Francesco participated in the group volunteering experience VOL’IN GREEN last summer and is giving us a testimony of her experience
Hors Pistes offered to 25young people from Europe to experiment «team volunteering» with the European Solidarity Corps in Marseille (France). This 30 day experience (in may-june 2021) gathered together 25 young people from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Romania, Lithuania and Georgia in Marseille to :
• Discover environmental associations based in Marseille and the region (national parcs, pedagogical farms).
• Exchange about healthy and responsible lifestyles.
• Develop projects around environmental protection and biodiversity.
• Share moments of collectiv life in an intercultural community.
It’s March 2021, and I’m participating in a « post-project » meeting organized by Hors Pistes where we speak and share with other volunteers about our missions abroad. For me, it is about my mission in Cyprus.
That day, I meet Amalia and Linda, who will be in charge of Vol’In Green project. They speak about very enthusiastically, if briefly. I think that I can say (without being totally sure) I am the first volunteer that will participate who heard about this project. I apply two months later, more or less one week before it starts and just after I quited my job. The subject interests me and I wish to live a similar experience to the one I lived in Cyprus that I loved a lot.
Thankfully, there are still some open spots!
Vol’In Green was really interesting for me because it took place in four differents spots in Provence (Barret-sur-Méouge, Guillestre, Île Sainte-Marguerite and Marseille) which made it possible to discover many different aspects of Provence in one month, even for a local like me. Starting in the city, going to the countryside, continuing in the Alpes and finishing in an island was a really fun and nice experience.
I think that my favorite week (because 4 weeks of projects means one week in each place) was the one spent in Guillestre, in the Alpes. We helped local farmers in their work and lived in a youth hostel in the middle of the mountains. This week was full of team work and solidarity, both for preparing the meals for the group, as well as for helping the farmers directly in the fields. We also could have very nice hikes and memorable parties!
A moment that I particularly enjoyed was a pizza night organised with some locals and the farmers. This night I had the possibility to speak with some people from Guillestre and the handmade pizza was cooked in a huge handmade stone oven.
Vol’In Green was also very emotionally intense and rewarding.
I had to adapt myself to live with 25 people from different countries for one entire month after a month of strict lockdown. It was a small shock for me.
However this is where all the richness of the project is : meeting and living for one month with people from other countries with differents backgrounds and situations gives the feeling that you’re always learning new things in all possible subjects.
It’s like living in a small unique bubble for one month.
In addition to the missions we had in the differents places we went, communal living w as a huge part of the project. It was a kind of « hidden mission », but clearly necessary.
I have to say that this came quite naturally even if it’s not easy every time. I really enjoyed trying to hang out with everyone everywhere until it gets exhausting (sometimes I even forgot to take time to rest!). Indeed, for every one-month project of the same kind that I participated in and where I had to live in a group, the « main solidarity mission » (which was the help of farmers or the renovation of a building) almost came second behind the community life, which was so captivating.
Sadly, it would take too long to speak about all the good and important points of this project…
I really think that everyone should live this experience once in their life (for me it was the third). It is a truly rewarding and intense experience, which permits you to learn a lot about yourself.
It also gives you the possibility to meet people and create really strong links in exceptionnal conditions.
I strongly advice everyone that can to live a volunteering experience!
This is Francesco, signing off from the Hors Pistes office, where I start a new mission for one year.
This project has been implemented thanks to the support of the European Union (through the European Solidarity Corps program) and OFAJ through the program « Prends ta planète en main ! »