As we explained in yesterday’s post, in the next four days we’ll be publishing the experiences of 4 volunteers at the Piekary Slaskie Municipal Library under the European Volunteer Service (EVS) Program:
My name is Morgana, I am a 20 years old Italian girl and I am happy. I am happy because last year I took the best decision of my life since now, I decided to experience a bit more before to start my university. I started to look for a project inside EVS program. I found severals, but one in particular, kept my attention. It was about to be a volunteer in Poland, in Municipal Public Library in Piekary Slaskie. I searched some information online and I found a facebook page of the library, I started to watch the pictures and ten minutes later I wrote my motivation’s letter and I applied for this project. Few days after I was chosen by the library, I packed my luggage, I said goodbye to my friends, I watched a Wajda’s movie, I took all my winter clothes, I hugged my family and I took a plane.
Now I am living in Poland since 8 months. When you leave your country for such a long period, basically you are choosing to start a new life somewhere else. Is this easy? While I was on the plane I thought I wouldn’t be able to survive far away from my places, my family, my language, food etc.
Now in my mind when I am somewhere and I think “I want to go home” , this “home” is for me here (in Poland), in Piekary Slaskie. This is my home now because here I found a second family. I know it can seem exagerated but I couldn’t use other name instead of “family” to describe my relations with volunteers and librarians here. When I don’t see them for a long time I miss all of them.
The Library in Piekary is amazing. Of course you can find good books and the librarians are always there to advice good stuff, of course there are places where you can sit and read a newspaper but isn’t only this. In the central library books and technology share the same space. Computers and iPads are available for the readers, there is a 3D printer and courses to learn how to draw in 3D and how to print with it. Children can learn maths and science playing with Lego robots, programming their movements. Me and the other volunteers have artistic workshops with children, language lessons with children and adults. Is not only a library, is the right place where is possible to learn everyday something new.
There I learned a lot of polish words, I learned how to teach my language (it seems easy but is not), I learned how a library works, I improved a lot my English, I discovered that to play with children is not important to speak the same language, I learned how to be indipendent, I discovered sides of my self that I didn’t know before.
I explored the country from south to north, I met several EVS volunteers in each city from different countries. I met real friends, I danced, I sang, I didn’t sleep for entire weekends. I learned to find solutions always, never give up. I am more sure about myself, I am more open minded, I really had the opportunity to know Poland and Polish culture.
I really grew up a lot in the last months and I did it with other youngsters like me.
I tried to bring a bit of “Italian sun” in the library and I just try to smile everyday because I am lucky to be here.
Of course there are moments when I feel nostalgic, I miss my family, my life in Italy I even miss the coffee of that paricular bar in that specific street. It’s normal. There was a moment when I found this small town in Poland was not enough for my free time. I wanted to speak with some young people, I wanted to dance, to be crazy, to sit in a beautiful pub. That moment lasted the time to take a bus and move in the bigger city closed to this place. I spend my free time in the bigger city, I have memories there, I met so many persons, I know where to go and I know who to meet to have a good time.
There are moments when you can touch the differences between your country and the new one, the first thing you think is “this is silly” and maybe it is, but the most important is to go deep inside. Don’t stop. Try to find the motivations why things are like they are. This is for me EVS, experience and discover and always go deep when you don’t understand. This doesn’t mean accept everything but motivate and put a logical base on what you don’t agree.
I think this project give a lot to everybody, some of the librarians that at the beginning didn’t speak english now knows several words, they know something about Italy, about me, my language, my culture. The children in the library can experience what does it mean to speak with a person that doesn’t speak your language, the try to refresh the number in English, they say “hello” and “goodbye” and I say “cześć” and “do widzenia”.
The persons that live in the same building with us, people on the bus, in the street, in the shops have the opportunity to experience something not ordinary. In the same time for volunteers every meeting is about learning something new.