Volunteering Stories: Our Future is now – by Remus

Who knew that you can talk about the future only by understanding the past and the present?
Who knew that you can build a community of like minded people in 10 days?

The project ”Our Future”, implemented by KobieTY – Łódź association of Poland and the changemakers group ”ExChange the World” took place in Żywa Ziemia (Living Earth) farm in northwest of Poland. This is the first mobility of an Erasmus Plus project aimed at creating sustainable opportunities and concepts in working with young people.

Present were participants from multiple EU and partner countries, staff and facilitators as well as guests of the farm.

The setting was very appropriate for the topic, being in the middle of nature, fully environmentally friendly. The activities were structured in such a way as to provide the opportunity to learn, share and also take care of the environment. Everything from the workshops to the vegan/veggie food to the accommodation (bungalows, shared rooms, outdoor toilet, common dining hall, garden, sheds even a yurt) was designed to allow participants to experience an alternative way of living. The free time provided us with the tools to explore, share and debate with each other in a playful way.

We were brought into the future we want by imagining a better world, a world we can create. We started to plan towards a community of practice. Here we made our own political system, our own rules and we shared examples of good practices from back home. There was a nice mix of experiences from the participants.

At the farm you could meet everyone from youth workers and project coordinators (such as myself), to teachers, to youth leaders, to activists, to volunteers and young entrepreneurs. Age, ethnicity and background didn’t matter, we were all together around the bonfire, late into the night.

For me it was a chance to re-connect with nature, to meet awesome people who inspire me by their actions. But also to reflect on my past and present (for my future). I participated in the creation of the informal community, and for sure I will remember with happiness the hands on workshops I attended.

Such as the introduction to beekeeping with Kasia, the owner of the farm, the ice water dip and wild fire making with Lia, the painting and super practical natural cosmetics workshop with Katarzyna. I’ve also learned about astrology, herbalism, farm animals and world traveling for free. And about turning dreams into reality.

I realized we often take our world, family and friends for granted. We often forget to look past and right or left because we are always looking forward. And we very rarely stop to think about our well-being and our connection to the natural world.  It was great to be reminded about the roles we have in influencing each others lives. And in shaping our future.

Even if the traveling to get there was my record in terms of length, it was worth it! Along the way I re-met many friends and learned a great deal of things. The second part of this mobility will take place in November this year. I am already looking forward to it!

In the end we did manage to think about our future, and to build a community. But we have done so much more – we build trust for a better tomorrow.

Thank you guys for everything!