Improve yourself/ Learning by sharing. Looking for a duo to complete the buddy cop pandemic riddled adventure of fighting the good fight.
My name is Marco- Stefan Pista. I am a 22-year-old student looking for a shred of purpose and form some sort of vision for what I want to do going forward and avoid a mid-life crisis in my 30 if I can. And this summer, I looked into volunteering at the advice of my siblings who have done volunteering for a while and recommended the experience. Out of all demographics, I do best with children. I can satisfy that creative itch with them, and at the same time hold the responsibility that I play a little part in their education.With all of that in mind, I kept looking for projects abroad. “See the world, help the world!” Am I right?
So, I applied for a handful of projects that dealt with informal education for children. From Spain to Poland and everything in between I looked, and one of the first ones I applied for was the one I ended up with, and I am so thankful for that, and that is Trendum with their “Improve yourself/Learning by sharing” project. The project started in a little town called Frydek-Mistek in the Czech Republic, at Stare Mesto School.
It started in September. We were 2, me and a german girl who sought to try something in her gap year. Finally, having met after a month of messages only, it was exciting to brave through it together. After we were introduced to everything about Frydek-Mistek and settled in our apartment, we were introduced shortly but steadily into the working process. Keeping in mind the pandemic regulations, the schedule was not as affected early on, but it did take a nosedive in the following months.
My job started in the mornings mostly, at 8 sharp we would be either with the first graders, assisting with the lessons, or in the kindergarten struggling to remember all of the children’s names. Later on during the day, me and the janitor of the school deliver lunches to certain people around town, followed by me helping with the lunch of the kindergarten children, and don’t worry I don’t do any cooking, I don’t have that pedigree. Soon after that both of us volunteers would have lunch in the school canteen then help the cooks in the canteen with serving the students. At first it was part of her schedule to help, but she’s been gone a month now, and I took over her responsibilities. At first it was no picnic, but many lessons later, having known most children now, serving them proved to be way more enjoyable by the fact that we could strike up some conversation, learn Czech on my part, and English on theirs. For the afternoon it is mostly time spent in the English lessons with a red headed chill guy teacher, when you’ll see him you will see what I am talking about. And twice a week, to cap of the day we have school club with the 1st graders and our job is to prepare games and organize some sort of play for them. Given the language barrier, it hasn’t proven easy, and until now I have only showed them games with little dialogue in between but that’s the fun part, I have to think on my feet.
Our coordinator teacher manages all our relations in the school and prepares our schedules for the week, you’ve spoken with her surely, her name is Helena. She is the English teacher and has Czech lessons with us, well me, once a week. I supply that with whatever I learn on language apps on my phone.
After all that I hang out in the apartment. Its more than I could have asked for, with all appliances equipped, and a ton of space to boot, it’s really a good substitute for a home, even if it is for a year. The one thing that acts as a barrier for me is the language. Czech people here would think there should be more since I come from Romania. But all in all, this is the center of Europe and the old communist bloc, so culture here does not seem as foreign to me as I expected, and I have traveled for sure.
My Czech is still rough, and I have to say that if you come from a country that has Latin roots in its language, you will experience some difficulty. For me, Romanian has some Slavic roots so it’s cool to discover words that are not that different in both languages, but there are not that many.
When it comes to free time, I stay in touch with the other volunteers at Trendum and their projects, and my mentor that was assigned to me at the beginning, Jakub. Hanging out with them keeps my mind off of how the whole world changed and interactions happen less and less physically.
Whenever the school had to switch to having their lessons all online, I find that I use my time to work on my own projects, writing and reading and a bunch of other stuff. So basically, I focus more on myself than on my project but when it bounces back, there’s more of me to give to others, time, effort, and things of that nature. That is when it’s all going buttery smooth.
Fast forward 5 months, and a departed partner short. I am looking for wingman/woman. If you’re good with children, no temper issues, and can stand having a partner that rambles on about life issues bigger than he can comprehend, then I welcome you onboard.
P.S. I have cut out on the last bit though