A beautiful old village house in the middle of Parco Beigua is where we, Anastazija and Aleksandra spent five days this February. What brought us to Sassello, a non-mainstream town in Liguria, was a training course named simply as REC (or more precisely as Non-formal education: Recognition, Evaluation, Certification).
Eager to participate in the training course and to meet new people from 11 different European countries, we set on an exhausting trip only to arrive in Sassello after we changed planes, trains and busses. Once we reached our destination point, we must have left our tiredness in our last means of transport as the positive energy of the participants who had arrived and were arriving at that moment spread immediately through the Rifugio. Soon, we were a part of a vibrant atmosphere filled with young people sharing names, countries of origin and so many personal details. The next morning was the official start of the training course with duration of five days. The topic was rather interesting and challenging but the composition of the group also made it possible to open various discussions connected to the topic.
We eventually learned about the situation with the NFE in separate countries, the directions in which the NGO sector works as well as about the roles the participants play in the associations in their own countries. When it comes to the activities of the training, they were mostly based on group discussion and peer learning principles. We touched upon many different questions and we eventually concluded that non-formal education is a theme which can be endlessly discussed and we cannot make conclusions that later would be taken for granted. And during all these discussions, we did not lack fun, laugh and friendship.
As the days were going by, so did the level of positive energy get higher and higher. Staying until 2 a.m. was not a problem for any of us because we were so immersed in the various games we played each night that we did not notice time passing. For this jolly mood greatly contributed the house which was our accommodation those 5 days. Small and cozy as it was, it made it inevitable not to gather in the two big rooms after dinner and sit by the fire, talk and laugh. And when we say “dinner” you must believe that we had tons of pizza for lunch or dinner. Well not really. Basically, it was organic food grown by the owners of the house promoting agro tourism. But it was tasty and like we mentioned before, absolutely non-typical and something that we did not expect to eat in Italy.
The incredibly sunny weather in Sassello was a total contrast to the rainy atmosphere we encountered on our one-day trip to Genoa. Nevertheless, we roamed the streets of Genoa and inevitably delighted ourselves with a few scoops of gelato. After an interesting round table where we got to hear first-hand about the practices of the Italian valuation system of NFE, we dived in a typical Genovian lunch.
In what seems like minutes, our five days in Sassello ended with lot of hugs, many Facebook friend requests and wonderful memories.
Aleksandra Lazoroska & Anastazija Dimitrova