ESC volunteering in time of Corona. Interview with Nevin Kanzo.
In every upcoming period, the life itself confront us with challenges that we have to face. Not always, the action and mobility means that we are going forward and respond appropriately to the challenge. Sometimes we have to stop for a certain time and reconsider where we are and in what direction we want to proceed. The new reality that the World has faced is just another challenge that we should respond to, to recalibrate our parameters, point of view and adapt. Some people have the courage and ability to calculate quickly the risk and benefits, to come out with a decision. Some people just dare, and others, motivated of their journey, they continue where they have stopped.
A courage, it means following your heart. And my dear friend Nevin chose to obey her heart, right in the time of the new reality, she stepped on the road of gaining new skills, knowledge and new friends. She left for Turkey on two-months volunteering in the frame of European Solidarity Corps, pointing out again that NOW is always the right time for new start.
What was prior to your decision to volunteer in another country? Did you hesitate, considering the actual situation? The support of your family, some personal thoughts?
The strongest of everything was the desire to experience new culture, different traditions and, of course, new knowledge and friends. I did not hesitate, not for a moment, as I knew that in Turkey there were safety protocols established and respected during the pandemic. For the decision, I had the total support of my family and I am very grateful, so I did not hesitate to apply and be a part of this amazing project.
How did the trip go? Protocols for Covid-19, measures, the host organization and their team?
The trip was a bit different from usual, respecting the protocols, safety masks and physical distancing, but in general, it was good, it made me feel safe and secure. In the venue, the protocols were the same as the other countries, so masks and physical distancing. Perhaps the body temperature check of the citizens can stand out, in case you travel somewhere or entering certain space. The host organization LIDOSK promotes intercultural education and understanding, sport as a healthy life style and environmental protection. Considering the circumstances, the coordination was good and accommodation excellent, friendly and positive atmosphere. I believe that it could be even better if there was not an actual situation like this.
What was your volunteering about? How did you find yourself in it? Does the expected experience turn into reality?
My volunteering tasks were amazingly interesting, consisted of monitoring and protection of the sea turtle – Саrreta carreta, especially during their hatchling season, several kilometers along the beach. In addition, the environment protection was one of our priorities. Although I did not study Biology, this project was one of my best experiences that I have took part, to contribute and learn new useful skills. Of course, there was a free time to spend socializing with the other volunteers, cultural visits of locations and fun time. Indeed, my expectations became reality even more than I expected.
How did you like the venue of your stay? New friendships, the fun part of the volunteering and visit of cultural and historical sights…
The venue was the small city of Demre, the region of Antalya, lovely place with warm people, always ready to help. I made some good friends as well, within two months like Janeta from Sarajevo, a volunteer that we keep in touch daily, planning to work together on projects like this.
I have visited many places of cultural and historical importance in the surrounding nearby, like MYRA, one of the oldest cities, important in the time of Christianity. The free time and volunteering were well organized, allowing to explore the environment and the local culture. Of course, there was this wonderful feeling of constant presence on the endless beach, with all that living beings and the sounds of the waves.
Some thoughts after the project termination? What challenges did you face and did it help you to develop further as a person, new skills and competences?
My impressions of this experience are very strong, unforgettable: dedication to the environment and living organisms, help and interaction with the local community and acquired new knowledge how to help the salvation and protection of the animals. Another important thing for me was experiencing new culture. The local people and wider, they were always pleasant, warm, ready to give you a hand. It was incredible the beauty of the nature, the sea, the wonderful historical sights of Antalya, that a must to see and experience.
The work on the project helped me to learn and discover as well, new things about my capabilities and myself, to be aware on the environment and the culture of keeping it protected.
Would you recommend the overall experience to the young people who want to do volunteering?
I would definitely recommend the experience to all young people interested in acquiring new experiences, competences and make new friendships, to learn more about the Erasmus culture as well as about themselves. In my case, about the environment and life diversity – how to protect it, keep it clean and to raise our awareness. Travel, learn, discover new cultures, that’s how you discover yourself and your capabilities.