Accepting departure… as a part of the journey.
“In your life you will meet shooting stars. You will see them, make your wish and see them disappear.” Nahiar Ozar.
This month I had the chance to go to Orahovica, a beautiful town in the northeast of Croatia, for my on-arrival training that the ESC held for long-term volunteers who are living in Croatia. And there I met 18 volunteers from 14 different countries (Egypt, France, Italy, Spain, North Macedonia, Germany, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Austria, and Ukraine). The fun started when we were in the train station running after the next transportation, because of the rail maintenance we had to change the train three times!
I spent six days with the volunteers in the education center where we were learning about the ESC program, our rights and responsibilities, Croatian culture, other cultures and how to deal with culture shock, project management, and more. It was the first time I experienced non-formal education, I always think it is only for children and school students. Thanks to trainers Ms. Suncana Kusturin and Mr. Bojan Marjanovic for the high-quality workshops and activities.
For me, the most valuable thing about volunteers was that everyone was so open to interacting and communicating with others. We made a system that everyone should change his place at the dinner table so that everyone will have the chance to talk with a new person each meal. Through this, I have the chance to know more deeply about them and their passion, hobbies, and volunteering programs. Over a dinner talk I and my friend Lia, who is a theater artist, had an idea to co-design workshops joined with a play for children about the environment.
Of course, we had a lot of fun after the workshops, some days we were playing card games, others we had the chance to hike to the Ružica Castle and enjoy the beautiful view of Orahovica, a small Switzerland as it is called, going to the city center, swimming, and stargazing with the clear sky and minimal light pollution.
At the end of this October, I had to say goodbye to 37 people at once, including my sister whom I had not seen for a year and who came to visit me in Murter, and short-term volunteers whom I worked with for two weeks at the Association. This reminds me of the end of the science fiction movie Arrivals when Dr. Banks has the power to “look into the future” by learning to communicate in the Alien’s language. She chose to allow her beloved daughter to be born even though she knew that her daughter was going to be cruelly taken away from her. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is part of the journey.