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[Santaco EVS] February: "Snow on Palm Trees"

05/03/2018 Volunteering
[Santaco EVS] February: "Snow on Palm Trees"

We expected sun and heat in Spain. The day we arrived a cold breeze welcomed us as we lit the small stoves offered by Jonathan, the maintenance man of our building, multifunctional and omnipresent both in our thoughts and the streets of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, the city next to Barcelona That will be our house until August.

We begin our experience by participating in activities designed to get to know each other and break down some barriers, which basically means doing quite strange things with a cool and trustworthy face by opening up with roommates and workmates.

Remembering everything that has happened since we arrived seems like an arduous company. Our volunteering takes place in different places through different activities; Each of us has his own story to tell.

One thing is that, coming from France, Austria, Hungary and Northern Italy, we all believed ourselves to be a common stereotype: Spain is a country in the South; In Spain it's hot. This caused suitcases full of clothes for the summer and little for the winter and a general feeling of stupor and betrayal to see the snow perch on the trees the last week of February instead of the buds that we expected to see bloom. The spring we thought was coming early had been replaced by a late winter. Snow over palm trees. The small basil plant that we treat so badly and that we have put on the balcony is now more than dead.

However, our sense of humor seems to grow stronger and stronger every day, which makes our coexistence great. I will try to remember everything that has happened week by week so see how much of

Cool we are all. Things are changing so fast ...

Surely one of the most notable experiences of the first week was the challenge that the Mundus team launched. Prepare food for 17 people. You have an hour and 30 euros of budget. Pasta is not allowed. Go!

It obviously caused panic for a few seconds but in the end we decided on rice with vegetables and chicken. We thought we should cook rice for the entire Chinese population. Half an hour later we realized that half of what we were trying to prepare would have been more than enough. Needless to say, we arrived an hour later and the food did not go exactly as expected.

Fortunately a week later we had the opportunity to teach our true culinary skills at international lunch, during which each one brought and cooked a typical dish from their country. The table was covered in delicatessen with unpronounceable names from all over Europe.

A few days after the preparation and activities of ice-breaking we receive our work schedules. Most of us work with children and young people and we all give language workshops and participate in the linguistic cafe, an event that allows you to practice English, French, Italian, German or Hungarian according to preference. The feeling of being in front of a class with twenty pairs of eyes that stare at you waiting for you to give them enough information to fill the void in their pupils is irreplaceable.

As we work in different places, every night at dinner we share stories about our day: at the Center Obert Rialles Nico met a boy who gave life to a clothing brand from scratch, buying white t-shirts in h & m and printing impressive designs on them. Guillaume eats the pizza he has cooked with the children at Fundació Mans a les Mans while Selin describes his battles to communicate in Spanish: “here here” with finger-indicating-to-the-ground is the new way of saying “please don't skip me over".

Among the closets that look like bookstores and children speaking in Catalan so as not to make themselves understood, the adventures of Barcelona nights are placed. Our floor, our attitude and appearance have already changed. It's been almost a month since we arrived; Time is running fast but we know we are winning the race.


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