Artur took part in the short term EVS project “Rural Europe”, organised by Associazione Kora in Fattoria Scuola “La Buona Terra”, Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy, from 20 November to 20 December 2017. The project involved 12 volunteers from Estonia, France and Greece to support the farm in environmental and agricultural activities.
This is his story!
*Epic music* / [Deep movie trailer narrator voice]:
“Artur was a 22 year old young man, studying at university. One day he realised, the world is not just Estonia, the country he had spent most of his life in, so he decided to travel, see the world, experience new things. Not wanting to waste money he did not have, and after hours of searching the web, our hero of the story found what he was looking for: a most-expenses-paid voluntary project taking place in exotic Italy. Without hesitation, he sent the e-mail “I WANT IN” (of course using language that was more formal). And in he was.” *Epic music stops*
I packed my bags and before I knew it (in a non-literal sense – I was sober and aware of my deeds) I was on a plane, on my way to Italy. It was the first time I was travelling alone, so the fear of messing something up was mixed with excitement, but I knew I had made the right choice as soon as my sneakers touched the airfield of Florence.
I loved the project from day one, never regretting becoming a volunteer. Before going to work, I was worried that I would be working 9 hours 5 days a week doing something menial. In reality, every day was different – some days were more difficult than others, but every day was interesting. At first we picked olives, which is not as easy as it sounds, especially when someone is throwing olives at you or telling jokes that make you laugh so hard you lose balance and drop the olives you were carrying. Easy or hard – it was always fun.
Later we did some work around the farm, I got experience using the chainsaw, painting, digging with a pickaxe (Minecraft makes it look easy – it’s not), and making sausages – something I will never forget, since I took part in every part of the process, including killing the pig. Farm work made me stronger, both mentally and physically.
We had weekends to ourselves, so we could move freely around Italy, which gave us a great opportunity to visit beautiful cities, scenic mountain routes and thick forests. I enjoyed Italian architecture as much as I enjoyed the jungle-like forest just meters away from our farm, where we lived all together like a big happy family. During our free time, we also played board games, had karaoke nights and introduced our culture to others, since we had volunteers from many different countries.
Food we had to make for ourselves, working in shifts – every day 2 or 3 people were in the kitchen, cooking for others, which took all day, since there were 17 of us.
I think I got along with everyone, the people there were very friendly and their company always kept a smile on my face. I even liked sleeping in the same room with other people, because waking up in the morning is so much easier when your roommate is dancing around the room to the song “Can’t touch this”.
I was very happy during the project, but towards the end, reality kicked in. I loved the people there, one month was enough to get attached and I knew that letting go would be the hardest part of the project. The best part was the people.
When my feet touched the soil of my homeland, I worked hard to keep back a tear, telling myself that life away from volunteering and volunteers can also be fun. The wetness of my eyes made me realise why they call it volunTEARing – it hurts when you stop. Still, I had 4000 pictures to remember one of the best months of my life – La Buona Terra and the great people there!
In addition to being an enthusiastic volunteer and an impressive rock/metal karaoke singer, Artur is also a great photographer: check some other pictures he took during this project!
You can find Artur’s photography page at this link: https://www.facebook.com/Estonian-Stalker-1044965095585501/