects.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: