My volunteer year is almost over
My last report and general summary of my year of volunteering and my short-term plans
Almost a year has passed since I arrived in southern Germany, in the Bodensee area. A year ago travelers from Spain had to quarantine for a week, I decided to quarantine in Aachen together with my boyfriend; When I passed the quarantine, I took a train for approximately 10 hours towards Bodensee, I changed trains about 4 times, I had many fears, but at the same time I was very excited.
I chose a project with people with disabilities, which in principle would be carried out in a factory, where I would have to control the work and support during meal times, they had told me that I would probably also have to support the hygienic services, but only if I saw myself with the ability to do.
I arrived at night, I was tired, but very excited. Two colleagues waited for me at the train station, and they took me to the house. They reserved a very comfortable room for me, which had a huge window in the ceiling. I found it cozy.
The next day my volunteer year officially began, however things didn't go as expected. I did not go to work in the factory, they took me to a home for people with disabilities, since activities in the factory were suspended, Covid infections were high, there were no vaccinations, and the group of people with disabilities is a group at risk.
I was surprised, but I decided to stay, although I would have preferred to know about this change before, the same day they also offered me the Covid vaccine, which would be administered the following week, (this happened a year ago when there were not so many vaccines available), I The idea was a little scary, but I accepted, I felt privileged and at the same time I was scared, but I saw how people I loved outside the European continent were experiencing the negative consequences of Covid first-hand.
They took me to a group of 9 people with disabilities, where the leaders of the group were two men. I was surprised, since normally people who work in the social field are women, and I thought it was great.
I stayed 4 months in this group, and I fell in love with the users. I also had a cordial relationship with my colleagues, they spoke very good English and the communication was quite fluid. I began to carry out activities with the users they wanted, we went for walks, I accompanied many of them to medical services, I helped people in their meal times, many of them could not eat independently. And I was also able to help two people in the toilets, I never thought I would achieve it, but I think it was because a positive bond was created and a trust that made me take the step.
Four months later, after a high percentage of clients had received the vaccine and incidence figures had improved, the organization decided it was time to go back to the factory, everyone was excited, many people really needed to go back, since during that year of staying home, they developed many mental illnesses related to depression and anxiety.
To my surprise, they didn't send me to the factory, they sent me to another service that they also offered in the same facilities, known as FuB, where people who couldn't work were, but had a certain degree of independence that allowed them to do some activities.
The truth is that I didn't want to be in that group, no one from my group would go, I wanted to see how a factory worked. I arrived at the group and the new colleagues seemed friendly, but they soon told me that taking people with disabilities to the toilets was an essential necessity, and that if I couldn't do it, it was better that I didn't stay in the group. It seemed quite strange to me when there were three workers and they could stock up on that job, so both parties asked for a change, the change came after a month and a half.
During that time the workers began to take a liking to me and see that I could support them in other activities, it was a short time, with some accidents in between that made me see that I could not support the hygienic services if I did not see myself in the capacity to do so and even more so when he had no training in this area.
The day finally came that they sent me to the factory, but they didn't send me to a factory itself, they sent me to an office inside the factory, where the people who work have a low minimum percentage of disability, it was to get there and see that my level of German was still very basic, after almost six months, they spoke so well, and so fast, that I had to get stronger and focus more.
For me it was difficult in some cases to identify the disability of some people, it took me almost six months, and today I did not identify everyone's disability, these six months in this group have been incredible, since I was able to put my knowledge into practice about pedagogy, do some workshops with them and of course raise my level of German to B1.
It has been a year full of challenges, and it is time to move on to the next stage, for now I have decided to stay in Germany until the end of the year, time that I will use to work and improve my level of German, I am also in the process of validating my degree in Social Education. But first of all I want to go home to the Canary Islands once again.