Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My favourite place on Earth: Locronan

Locronan is a tiny village located in the most western area of France, the department Finistère of Bretagne. It is famous for its architectural treasures and monuments such as the Saint-Ronan church, and has been granted the label of the most beautiful villages in France.

All of its electrical and telephone cables are invisible for they are buried in the ground, and with the paved streets and the granite houses you can feel like you are back in the Middle Ages. It is allowed to drive inside the village but most visitors park their cars at the entrance, where there's a big parking lot in a grass field, so you can enjoy walking around among the hydrangea without seeing any other vehicle than the cart dragged by a huge horse around town for the kids.

Apart from the church and its square you should see the chapel Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle,
the museum of art and history, or even go outside the village and climb up Menez Lokorn,
Locronan's (tiny) mountain, to enjoy the view of the Atlantic ocean. When you feel hungry you can
stop at any of the restaurants and creperies to try the traditionnal crêpes of Bretagne. Most of them
are in the main square but my favourite one is behind the church, it opens at 12.00 precisely and
you will be warmly welcomed in by Monsieur before enjoying the food prepared by Madame.

I have been going to this village with my family since I was a little kid, to have a nice dinner after a
long day at the beach or just to walk around on a rainy day (and we have a lot of them in this area),
and to me it is a peaceful, magical and magnificient place completely out of time and I hope that if you ever go there it will enchant you as it enchants me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Street festival lets start!!

The street Festival will start in two month, we are already prepare for this big event. Graffiti artists, musicians and a lot of surprise will do an amazing event. 
Save the date and get ready: 29-30-31 july 2016.
D -67

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Greek adventure : boat, friends, fun and… STORM

The Friday 29 of April start the easter week end in Kalamata. Day off oblige we decided to organize a trip. Some day before Bojana proposed a boat trip for go to Oitylo. With the others volunteers. We was of course very exciting by this trip because common to do boat in Greece is a dream come true when you come from an other countrie. 
We left of Kalamata around 8 o’clock the morning, the weather was amazing and we start to enjoy the moment together and have fun.
On my own, I didn’t ate before leave and even if I never been sick on a boat, I started to be a little dizzy and I took one pils. The consequences was to sleep almost immediatly after.  But whatever the weather was so good, it was not a problem to sleep outside and enjoy the sun. When I woke up after this nap the most of the people was talking or resting. And I started to talk with some volunteers but I think the pills was very strong because I was really tyred. So I decide to take some rest and sun at the front of the boat inside of the life boat because with the lifebuoy it was very confortable.
But sometimes later the weather started to change. The blue sky became cloudy and grey, a big wind started and the sail was open…
Conséquences : I was alone in the front of the boat, the sailors rocked a lot the waves came in my face, I was totaly wet and I started to have very cold.
It was of course very scary. But at the same moment it was like to go for a ride on the merry-go-round and it was funny with of course a big shot of adrenaline. But  anyway I was in the life boat maybe the most seruty place in the boat and just watch behind me and see Magda laughing beause I was totaly wet and she told me my face was amazing : A mix between laugh and scared maked me don’t worried.

Finaly the weather became again sunny and I had the possiblity to come back inside of the boat and drink some bear and ouzo and laughing about this big adventure. Then we had the opportunity to swim in the sea, to stop the boat for go to eat something. At the end of the day we watched the sunset and just we enjoy this amazing moment to be together on a sailor in Greece. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Painting at Agroktima Marini

Agroktima Marini is a cultural and agricultural organisation where some of us went for 3 days to help them prepare their big opening. The place seems lost in the mountains, like a little paradise full of treehouses, where you can admire the sunset on the sea only hearing dogs and ducks from what seems to be an ancient amphitheatre but that was actually built 5 years ago. In exchange for some painting and cleaning, we got to stay there for 2 nights with our meals prepared in a wood oven by our host Sotiris, who's an amazing cook, and enjoy the peace and quiet. Even if to this day we still find traces of paint on our skin or in our hair that we didn't see before, this was an awesome experience.

 by Anna Jovelet

The benefits of volunteerism

For some people volunteerism might seem to be a total waste of time. The time that volunteers spend on helping others, some would rather use to either earn money or for their own pleasures. However, it is not true that we don’t get any profits from acting altruistically. It is now a well-established, research-based knowledge, that volunteerism brings good effects not only to our minds, but also to our bodies.

Firstly, let’s talk about the obvious benefits of volunteering, namely – mental health and emotion-related profits. Studies have shown, that volunteerism is responsible for the feeling of social connectedness, helps fight a feeling of loneliness and even depression. It increases self-confidence and gives a sense of purpose in life. It can protect a person from isolation and be a source of a great life satisfaction. Volunteers themselves report higher levels of happiness, life-satisfaction, self-esteem, a sense of control over their life, and improved physical health.

Some people might find it surprising that volunteerism was also found to be connected with physical health. Those who volunteer when they are younger are less like likely to come down with illnesses when they are older, which makes volunteering a good way to prevent poor health in the future. Studies show also that people suffering from chronic illnesses receive higher benefits from their medical treatment when at the same time they are volunteering. One of the most recent longitudinal studies showed that people over 50 years of age who were also volunteers, were less likely to develop high blood pressure than people who weren’t volunteering (Sneed & Cohen, 2013). However, in this case it can’t be proven that there wasn’t another factor responsible for these results (volunteers were controlled for age, sex, race, education, baseline blood pressure and major chronic illnesses, but they also might have been doing other things lowering blood pressure, like eating healthier than non-volunteers). The authors’ guess is that this connection is caused by increased physical activity and stress reduction, which result from volunteering (ibid.). There is some evidence, that older volunteers can benefit more from volunteering, probably because it increases their physical and social activity and serves as a purpose in life in a hard time of changes of social roles. Another thing is that most studies show that positive health outcomes occur only when a considerable amount of time is devoted to volunteering (at least 100 hours per year). However, too much volunteering might become a burden that could lead to worse health outcomes. It has also been shown, that health profits can be derived from volunteering only as long as it is being done for altruistic reasons, and not for personal gain (Konrath, Fuhrel-Forbis, Lou, Brown, 2012).

There are also other dimensions in which volunteering serves us. It can have a great impact on our skills, making us more desirable on the labour market. Depending on the type of activity we take up, we can gain many new abilities or improve old ones. Particular job skills as well as wholesome career experience can make us stand out during our next job search – it might be that one thing that will distinguish us from other candidates and therefore win us a job. On top of that, volunteering can widen our social circles and improve our social skills. It is also an easy, entertaining way to explore our passions and interests.

A thorough review of 40 research papers conducted in 2013 gave solid evidence for connection of volunteerism with longer lifespan (by 22%), lower levels of depression, higher life satisfaction and enhanced well-being among volunteers in comparison to non-volunteers (Jenkinson et al., 2013). The conclusion is very simple and worth remembering: it’s good to be good.

Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy Development (2007). The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, Washington, DC.

Jenkinson, C.E., Dickens, A.P., Jones, K., Thompson-Coon, J., Taylor, R.S., Rogers, M., Bambra, C.L., Lang, I., Richards, S.H. (2013). Is volunteering a public health intervention? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the health and survival of volunteers, BMC Public Health.

Konrath, S., Fuhrel-Forbis, A., Lou, A., Brown, S. (2012). Motives for volunteering are associated with mortality risk in older adults, Health Psychology, 31(1), 87-96.

Sneed, R. S., Cohen, S. (2013).  A prospective study of volunteerism and hypertension risk in older adults, Psychology and Aging,  28(2), 578-586.

By Magda Gucman