Exchanges throughout Western Balkans are always a challenge; oh the reasons are uncountable, first because of the energy they have when they come together, oh sometimes is way too much but still adorable. So we started this exchange founded by ROUTEWB6 and RYCO at 29 November that was the arrival day, the big day when everything am going to tell started, hope you will enjoy though!
First team who arrived was the Albanian team, they arrived really early like 7a.m but somehow to arrive in the workshops were always stuck in stairs, than the first half of Montenegrins came Zerina and Lejla with the biggest luggage I had ever seen, and as they told me one of the heaviest as well, she brought lots of fun to the group, let´s just stick with that! Than the second part of Montenegrins, and in the end two adorable girls from North Macedonia. We are so sorry we missed Bosnians.
So the volunteering was two weeks long and they had a lot to do, to get to know each other, to bond with each-other, to stay and work together and the most difficult of all they had to live all together in this cute hostel in city center called “Hostel Terasa”. But they managed to do all these without a scratch, and they say Western Balkans are problematic countries/people, we are pure love, that´s what we are!
So there were quite a few fun things, like a scavenger hunt so to get to know the city, and his hidden jewels, such as cultural stations, they got to volunteer for the 5-th December, a concert, expand knowledge in volunteerism, human rights, storytelling, shape-shifting narratives and media literacy and more importantly they got to experience first-handed: what does it mean to volunteer for good causes.
The exchange took place in Novi Sad from 29 November till 15 of December; yeah I know what you are wondering that´s a lot of time? What did you do all that time? I will till you- I mean not everything, first because I do not know everything, and second what happened in Novi Sad stays in Novi Sad…
Well we worked with a great artist Dejan Jankov, who works with metal and builds bees, interesting huh? We participated with ideas for another mural painted by two talented Albanian painters who painted this grown women divided by a rose her inner child and up a cloud full of symbols, some of them were our ideas! We went to a cultural concert when our coordinator Martina Hudak was part of a chorus, to another concert with rock orchestra, I know if you say rock orchestra, crazy or extravaganza you directly think WB6, it was a great concert though, we planted tree, we planted the future, and did this big event at 5-December for volunteering day, we had a workshop for the Aids/Hiv from Jazas (a Ngo that works in sexual education and prevention of STD), a movie night for the international day of the people with disabilities and that´s it, formally.
But what else did we do? It couldn´t miss an intercultural night, some traditional dances, traditional food and well after that we went out, Novi Sad is a great place to do that, oh and trust me these exchange volunteers knew how to put in good use that information, we went in the Christmas village, in Petrovradim castle, visited the building of the European culture 2022, cultural stations, a play and played and partied a lot in our cute hostel!
We had a good group of people that completed each other in the best way. Lots of things happened during two weeks, even small fights, but could we live without a bit of drama? But most importantly they had each other, they got through together from everything in this experience, each one of them gave a color, a unique approach to this project, to this exchange of hearts, feelings, emotions, experiences, memories, photos, friendship and much more…
A lot of things didn’t t went as they were supposed to but it is good to remain with the good in everything, but I think everyone was happy somehow, I did this last exercise called “BEST MEMORY”, I´ve never seen that flipchart more full, we must have done something right, in that flipchart there were great stories and memories to share, maybe someday, someone will…
Everyone has the right to be free and live like they choose, I think we gave that as well, as described by them, Novi Sad experience was so needed in their life, and it remains a special place and experience in their hearts.
I think I don t exaggerate when I say that that for each one of us that passed time or lived in “Hostel Terasa” a piece of our soul remained in there, in “Hostel Terasa”!