What would you say if your ESC started with your birthday and Corona Lockdown at the same time? You are welcome to read my Blog Entry where I share my unique experience of a frustrated birthday girl.
How it all started. You all know how it was timeconsuming to prepare all the needed documents and get ready to change the whole life to dedicate one year to volunteering in another country. So, when the suitcases were packed, parents kissed their only daughter hiding tears and friends gave a warm-hearted farewell party, I arrived to Cologne on the 8th of March evening. The bus brought me to the central station in Bonn where I ought to have started my volunteer service right the next day. The whole week was full of new input and a lot of data on which I was mainly concentrated on. Though I had a small celebration on my first birthday workday in a tiny cosy cafe with couple of new colleagues. And then I was told that there was a lockdown due to COVID-19.
Realizing the fact. Home office for all workers. Still a lot to learn but the gained knowledge seemed to be not needed as every project was being considered to be cancelled. Only going out for shopping for food or some medicine. At the same time, I was lucky to end up in Germany during COVID-19 lockdown started, as the restrictions were not that severe as in my country, for example. The second week of my volunteering was in full frustration what to do when there is nothing that much to do.
Slight light at the end of the tunnel. Scrolling Facebook, during one of my evenings, I came across one post where they were inviting to an online event connected with Corona times. After some brainstorming the idea of creating a Digital Workcamp instead cancelled real one came to my mind. I started to google and found out that no one had done that before. Of course I thought, “Why not?”.
Hard-working process. To read a lot of information connected with workcamp organization and implementation, present this outstanding idea to a project manager and to gain a support, to start planning the schedule, looking for facilitators and participants – that all took one month. Without doubt, only with the great team that I had, amazing dedicated participants and supportive board of colleagues in office we made the Digital Workcamp successful! Moreover, simultaneously with running the camp I had On Arrival seminar for ESC volunteers. Sometimes I thought I could go crazy, but I was really happy that I was occupied and I knew that we were doing the important work of trying out the digital version of the workcamp.
What is going on now? In Germany we are allowed to sit in a café or restaurant. So guess how we celebrated the final of our camp and seminar – of course pizza in one of close to us public places! The feeling of sitting on the terrace with beautiful flowers around smelling freshly baked pizza and enjoying every moment of rest – is a fair reward after gloomy days.
Instead of a summary. Even after the hardest thunderstorm there is always a sun on a cloudless sky. Looking back at all this incredible experience, I have to admit it was worth it. As for those who are still in frustration, I’d recommend to take the control of the situation into their hands and keep being busy helping others. It always helps to drive out of any darkest times! To be continued…