The first introduction of the volunteers took place in a big circle in which each person said its name and where he or she was from. Names like Pia, Sebastian or Francesco are quite easy to understand, and I guess also to memorize but if it comes to names like “Garcien” it gets way harder! First of all, French people tend to speak less clear I’d say than in other languages, mumbling away endings and conjugations in their language. When Garcien said his name the general reaction was a raising of the eyebrows and an impulsive movement of the upper body into his direction, reaching with your hand to your ear to make you understand better the said name and accompanied by the question if he could please repeat.
But actually, not even that was really helping and after the third try we just stopped asking and kept on with the next names. The ones who instantly stuck into my head, due to the character I connect with them were Martha, a livable and expressive Spanish girl. Guilia from Italy as well as her friends Iliana and Maria from Cyprus and Greece and last but not least Moritz.
Moritz is actually a really nice person if he speaks in German but as soon as he is speaking English it seems like somebody pressed a button into “mean mode”, making him complain all the time, coming with a certain flair of arrogance because one is not doing what the others are doing because that is embarrassing or to childish or whatever. All by itself this kind of behavior is not always bad, but it is not that we were behaving like 12 years old, more like we just wanted to have some fun and a good time. You will reach this goal by changing your mindset into not taking yourself too important and letting yourself go, we had that once in the beginning but anyway.
As we went to dinner, my attention fell onto somebody else. Her name turned out to be Yolanda, and don’t judge me. Just because everybody said their names 30 minutes ago, does not mean that I instantly remember all of them, especially when you have to focus on names from tons of different nations! Anyway, as we stood in line to get our well-deserved food, she was asking me where I was from, followed by my answer that I’m from Germany. The next answer to that was, quite frank as Germans are, that she is also a fellow citizen of my state and yeah, she could hear that I’m from Germany. It is not, that an accent would be something bad, it is in fact enriching and if you start talking with somebody you instantly have a topic to talk about. BUT I would not say, that telling somebody that he has an accent in the first two seconds of conversation is a really helpful and sympathizing thing. Though what did I care she was really nice, and I did not think too much about it. What is amazing is her talent for drawing, like guys that girl is amazing at what she is doing.
The best thing about this training is the evening when you are allowed to do whatever you want, as long as you are more or less fit enough on the next day to participate in the program. Next to Agrikola is a small bar where you can buy cheap beer and food like burgers and other fast food. This place eventually became our second home during this week, playing games, drinking together and having interesting talks about all kind of stuff which might be to intense to discuss right now. One of the most eager participants in those conversations has been Amanda. Beautiful hair and an ever-happy expression on her face made her a much-liked part of the group. I have to admit that we had actually some really neat moments in that place, protected from the rain and the cold fall weather which made it fairly unpleasant to be outside for to long.
Ans guess what happens, when you are a group of more than 20 people, already 2 arrive being sick and the weather around you is more or less supporting your body to stay healthy? Yes you get sick. Usually I’m that kind of person who never gets sick. I am running around in sweater 90 percent of the year, am pretty much resistant to cold and I think it comes from that toughness against cold weather and the fact that my parents probably fed us with dirt when me and my five brothers were children, that I can say that my immune system is pretty well developed and strong. But during and after this training? I think everybody had a cold or even more with on exclusion. My precious Pia. Intolerant against Fructose, Lactose and I guess food in general but a cold?! Not for her….
Text by Sebastian, a volunteer from Germany, participant of the project “reACTogether” but also the support of the project “Mobility for Solidarity”.
The project “reACTogether” is organised within the framework of the European Solidarity Corps and financed by European Commission.