Truth is stranger than fiction (IV) – by Baptiste Venegas

If you have to compare your volunteering experience with a movie or a book, which would it be and why? Here is what one of our volunteers answered:

Hello! It’s Baptiste! Here I am going to write my story about the movie that I chose to represent my EVS  life: Ice age!

The reasons are very simple. Because I love this movie (first) and because the main subject is ADVENTURE. Whatever they do, they always live an adventure and my EVS is full of that.

The second reason is because Sid, one of the main character, is like me! Always lost. But still, willing to do the best to prove the others that he is independent and responsible (even if he does a lot of mistakes).

And, then, the last and third reason, is because this movie, like my EVS, is full of amazing and funny moments!

And now, of course, you will ask me WHY? So let me tell you my story.

In Ice age all those friends are different races of animals. Some of them find siblings, others even find different species which are supposed to be extinct and, without paying attention to their differences, they become friends and start living an adventure together. Well, you probably know the story. So, my volunteer’s  life is exactly the same. We meet people from countries that we perhaps never heard before, except on TV or books, and we learn, directly from them, from their presentation, from their behavior or their way of thinking, the culture of the country. All of us are coming from abroad, all of us are coming with our own past, with a different perception of the life, a different education, a different sense of humor and still, we become friends. We adapt in a way, our way to behave, to the other ones. We try at first and then we start to understand more and more. Like this, we start to evolve as persons.

Sometimes, alone, remembering all what happened till now, remembering some of my reactions according to the situation, I’m like maybe I should have reacted differently here and here and here… Then, it’s starting the point when you become more tolerant, when you realize that you could have done many things differently, because you also remember, during the process of thinking, the reactions of other volunteers in a situation similar to yours. And they managed to solve the same problems with less effort, and less effusion as well.

Having the chance to do EVS, to travel, to meet foreigners, because YES, my fans which are reading this, this is a CHANCE more than an opportunity, has no prices. You know guys, like Sid, I was lost in many points, I didn’t know how to react to many things, I didn’t know how to face some of my defects, I didn’t know how to take in good critics that people were doing to help me. But, having all these friends around me, with a mind completely different than mine, helped me a lot. Do you remember, in the movie, when Sid tries to climb with the baby in his arms to bring him back to human’s village? Manfred is down, asking himself if he has to kick him in the ass with his huge elephant’s trunk or to help him to go up. But still, he stays down because he is afraid for the baby. So, THIS EXACT moment resumes all my EVS life. My friends were pushing me or sometimes shaking me and the baby that I hold is the EVS.

I remember that once, Remus from the association, told me that EVS is a chance to be who you really want to be. It’s a chance to put different shoes and to choose what kind of person you want to be. And that’s a very smart advice but personally, now that I almost finish my first volunteering experience, I would like to say that he was right but it’s also a chance to be who you really are. I mean, even if you are a jerk or an asshole, maybe you don’t realize it yet. But being with amazing people, being surrounded of “new everything “, will help you to change and to become a better person. And I do believe it, from the bottom of my heart. Sometimes I was an idiot, impolite, sometimes I really deserved someone to kick my ass and to tell me that I was wrong, but, instead of that, I had the best help that a human can get: people putting their hand on my back and my shoulders, pushing me – my family and people taking my hands and pulling my arm in front of me – my friends.

I am 100% sure of it, EVS is not only helping people around you, but also helping you to change, when you are facing a wall that you cannot climb alone. So, thank you Monika, Remus, Steli, Ionuț and Solvita for everything you did for us, for me, for all your support, all the time that you gave us and for this once in a life chance, to do EVS. Thank you Răzvan, the BEST mentor, for all the things you did for me, for all those moments, serious and funny, that we spent together. And, to finish, thanks to all my friends, all my brothers and sisters from another mother, that helped me a lot in the worst moments, like in the best ones (Mihaly and Dora).

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. That was a short resume of the stupid but funny guy from France, Baptiste!

Baptiste Venegas (France) is hosted in Baia Mare by Team for Youth Association, in the “Life Skills for Rural Education” project, an European Voluntary Service financed by the European Commission through the Erasmus Plus Program.

70 Team for Youth Ice Age Baptiste