Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Meet Sofiene from Tunisia!

Taking a decision to leave everything what you have and take a deep plunge into something unknown is never an easy one. I took such a decision, left my job and decided to take one-in-a- lifetime opportunity to do my EVS in Greece.

My name is Sofiene, I' am 26 and I am from a tiny country in North Africa called Tunisia. I am a photographer, videographer, graphic designer and I am here to share my experience and knowledge as well as expand it and acquire new skills. I'm social, open minded and always curious about different cultures and meeting beautiful people.

Written by
our new volutneer

Meet Mariam from Tunisia!

Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things is the best way to grow, and this is what EVS is all about.

My name is Mariam, I am 24 and I come from Tunisia. Passionate by traveling, arts, adventures as well as meeting new people and discovering new traditions, places and cultures. I decided to leave all of my normal steady life in Tunisia to come seek inspiration and and explore a new way of living in Greece, in the beautiful city of Kalamàta. I would use all of my knowledge and dig even deeper to give the best of me, but also try to learn everything I can from other volunteers, from locals and daily life experience, either languages, dancing, music instrument, sports etc.

Written by
our new volunteer

Why I became a volunteer?

First time I heard about EVS I was 19 years old. I just started my studies, moved to new city and tried to live on my own first time in my life. At some point I was thinking about taking part in EVS but there were many things going on around me, so for few years I forgot about EVS thing. I remembered volunteer service years after. From some time I was stucked in a rut. I changed a job, from one photo agency to another, but still had that feeling that I missed something in my life. I felt that every day resembled preceding one, that I was standing in one place and didn’t know how to move on. I needed a change. Then my friend went to EVS to Portugal and  I started to think again about volunteering. At the beginning these were only timid thoughts, but from day to day I started to think about whole thing in serious. I started to look for projects and then finally I was applying. I was looking for particular projects related with art, and I choose three. From this three projects I decided that KANE is the best option for me and in this way I came to Greece.

But why did I actually want to be a volunteer? Project in which I am taking part is related with my interests. It’s amazing feeling when you can share your passions with others and in the same time meet new people and have fun. People here are a constant source of inspiration for me and volunteering keep me active. For me this is exciting experience, and finally I feel I can really do something both for myself and for others.

Written by

Friday, February 24, 2017

How I feel to go back to Austria?

Soon I will go back to Austria, after one year living in Greece I will return to my home in Austria.
Almost a year ago I came to Kalamata, I worked and lived here for 10 months now and it changed my life. I had many very good moments and a few bad moments during this period, but all in all this was probably the best year of my life so far.
To see how I feel to go back, I have to tell you how I felt when I left to do EVS.

In the beginning of 2016 I had a very rough time I was very unhappy and if I would not have changed my situation I would have become depressed and make big decisions I would regret.
So yes, a year ago I was still in high school and actually I just had to do two more years and I would be finished, but as I told you I was very unhappy and school was the biggest reason for this. So I wanted to change things. It was probably a little bit of an overreaction but I dropped out of school.
Without a plan for the Future and without any good job chances I was feeling worse than before. But then one month after I dropped out I decided to do EVS and at this moment I started to feel a lot better. And after I left my known home and came to Kalamata I felt better and better.
I became very happy here and I got many ideas how I imagine my future.  I have a daily schedule and I don´t have to worry about the next day, I don´t have to find a job or think what I should do.

But now I will go back in less than two months, and I will have to think about all this things.
Yes I will return to my home, and I am very happy to see my friends and all the things I was missing, but on the other hand I will return to my “normal” life where I have to think of all this things, I will have to find a job/school, I will have to find an apartment and also many other stuff which I have to do.

My general feeling is good and I am happy to go home, but I am also a concerned and afraid, because there are so many things I have to think of. I am afraid that if I will be home I will fall back into my old situation. But since I changed a lot during my stay in Kalamata I don´t think this will be the case.

Written by

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Meet Ania from Poland!

KalimeraI am Ania and I come from Poland. I will be working for KAN.E and running photography and ukulele workshops. I studied photography in the Institute of Journalism of the University of Warsaw and worked for press photo agencies when I was living in my country.  I enjoy every form of photography, I use both digital and film camera. I also create my own pinhole cameras. Besides, I am totally addicted to travel.


Monday, February 20, 2017

How is it for you living with so many people?

Living with a lotta people
Today one of my friends asked me, “how is it for you living with so many people?” This is because right now I am currently sharing an apartment with 5 other EVS volunteers.  Which means we are 6 people living, breathing, eating and sleeping together (ok not sleeping together like THAT, but you know what I mean!).

So for me this was an interesting question. It was an interesting question because this is not the first time that I share my home with housemates. Or the second. Or the third. Or the fourth. Or the fifth... Ok you get the picture, I’ve lived in a lot of house-shares!  Since 2007 when I moved out of my mother’s house I have been living independently with friends. It’s now 2017. So that makes 10 years-worth of keys, contracts, dishes and recycling that I’ve experienced. But more importantly its been 10 years - worth of jokes, gossip, commiseration, kitchen dancing and of course tasty shared meals.

How to look cool outside your apartment

Ok, so practically this is not a new experience. What IS a new experience is living with a completely international group of people, with a complete range of ages. In the apartment we have Austria, France, The Netherlands, Spain and the UK represented. We are, 17, 18, 19, 24, 24 and 28 years old. How is it then from my perspective to live together? Here are the main things I’ve observed:

New new new

For all of us this is a new situation. We are living in another country, with total strangers. Our environment is foreign so we have to adjust, to find our way in a fresh place. This has been a real challenge for me because we all come from diverse backgrounds and as a result have diverse perspectives.  I have noticed that there are some ways of living that are different from country to country. For example, from this experience I’ve learnt that Spanish people are fans of staying up late and speaking at high volumes! (Big love to you Ocar ;-) )

And yet we have to find a way to live in cooperation with each other. So I am learning to adapt. I have to open my mind, be sensitive to the culture and habits of others and hope that they will be sensitive to mine.

Age is just a number, right?
Age is just a number, or a state of mind, but sometimes it feels like it’s not! As I mentioned we have a range of ages in the apartment and yes, I’m the 28 year old. Which means that at times I feel like I want to live in a totally different way to my housemates. With up to 11 years between me and my “roomies” it’s no surprise that their ideas and mine about what constitutes a cosy home are not always the same.  I’m learning that when I just want to sit in a calm, clean corner where I can read my book in peace I have to remember that ok, maybe it’s not the same for us all! And ok, maybe I need to relax a little too and enjoy a bit of chaos once in a while.

Stay young and cool by living with teenagers with excellent sweaters!

Different schedules
When you are living as a collective your daily and weekly routines blend together to create a rhythm. The house becomes a living, breathing organism. You learn when is a good time to have a shower, when there will be space in the kitchen to cook, when someone will be there to pour your heart out to and when you can experience that sacred, rare, precious, moment of having the house to yourself (naked dancing here I come!). In out apartment our schedules vary hugely. Some of us start work at 10am, some of us at 4pm in the afternoon and some of us start at 6.30am in the morning! This means  that sometimes I’m going to bed just as someone else is coming home from work. Again it’s about adjusting, understanding and most importantly investing in a decent set of earplugs!

How to make your volunteer room look nice

Written by

Friday, February 17, 2017

First impression!

When I close my eyes and think of Kalamata the first images that come into my memory are the mountains. As the car moved forward I was amazed by the line they drew against the blue sky, like a fortress protecting us. 
In the city, the low houses, the orange trees with their shadows, the cats lazing on the sidewalks and the warm sun reminded me of a long and quiet morning. At the harbor, I realized that this sea does not carry the scent of the Atlantic, but its wave still reminds me of the past, still keep the promises of what is yet to come.
Here I have found welcoming people, with easy and open smiles.
In Kalamata I feel time to be the same as the unhurried time of my childhood memories, when I could lose hours just to find them again at sunset, when it was time to return home.

Written by
our new volunteer!

Meet Joana!

Hello J My name is Joana, I'm 29 years old and I'm from Lisbon, Portugal. I studied fine arts, art education and museology and I just arrived Kalamata for a 12 months EVS project. I've worked for a lot of time in bookshops and I love to read. I like quiet places where I can be in touch with nature. I’m a curious person and I’m always trying to learn new things and find new perspectives. Traveling is one my passions and my day is always better if I have a cup of tea with me.

Celsius degrees

Morning. I'm leaving my cold country to discover another country that seems warmer. -15°C outside, I'm on my way to the airport still not realizing, that for the next year I might won't see this beautiful fluffy snow again.

Plane is going higher and higher above the clouds and I finally see the sun. For the first time in this week. I'm on my way to Kiev. -20°C outside, our plane floating above capital's airport that is not letting us land. Too much snow on the road... we are waiting in the sky while tiny cars will clean the snow.

+20°C inside, I'm at the airport waiting for my flight. This country doesn't want me to leave... Flight delayed because of snow storm. How this fluffy beauty can control everything -- can change plans of so many people, control huge machine.

+22°C inside. I'm finally here, inside the plane. Looks like it now. More than 3 years of applications. 10 deadlines. thousands of emails were sent. thousands with no answer. hundreds of motivation letters had been written. 1 acceptance. fail. another acceptance. fail. 2nd... 3rd acceptance... and fail again. 4rd acceptance. Project is not approved. waiting.. waiting... Finally approved... Visa... applying, long way of collecting documents. And I have it. So long way behind.

And finally now I'm here inside of the plane Kiev-Athens. With no expectations, no fears. What is waiting for me? Who I'll meet on my way? What horizons will appear ahead? I don't want to know now.
-20°C outside. Snowing so much. We can't fly now. We need to wait. To wait...
From the window we can see how small cars with the reservoirs full of defrosting liquid coming close to the plane and starting spray orange and then green liquid on the plane.

+15°C outside. Athens. Sun. 2,5 hours flight and we land on another planet. With no snow storms, with no cold. Only sun and people with smile on their faces. Kalimera, beautiful Greece!

Written by
our new volunteer!

Meet Yana!
I am Yana from Ukraine. For 5 years I was studying architecture in university and I fond of everything about it as well as about natural building. Before coming here I was working as a project coordinator of the workcamps and as freelance graphic designer for different social festivals and non-governmental organizations. The last 4 years I've been travelling to different places in Europe such as eco-villages and rural areas helping people and promoting volunteering for peace. All kind of arts, nature, voluntarism, and travel -- my biggest passions in life.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My favorite place in Kalamata

Sunday was an incredible day for me, one of the best in Kalamata! I decided to spend the day outside with my friends, looking for new palaces in the city. We saw beautiful views, but above it all we spent lovely day with wonderful people! I meet again with my great friend, who is for me like a part of my family – I called her my Turkish mother, Nurgul. We were having lunch at A Bakery shop and after a long walk and photo session, Nurgul invited us to dinner at a restaurant in the center of Kalamata. It was an incredible, full of laughter day.

Written by

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons

What is a role playing game?

A role playing game is very much alike it's video game counter part : it's a game where the choices of the player matters for the history. Each players (usually no more than 6 players for a group) will create at the begining of the game a character with special abilities, such as a monk with healing powers, a thief with a lot of dexterity, a dwarf warrior with a huge hammer ect... Once all the characters are ready we can start the game, meaning that from there the players have to impersonate their character by any means necessary (but usually is by verbal impersonation). It's really important and it's the funniest part of the game ! Players will direct every action of their characters and every interaction with other characters in the game. In this moment we can say that the players created a group of adventurers !
It's important to know that the players are guided through the story by the Dungeon Master, he is the one who tell the story and the highiest autority during the game. He will play the role of every person in the game which is not a player character, friend or foe.

You only need a few things to play :
-A sheet of paper per player,
-Dices, (a lot)
-A bunch of friend,
-A more sadistic and smart friend (the Dungeon Master)
-A rule book,
-A Character sheet for everyone.

 And more specificaly, what's Dungeons & Dragon?

The most important thing to know is that among the RPG players, Dungeons & Dragon is considered as the first role playing game. He is really old and a lot of new edition had come up to improve it, making it better and better.
Now to the interessing part : Yes, the story is about Dungeons and there is also some dragons, but mainely what we can say is that the story is set in a medieval fantastic world called Faerûn where magic but also monsters exists !

Now, a story, a good story if I might say, a story of what happened to us...

First a small introduction to our lovely characters : 

Paula Marco. A gnome. A monk. Almost a ninja. She lived in the forest before we met and was trained by one of the best Monk. Unfortunately, he died and now she is training with the other apprentices. She can talk to small animals. Small, dangerous and sarcastic. 

Riniya Finnwen. An half elf. A ranger. She lived in the lovely village of Greenest with her dad before our journey together. She loves to gather herbs for her dad, the nature and the animals. #Hippie
Deadly in long range combat, a bit squishy, clever and (too) nice. 

Sely Von Luma. Human? A thief.  She lived in a small village with her mother but when her best friend disapered she went after him. On her way she met Keiron and since then, they are always together. She found hilarious that he is a priest of the goddess of good and healing (Mishakal).
Look cute and innocent, sassy, very very handy. Favorite sentence : "You're nice, stupidely nice."

Keiron Drangetha. Tiefling. A priest. 
Keiron had a difficult life before all this he almost never talk about his past. He is a priest of  Mishakal, which is weird for his race. He met Sely while she tried to steal some things and they both never left each other. He always try to stop Sely from stealing or reason with her. Being a tiefling and a priest doesn't make him a popular person... 
Devilishly handsome, very nice and caring, too brave for his own sake. 

Episode one : How we met each other. #thatwasrandom 

After a small altercation with the city guards of El Turel, because Sely stole keys and money from a guard, Sely and Keiron flew toward Greenest, a quiet place, they heard, to lay low. Meanwhile, Riniya and Paula met in the forest. Paula had the mission of meeting with Greenest city council to deliver bad news : the city was about to get attacked ! Both teams when then in the direction of Greenest one team rushing like hell, the other more relaxed. At some point both teams run into each other, litteraly. After the words "the city is going to be attacked" Keiron took upon himself to save the inhabitants while Sely rolled her eyes. Paula was also quite skeptical, she just wanted to go back home as soon as possible not hang out. After a big debate and a new found friendship between Riniya and Keiron, and mostly a lot of annoyment for Paula and Sely, everyone rushed to the city but suddently in the sky a dragon appeared, flying over to the city. The group hide the best they could but the creature saw them, flying even faster to the city. 
When the group arrived, the city was on fire and noise of battle were every where. Luckyly, Riniya knew the city very well so they decided to go to the safety of the main Keep. On their way to the main Keep, and hopefully survivors, they fought kobolts and some weird lizards like creatures. The fights were intenses but they managed to advance near the Keep. Then when a familly was in danger, they managed to protect them and they could reach the Keep safely. The husband was fortunately a lieutenant of Greenest's militia and they entered the keep without too much problems. (Even though the appearance of Kairon never helped people to trust them.) 
They were quickly directed to the council of the city, who gave them different missions. The city was under siege and they could not last forever... 

Next episode : How we saved the day !