Our group was working in the park this summer, in addition to the normal workers who were in the park every day. A lot of different animals are living there in the park. The main goal was to build a new fence for the new rheas that were born in the park. Most of the time we divided the groups in the half. We did tasks like:
- digging holes for new poles of the fence
- painting the poles and the fences
- painting huts of the animals
- picking up apples from the ground
- take care about the apple trees
- prepare the boxes with food for the animals (in the petting zoo)
- cooking for the group
We were there to support the people working in the park every day wherever we can.
Because of the extreme heat this august, we were only working for around three hours each day. From 9.30-12.00am, Monday to Friday. A lot of time was spent cooking and going to the grocery store.
During free time we:
- visited the mayor of Prenzlau
- had some interviews with the TV and the newspaper
- got a visit from children from elementary school
- had barbecues
- swam in the lake (Seebad)
- had a canoeing tour
- traveled to Berlin/Stettin
There was a lot of free time after work. Mainly we were sitting around in the park in smaller groups and chatting for hours. These were the most interesting parts of the day, when you get to know about the life of others and their culture, opinions and experiences. While eating or after eating, we used to sit around the tables for a long time and we were just talking.
In the breaks throughout the day we were laying in the sun, some were reading, playing music and listening to a lot of music. In the evening a few went jogging sometimes and we sat all together, played music and also danced together sometimes. In some evenings a few grabbed a beer that they bought for themselves. One night we made a barbecue all together and sat around the fire place.
The cultural exchange just happened in an informal way. The participants didn´t need any motivation to talk and share their thoughts.
Within the first days, the host of the project gave us a tour through the park and explained to us that they want to show children, where their food is coming from -like fruits and also the chicken and pigs, so they get the idea that the meat that they are eating was a living animal before- and how to create a more sustainable life.
We also did a guided tour through the city.
After one week there were a few problems that some people felt they had to do everything alone with the same group, like grocery shopping and cooking. Because of this a few had the feeling that some people did not want to be part of the group. But the other side thought it was the other way around, because the people who had the feeling that they were doing everything on their own, was a bigger group talking in the same language and a few others felt disconnected. The people who were affected in this situation sat down together and talked about it, so we could deal with the problem. In the end, it was alright and in general there was a good climate in the group, except of this issue for maybe one or two days.
We only used the first evening for a small introduction and after the first day everyone felt already comfortable with the group.
The group consisted of 8 girls and 8 boys. In one room there were sleeping 6 girls. The group was mainly divided into girls and boys while working. The girls did most of the painting and the boys did more like the hard work, but there was no complaining.
In the kitchen the balance was really good and also in general in the free time.
The people from the Workcamp in Prenzlau cared a lot about the group and organized awesome opportunities like entering the Seebad or the museum for free, going on a canoeing tour for free and organized the meetings with the mayor, the children from elementary school and also the city tour, even though we missed the first one because we were too late…
They helped us with everything and made the experience of the Workcamp even better. We were also able to have free access to honey, eggs and some vegetables from the park :-)