The suitcase of a volunteer
How to write a few lines about an experience that touched so many emotional and rational points of oneself inner universe?
I arrived in Poland on the first of September. Not just me, but also an enormous suitcase, one big backpack, and one small bag. They carried several needed stuff, plus a big amount of illusion, excitement, and wonderings. All that did not find enough space inside me was in such big suitcases. Saying goodbye to the family, catching a plane by myself, and touch land in Poland triggered a bunch of emotions that exemplify pretty good the word “adventure”.
The incredibly kind welcoming by all the people I found there made those emotions to get the extasis. I remember the first month as a sequence of discoverings, admiration, surprise, appreciation… all in all, a deep crush on that new life. Wolno Mi, the Free Democratic School in Gliwice, was an amazing discovery for me. I had never been before in such a school, and I opened all my senses to know them and learn from them as much as possible—their way of educating fit well with me, although I needed an adaptation process. The concept of school I had been taught turned totally upside down when I entered Wolno Mi; therefore, it took time to construct a new one. I feel this learning process and all the experiences that involved enriched me a lot. And somehow, it changed me. I am very pleased with the mentors and kids cause they were the ones that make this possible by letting me know them, enjoy with them and be part of Wolno Mi for that time.
The good welcoming also came from the other volunteers sharing the project. I feel fortunate to met such good and kind people and to share with them an experience that was common and at the same time different for each of us. They became my family in Poland, and I always felt supported by them. The evenings in Katowice, dinners in central flat, coffees, parties, conversations… a bunch of beautiful moments that draw a significant and essential part of the whole picture of my life in Poland. I lived new experiences far from the comfort zone that allowed me to discover other feelings inside me and start answering some wonderings I carried inside my suitcases. Both arrival and mid-term training also contributed to this part of the picture. It was very enriching to meet with other young people living a volunteering experience with our minds and bodies ready to laugh, talk, share, and learn from others. All in all, sharing life with other volunteers made friendship acquire a new meaning: it meant family far from home. Also, the word volunteers became a shared identity that connected us.
Inside the big suitcases, there were also some shadows. Doubts and things that couldn’t find their place inside me. These shadows could start to see the light during those months in Poland. Far from everywhere and everybody in my life until then. In Poland, I found peace to plant the seed of an in-depth process of personal development. And I found the nutrients to start germinating.
That’s how volunteering experience can be an adventure that goes through oneself universe touching all points. An experience that invited me to open my suitcases and check, exchange, leave and take what life revealed to me. Undoubtedly, a beautiful and life-changing adventure I’ll keep for always.