Icelandic adventure


Icelandic adventure.

During 7 months our Volunteer – Marks Badalans participated in EVS project in Iceland, which was financially supported by Program “Youth in Action”. The European Voluntary Service enables young people to carry out voluntary service for up to 12 months in a country other than their country of residence. It fosters solidarity among young people and is a true “learning service”. Beyond benefiting local communities, volunteers learn new skills and languages, and discover other cultures. Non-formal learning principles and practice are reflected throughout the project.

Returning back to Latvia Mark is sharing his impressions and experience after his EVS in Iceland.

323_min226_minIceland is the land where fire meets ice, country where you can find hot springs, volcanoes, geysers and glaciers. Place where people pacifically live side by side with elves and trolls. I chose Iceland exactly because of that and after 7 months of my EVS I experienced it all.

I was working with “SEEDS”, it is a volunteer organization designed to promote intercultural understanding, environmental protection and awareness through work on environmental, social and cultural projects. My position was named “work camp leader” and the main tasks were:

212_min– Leading international workcamps: coordinating the group of volunteers in the organization of the work and the free time activities as well as managing the group dynamics.

– Writing a report and evaluating the projects

– Acting as a link between the international volunteers and the national project hosts

– Budgeting the food and other costs of the volunteers

Seems really serious and important tasks, which of course were not easy, but nonetheless it was a great chance to explore the country and spend a great time with so many different people, being in really spectacular places. I chose this EVS project because of just one line in the description: each SEEDS volunteer should bring a sleeping bag. So during the all project I was leading 10 work camps, which were placed in different places in all around the Iceland.

18_minDuring all these time I met a lot of new people, imagine if every two weeks I had a new group and new hosts. After this EVS my Facebook account really grew up. The groups what I was working with were different, sometimes really small (like 4 people), sometimes quite big (like 20 people), one group can be really active and positive; another can be quiet, but nice. All groups were really multicultural, so sometimes was hard, but also interesting, to work and live with the people, where everyone comes from different countries and have totally different cultures. And there was one rule among all the leaders – in every group, for sure, there will be one strange volunteer!

Now a bit about the places where I have been and worked, that we have been done. So we worked in really different places like farms, gardens, festivals, national parks and nature zones. My first work camp was a Viking festival in Hafnafjordur, where we met a lot of Icelandic Vikings and I was helping with festival organizing. To be honest it was a really hard work camp for me, because of many reasons, but after that one I was ready for everything! In every work camp we had different tasks, which was depending of the place, so for example in the national parks we were building touristic trails, in the farms we were working with animals, building fences and making the construction works. When work was really hard and demanding, we were finding rest and motivation in the free time activities.

272_minWe can divide Iceland in 6 parts; it is East, West, South, North, Highlands and West fjords. Each place is a bit different so for example in the South part mostly are glaciers, black sand beaches, volcanoes and lava fields; in the North there are a lot of waterfalls, mountains and snow; West is the land of sagas; West fjords, a lot of people think, that it is the most beautiful place in Iceland; Highlands is a really dangerous area with a lot of hot springs; East, I never been there, but I know that here is the biggest forest in Iceland. All these places, we were discovering with volunteers during our free time using cars, boats and horses. Sometimes we went to whale watching, fishing or just hiking somewhere, to enjoy the beautiful nature which is really clean and natural.

For sure EVS in Iceland was one of the greatest times in my life, I will never forget it, and of course I hope to visit it again, maybe even to lead one more work camp there. That what is written here is just a small shadow of that I really experienced and I hope that in future, I will have the chance to share my impressions in a more complete way.

Marks Badalans

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