An alien made of trash and a golden fish- my on arrival-training in Sarajevo
As part of the European Voluntary Service it is necessary to visit two trainings during the period of EVS. For me as for other volunteers from the Balkans the first event – on arrival-training – took part in Sarajevo, Bosnia. I was looking forward to get some input for my EVS in Serbia and to exchange with other volunteers. And I also realised that there are only two of us in South Serbia what means that there are only two that understand how it is to live there.
The travel was long and dangerous but I got used to the style of Balkan bus drivers. Eventhough my feelings changed between fear of death and being breathless about the unbelievable landscape between Serbia and Bosnia. Always on the edge to deep canyons afraid to fall down. Going through tunnels without any light and ready to die in the next moment.
The other volunteer from South Serbia that also travelled with this bus – Alex from Niš – was also quite helpless at the Serbian bus station in Sarajevo. Where can I change money? Where can I buy tickets for public transport? Where is the bus to city centre? We had no idea and the willingness of the information point staff to give answers was quite low. So we had to fight ourselves through the jungle of Serbian Sarajevo to find our final destination – Hotel Hollywood. 4 stars, full board meals, swimming pool, fitness centre and sauna. That was our new home for five days. Well I can imagine worse things than that. My German blood got passionate about the buffet and its rich offer of all kind of food. So I really tried to get everything in one meal which was probably too much for my stomach. After a short introduction of the group and the programme for the week plus a small welcome drink I finally fell asleep in the fresh made and clean bed. On Tuesday the actual programme started. But nothing goes without energizer and name remember games. I had my problems to remember about 20 names after only one evening. We talked about our expectations and discussed some basic stuff before we got the big task to develop an own project in a group of five people. This project was supposed to address a problem, to involve local people and to use skills and resources of all group members. Unfortunately I was not very creative with that and just added some really general ideas to the group. In the end we found a good compromise between all. On Wednesday we did the project implementation. The aim was to talk to local people in the district Ilidža about the environment and to collect trash to make art out of it. Luckily Emma who can speak Bosnian fluently was part of our group so that it was easier to get in touch with the people. We had 10 interesting and amazing conversations with people. Also we were wearing a logo which was made by the creative member of our group that was helping to get attention. After the interviews we collected trash to build a “Tr-alien” (alien made of trash). It turned out that without any talking about our roles everyone found his part in the project and contributed special skills. For me the whole project gave me information about my acting and cooperation in groups. But more than that it showed my weakness in pushing own ideas in the project. Thursday was the day to evaluate these aspects and to define factors for a successful projects and how to transfer these factors in our daily EVS life. After this really fruitful morning we had the possibility to visit the city centre for some sightseeing. I don't like the “walk around and take random pictures” - part of it so I enjoyed more the “sit and drink coffee/rakija” - part of it. So I had also the possibility to get to know some people from our group and their backgrounds better. For example a girl which left Sarajevo with her mother with one of the last busses that were leaving the occupated area of the city to live a life without war in France. Through her roots to Bosnia and her life in France she speaks nowadays fluently French, Bosnian and also German because she studied in Berlin. A quite impressive personality whose company I really enjoyed. Together we went to one of the cutest and authentic bars I've ever seen. "Zlatna Ribica"- Golden Fish is a place made up like a French cafe during the 1920s. Even the waitress was wearing a typical dress. We drank some walnut rakija one of the best I tried till now.
The next day was the last training day and the goal was to give basic information about SALTO and Youthpass and to reflect the outcomes of the whole week and how we imagine now our further EVS life. I really appreciated the methodologies that were used for this training course because it helped me to structure my thoughts about EVS and my ideas for personal projects. I feel now better prepared to work more independent and to get finally started with my ideas. I never expected it to be so important for me. Our group dynamic was fantastic! We all could get along with each other and found new friends there. The age difference was up to ten years but didn't play any role. Plans are made to visit each others places and I even found someone to do a huge hitchhiking tour to Turkey – a thing everyone has to do once in his lifetime I guess. Elodie – Hajdemo!
A trip that gave me different feeling for travel distances but that was worth to go anyway! A travel that gave me much information about history and conflicts between Serbia and Bosnia that are quite important to know if you live in the Balkans. But unfortunately to know about their difficult history doesn't mean you understand it's causes.