New activities: Jeseň // Nové aktivity: Jeseň

Coming from a different part of Europe and not knowing the language of your future country, undertaking activities can sometimes be a dreadful task, especially when you are to develop them on your own. This, however, is one of the several challenges and valuable experiences that EVS offers. 

If I am absolutely honest, the first time that my colleague happily proposed to work with elder people I did not see much future in it. Many negative thoughts came to my mind: how am I going to communicate with them? what could I possibly offer to them? are they going to accept the help of a foreigner/stranger? Nonetheless, I tried to set aside these considerations and I accepted. After all, this year is an endless opportunity to try new things -I said to myself- and, who knows, I might be surprised.

http://powlesslaw.com/wp-content/ uploads/2010/11/elderlyhands-licensed1.jpg

http://powlesslaw.com/wp-content/
uploads/2010/11/elderlyhands-licensed1.jpg

And this is exactly what happened. After approximately two months of cooperating with an Elder home located in Fončorda, I am extremely greatful of having taken this chance. The staff, as well as the clients in there, are one of the sweetest and most amiable people I have encountered in Slovakia so far. Either spending time with them, helping the nurses in their daily routine or just having a walk under the sun are activities in which we feel appreciated and useful (even if in some cases teaching us to do something seems to take up their time instead of relieving them from work).

Working with elder people, also, is proving a source of knowledge and responsabilities. With this activity I have realised more clearly how important is the non-verbal communication and how valuable to some people is to be accompanied. Being young makes you unaware of certain things and one might fall in the mistake of taking for granted priviledges that we are going to treassure only for a limited period of time.

Our EVS has always been more focused on youth, languages or people with disabilities. We have tried to get in contact with other cultures, races or handicapped people. However, until now, we never tried the confrontation between ages.  Sometimes it might be hard, I will not deny it, or even extremely sad but once you overcome these feelings, you are able to appreciate how elder people esteem little actions which youngsters usually forget about: a smile, a caress, a silent company or a hand to hold.

Irene.

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Keď pochádzate z inej krajiny a nerozprávate miestnym jazykom, niektoré aktivity môžu byť počas dobrovoľníckej služby tvrdým orieškom. Zvlášť, ak ich máte na starosti sami. Zároveň však predstavujú výzvy, vďaka ktorým získate hodnotné skúsenosti.

Ak mám byť úprimná, keď mi kolegyňa prvýkrát nadšene ponúkla prácu so starými ľuďmi, nedávala som tomu veľkú šancu. Na um mi zišlo mnoho negatívnych myšlienok: Ako budem s nimi komunikovať? Čo im tak môžem ponúknuť? Príjmu pomoc od cudzinky? Úvahy však išli bokom a návrh som napokon prijala. Koniec koncov, tento rok je plný možností vyskúšať nové veci, a tak som si povedala: „Ktovie, možno budem prekvapená.“

Presne tak sa aj stalo. Po zhruba dvoch mesiacoch spolupráce v domove dôchodcov v mestskej časti Fončorda som za túto príležitosť neskutočne vďačná. Zamestnanci, ako aj klienti sú tí najzlatší a najmilší ľudia, akých som zatiaľ na Slovensku stretla. Trávime s nimi čas, zamestnancom pomáhame s každodennými povinnosťami alebo ideme s klientmi na prechádzku. Pri týchto aktivitách sa cítime vďačné a nápomocné (aj napriek tomu, že niekedy zamestnancom robotu skôr sťažujeme ako uľahčujeme).

Pri práci so starými ľuďmi sa preukazujú aj vedomosti a zodpovednosť. Viac som si uvedomila, aká dôležitá je neverbálna komunikácia a aké hodnotné je pre ľudí, keď im niekto robí spoločnosť. Keď sme mladí, niektoré veci si neuvedomujeme. Ľahko robíme chybu v tom, že berieme ako samozrejmosť privilégiá, ktoré sú nám dané len na istý čas.

V EDS väčšinou pracujeme s mládežou, jazykmi a ľuďmi s postihnutím. Snažíme sa dostať do kontaktu s inými kultúrami, rasami a hendikepovanými. Až doteraz sme však nikdy neskúsili nadviazať spoluprácu medzi generáciami. Nepopieram, niekedy je to ťažké alebo veľmi smutné. No hneď, ako tieto pocity prekonáte, začnete si vážiť, že starí ľudia oceňujú malé skutky, na ktoré mladí zväčša zabúdajú: úsmev, pohladenie, tichá spoločnosť alebo pomocná ruka.

Irene.

Preklad: Jana Jašková, Stanislava Dengová

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2 thoughts on “New activities: Jeseň // Nové aktivity: Jeseň

  1. Irene, thanx a lot for your nice post. I am really glad that you overcame your initial hesitation and decided to join this activity, which obviously gives a lot to both of you and even more to the clients you work with. I am also glad that we found resources in our centre to help you towards this activity. It might seem from what you wrote that it was your obligation to do this activity and to develop it on your own, which definitely was not like that. I think it is also important to explain that EVS volunteers should not be left alone with their activities, especially with such ones which require high level of personal responsibility or specific skills. Therefore I need to point out that it was our director and afterwards our deputy and then myself looking for contacts and making many calls and some negotiations to find a suitable place and conditions for your initiative. I am also very glad that I personally met with managers of the two chosen facilities to to introduce you to them and properly in personal explain to them what you want and how you wish to be helpful. And I am indeed very glad that you really grasped what was enabled to you and used this opportunity for the deep benefit of everyone involved. Thank you for that.

  2. Andy, Thank you for your nice comment 🙂 I was obviously talking from the point of view of the volunteer’s experience (which is a thing I am aware of firsthand!) and I did not relate any of my sentences to the previous arranges that the organization made to offer us this great opportunity. When I mentioned in the beggining that we undertake this activity on our own, of course I didn’t mean that we looked for the specific organization ourselves (which is impossible) but rather, that when we are there and work and share time with them, no one from the organization is with us. I thought that would be a very important point to mention for future volunteers! But thank you very much for explaining how you contributed to this also.

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