Friday, August 11, 2017

The power of EVS. Amalie

Some days before I bought the ticket to go back to Armenia. The end of EVS is very near, one month, some weeks and I would be called Ex EVS volunteer. Yeah.. now I am participating in everybody's goodbye party and then I would also close the page of EVS generation 2016-2017. I do remember when the previous volunteer Luca was telling me about the project, he said " hey, it's gonna be your best year". And now when it is already "the end" I can confirm that it is and it is true EVS does a lot and changes you. You go out from your comfort zone and you discover a new person (the most popular expression during your EVS "comfort zone"). And now bababaaam, here is my EVS story, let's go!

What is EVS for me ? 

When you meet an EVS volunteer everything is already said, another member of our big EVS family. It doesn't matter the person where is from, what background he/she has, how old the volunteer is, nothing matters. The person has chosen to be an EVS volunteer and that is all. My dear reader if you are an EVS volunteer now you would say " yes, exactly", if not let me introduce our world. We are people who have decided to stop our usual life and enter another unknown world. As if there was a game in our country and we decided just to take some months or one year break and face something totally different. The game keeps going on with the same heroes but we are not there anymore, now we are heroes of "EVS community" game. We meet amazing volunteers from other countries, we work in different places where they need extra help, we do our best to be useful, and the most important is we get a kind of valuable experience which could be very helpful for our whole life.
So I also chose to be one of the heroes of this "EVS game" and here is my EVS in Kaunas, Lithuania at A.C. Patria and "Vartai" youth center. 

What is my project and how I feel about it ?

"Volunteer center"
The best part of my EVS are the people, I met many individuals from different countries due to whom I understood that the world is one and we are not different as we were born in other nations. People are the same you just need to find YOUR people. In the organization where I work they like me and respect my personality, they help me to get new experience and encourage me to go further. I am one of the luckiest volunteers who have 2 different projects, actually it is one project which is shared into 2 "jobs". My main project is at the volunteer center of A.C. Patria which in my opinion is "an organization to help people". There are many social workers or phycologists who mostly work with young people who need personal and also some financial support. And me ? What I am doing here ?

 I help the workers to organize some events, to promote their projects and to make my own projects too. Here I take some photos or videos of events, as well as conduct some presentations spreading EVS idea to young people of Lithuania. You've already felt how happy I am being an EVS volunteer, so when I have the chance to tell about it that gives me only pleasure. And by the way once I made a movie about this organization, they liked a lot and they are using it quite often. So I believe this is volunteering when you try to make something nice and when it's done you feel yourself super happy and "useful". 

So if there I can share my skills and help them with their work, at the youth center "Vartai" day by day I realize I am getting a new profession which is called "social working". A very colorful and gamy place where almost every day young people come and spend their free and safe time. Sounds a little bit strange, I agree but wait. In the beginning it was super strange for me also to understand the meaning of this center and what is important to find my place here. I have never seen such a place in my life, there are day care centers for children, centers for people who have disabilities, or could be centers for different sport or music activities but what is this ? Young people at different ages come and spend 4 hours of their day and they feel so happy and safe as if it is their home. And actually it is, for some of them sure more than home, their all friends are here, workers who always listen to them and support are here, games or different activities are also in Vartai, so that is why some of the youngsters visit this place even more than 3 years. And finally me ? 

Here I organize some activities and make some workshops to make their day interesting. I share my "volunteer position" with other 2 crazy and amazing volunteers Ionuts and Migel, and the best activity we have done since now is our "Karaoke day". We just prepare everything and youngsters sing all day long, we are all here like movie stars, everybody chooses the song and let's go.. And who says that most of us have a kind of horrible voice, we just enjoy our time. Besides these happy events I also have days when I talk to them and they trust me their stories. So I just listen to them and advise. All in all I am following how our professional social workers work in this center and I try to do the same in my way.  

And finally how EVS has changed me ? 

Before I was not travelling and I was always staying in my country with locals. And I always wanted to know the world, to go out of the country and meet different nations. And this year I did it, I have chosen one country Lithuania but I met so many different nations. I always consider that I live in small Europe as "countries are the people" and I have those people next to me. I get "the first hand" information almost from everybody about their countries and nations. I am also glad that others got to know my culture due to me. Besides this amazing EVS community I also travelled a lot in Europe and I realized the most important people are very different but at the same time they are the same, just take your time and know the person. 

By the way for the first time of my life I have also tried hitchhiking here and I got addicted to it. " Don't worry if you don't have money, if you want to travel just go ahead". I live this way now and that first experience was with my EVS friends when we went to Klaipeda, and there totally I went out from my comfort zone, also first time in my life I slept in a tent with a sleeping bag.... Yeah.. sounds strange that I had never had that experience before but now EVS gave the opportunity. So leaving abroad and traveling, meeting new people changed me so much that I am afraid to go back and start the same life as I had before. But I am sure it would not be the same as I am not anymore that Amaly, things and my people would stay the same but I would be another person as I had decided to be an EVS volunteer. 

                                                                        AMALIE KHACHATRYAN