Jasmin's EVS in Zielona Gora, November 2018

Dzień dobry jeszcze raz! Jasmin here with some more stories of my EVS adventures in Zielona Góra and this time I'm talking about interesting things that happened in November.

As I was talking about in my previous installment, I was planning on going to Munich. Well, that happened right at the end of October and I've met with my brothers family for several days. I ate Balkan cuisine which I started to miss already, even though it's been only a month. Finally had a chance to use my mother tongue in person. Feels weird. And last but not the least, I found out how much stuff I'll have to bring back to Poland.

When I came back to Poland, I really felt like I've settled now. I started planning what I'll train during my service here. Checked out the communities of sports that I've trained before in Croatia. Tried yoga, capoeira and rock climbing. I have decided that I would like to stick to rock climbing because I enjoyed it the most and it was the cheapest option monthly (Usually it's expensive, but I already had some gear brought with me, and the rest I borrowed from a friend here).

In the beginning of the month I finally went to Poznań to meet the crew at CIM Horizonty, the coordinators and other volunteers. After the cca 2 hour train ride, I arrived at the Poznań main station. In my mind I had the image that there's going to be somebody holding a paper with something like “Mr. Jasmin” written in big letters. The reality was even better than that. As I was walking through the platform I've noticed Sara and Ketevan (whom I haven't met before) waiting for someone with their phone screen pointed towards the arriving travelers with my name written in tiny letters. I didn't even have to see what's written there, I knew they were the ones.

We took a walk through the city and got to know each other as we moved to CIM Horizonty headquarters. There I met Ula and the rest of the volunteers, Beka and Alvaro. Unfortunately Emma, the last volunteer of the bunch, wasn't in the city at the moment.

I enjoyed my time there getting to know each other and talking about what we are doing for our EVS. We shot a video together and they showed me the projects they did for their local community.

Back at school, I've started a big project with kids. I've noticed they like to play a computer game called Minecraft so I've decided we can try to recreate our school house in the game. In the beginning of the project we spent time measuring the inside and outside of the house so we can recreate it the best we can. We've chosen not to go with the ratio of one minecraft block to 10 centimeters because that would be too much work. So we chose a ratio of (1block : 20cm). It seemed like a perfect balance between the level of detail we could implement and the easiness to build.

Turned out it was still a huge house to build and it's taking us a lot of time to accomplish.

During the month I was getting more and more into implementing my workshops independently. I was learning more Polish and it is becoming easier to talk to the kids.

And I've learned a new trick on how to handle difficult situations. One day I was holding a class of gymnastics and acrobatics with the older kids. All of a sudden, the youngest ones barged in the room and started chasing each other, playing tag and the usual stuff kids do. The rest of us just stood there in mild shock of the interruption. At that moment I was helpless. I had very little options to do. I could use my force and take them out of the room which isn't in harmony with the school's “non-violent communication” ideology. I could've yelled at them that I would like to do the workshop in peace but my Polish wasn't enough to do that. I was just standing there without any ideas when one of the older ones looked me and told me in English “It looks like we're done for today.” Then it dawned on me. I can use the older kids as translators to tell the younger ones to be considerate of us doing a workshop here and leave the room. And I did that and it worked! I was very happy with my newly acquired tool in the toolbox.

At the end of the month I had my official EVS “On-arrival training”. I had to go Warsaw for a week. I think I've never been in a city bigger than Warsaw. It was very intimidating when I got out of the main train station. I especially felt it as I was passing “Pałac kultury i nauki”, a huge building right next to the main station. I remember 2 or 3 songs passing on my headphones and I was still walking on the same street next to the same building. Huge! I finally arrived at our hostel where I met 25 lovely volunteers from all over Poland. There I've also met 2 wonderful trainers, Wojtek and Ania, who facilitated the whole process for us.

I've learned a lot about EVS, little details about our rights and obligations that I haven't heard before. How to manage our budgets, how to manage conflicts at our hosting organizations and within our relationships. We've learned about how are the social situations in the countries we came from. We've also held some workshops of what we do in our lives so we had some contact improvisation classes, classes on how to be on stage, and I had a chance to share what I know best, and that is capoeira. I've gotten great feedback on it and it made me happy!