Volunteering stories: Rural Summer Camps – by Andrea S.

Hello! My name is Andrea and I come from Barcelona. I am enrolled in the Rural Summer Camps Project for six months in Baia Mare.

I came to Baia Mare, because I needed a change in my professional life. I wanted to collaborate in an NGO as a volunteer and work more closely for the community. As after studying and working in the international business and marketing field, for almost seven years, traveling around the world and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds, I realized that that was not the profession in which I felt rewarded. What I most enjoyed from my previous jobs, was the opportunity that I had to know different cultures and learning ways of living. Although, I was mainly in touch with the same profile of people: owners of companies that their main interest was to gain more profit from their business, no matter if they had to sacrifice the sustainability of the planet, erode their personnel conditions, discriminate people for gender, race or social condition… and many other personal and global abuses, which, from my point of view are against my values.

Therefore, I decided to enroll in this project, as the fact of working with kids in social exclusion and from a different backgrounds cached my attention since the beginning.  As well as, the fact of collaborating in a small and local NGO, because even if the impact that can reach is in a smaller scale, in the end can have bigger results. As from my point of view there is less people involved and is much more easy to control the resources, to be connected with the community and is easier to focus in the issues of concern.

After almost three months here, I have realized that unfortunately even small NGO’s get “polluted” by the money. I understand that is not easy to handle it sometimes, but at the same time for me has been disappointing to find it out.

On the other hand, I am really proud of having taken the decision to come here. Every day, I am having the chance to learn for other volunteers and from kids, but specially, from 5 persons, my project mates, which I can call them now my friends and my family here. It is amazing how life can give you this presents! We all come from very different backgrounds and we are completely diverse, but since the first day that we met, we have respected each other and everyone adds value to everything we do.

Moreover, I have to say that the city of Baia Mare has given me the pure air that I needed. It is a hided treasure in the region of Maramures, surrounded by hills and nature. People is really kind and tries to help you when you need it even if they do not speak English. When speaking with people you can perceive that in their everyday lives they preserve old traditions and that have a lot of respect for the products that the earth gives us.

Finally, I am enjoying these months here in Baia Mare as is the first time in my life that I am taking time for myself. As besides working in the projects, I have time to do introspection, to understand what I want and what I need.

I feel that I have always been rushing to take the next decision in my life because unfortunately, in this society, the fact of making a “break” creates a black hole in your CV that seems that you will never be able to recover and will make you stay behind the others. But in the end is the smarter decision that anyone can make. Stop and listen to yourself.

Andrea is a Spanish volunteer and she takes part in the “Rural Summer Camps” project which is a European Voluntary Service financed by the European Commission through Erasmus Plus program.  The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the article lies entirely with the author.