What is my experience so far through my participation in the program entitled “The Forest Tale”? It is strange how a question can evoke so many emotions and memories. So at the beginning, I would like to share some of my initial thoughts, expectations and motivations that were the reason for my application. Since I participate in such a program for the first time, my biggest motivation was the excitement, the need for a meaningful journey, the contact with other people and the communication in a multicultural environment. Then I considered it as a good opportunity to learn more and more about the environment, ways to protect it by gaining personal experience, in order to finally adopt a more ecological and sustainable way of life. In the process, however, I realized that I can benefit even more stimuli, knowledge and experience.
Having already spent more than 15 days participating in the program, day by day I appreciate even more this distinct “journey and life lesson” as I would like to describe it. Also being with such special people is perhaps the culmination of the experience. Each of us can offer and receive so much from the other. With the power of communication we share our concerns on various issues, such as environment and politics, we talk about similar or common traditions between us or we learn about some completely different but very important and interesting ones. Common words, alphabets and similar letters, foods with variations, games with different names but with the same plot, have been daily observations for us among others. And what if we do not speak the same language? We are all people of the same world and through music, dance, hugs and our common daily life we are coming even closer to each other, acquiring a new family. However, the program does not offer only these. Through continuous activities and presentations we increase our creativity, improve our language skills, we develop cooperation and sense of teamwork, we learn about the world of image and sound, we acquire new skills, we review or even set new life goals.
In addition, having traveled for a week and visited several places in Bulgaria, including cities, villages, ecological farms, historical and cultural monuments, I would like to say that we are talking about a very interesting country, with important history, tradition and gastronomy, which can still offer much more. An important point that I have noticed and I would like to mention, is the kindness of these people. Even when verbal communication is not possible, the physical one comes to fill this gap with a big and warm smile. And sometimes that is all that matters.
Finally, I would like to point out that volunteering is an opportunity, an opportunity not only to get to know the beauty of humanism and nature but also to gain knowledge and emphasize their coexistence and prosperity. So what do you think? Would you be interested in having such an opportunity?
The article is part of the project “Forest tale” of AYVOB, funded by ESC of the EU.