Olá a todos!
After long long time, finally I went to the midterm training took place in Braga between the dates of 23-26 of October. The city is close to the second biggest city of Portugal, Porto. From Lisbon it takes about 4 hours by bus. Train is another option and takes you there in shorter time. Since there was no direct train to there at the times I could take, I did not want to stop somewhere and take another train, and bus was my choice.
Before leaving for the training and even on the bus , I was a bit unsure after all that time wanting to go to the arrival training which did not happen and never going to happen after this 🙂 I thought there would be a mindset difference between me and most of other volunteers because of the age gap but even the youngest one kept on the line. Likewise there were people with similar ages with mine that made me happy to met them and understood that I am not that old to be a volunteer :))
The volunteer’s group and the trainers have created a unique connection and the training sessions were so intense in terms of information, knowledge, and the participation. Each of participants shared their stories, experiences and struggles. Even a few times trainers told that we are the worst group from the point of time management because everyone gave all we have, and this was causing the delays and we were not having even the time breaks properly. Otherwise, the group was the best, trainers said 🙂
What I did not expect was the training would be this dense and busy because the volunteers like Jola, Kuba, Gulcan, Sarah who joined before the training were talking about fun and parties 🙂 But we did not even have enough time to chat. Only after the trainings, after the dinners (yes, we had sessions even after the dinners), or on the dining table we had some time to chat to get to each other. However, after dinners we were feeling so tired because our day were starting at around 8:30 for the breakfast, and after breakfast we were going directly to the training room and were spending our whole day in that room except around 15-20 minutes to go our room to lie down or meet our other needs like taking shower and relieve ourselves. Those who stay around training room or go out for smoking were having some conversations, and get to know others. That´s it..
Oh, wait! we had one free night after dinner (around 9 p.m.) that some have little time to chat and grow the connection. At that night, me and three others went out and something happened that I did not expect. It was a really good surprise to me and to my roommate as well. We had a chance to see Real Madrid football club players closer than ever for our lives. I will write about later since Real Madrid is my second favorite team 🙂
In the trainings, they asked us to present our organization, our project and our struggles in different sessions. I think I did present well enough that a few volunteers and one trainer wanted to have contact for possible collaborations. About the struggles, I have listened many terrible situations caused by their flatmates and also by the organizations. When they ask my organization, I said this is my third time and if people were not good enough, I would not come for the last time. The volunteers must be the center of these ESC projects, not the organizations. As much as volunteers have responsibilities, the organizations have also. But from the stories, those organizations should not be allowed to take part in the projects. If they are, they have to provide a healthy and safe environment in and out of the office activities and of course at home. They protect these young people even from each other.
So as we came to the end of the trainings and say “até próxima” to others, I came to the end of my article as well. 🙂
To make reflection in a sentence, I can just say it was a great opportunity having the experience and met many nice people from many other countries.
(Published on 07.11.2023)