My name is Samira, I have Moroccan nationality but I have been living in Spain since I was 6 years old. I could not get my European Passport yet, that’s why I applied for a Visa to come to Ireland. This process took me 3 months until I arrived to Ireland. Unfortunately, my EVS project was 9 months and not 12 like my colleagues. I feel fortunate because my sending and my host organizations were helping a lot until I got my Visa.
When I arrived to Ireland the first thing that captured my attention was that the people were walking in the street in the same direction that the cars, so was so challenging to walk in the street without collide with people! Maybe the big challenge after my Visa application was to understand the Irish accent. I remember perfectly the first month working in PAKT( Parents And Kids Together) with Elaine, Norma, Brain, and the different clubs with the kids and their families.
During one month I was feeling exhausted during and after work because my brain was trying to understand what was going on. But after same month, and after all the help from my managers, I started to understand what was happening around me. I feel luck also because Brian trusted in me to do mentoring in the program One2One (“link young people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives with a trained mentor who will be available both as support and resource to the young person”) even my English was not so good. This experience helped me a lot to discover my creative side.
Although the tasks were so many and sometimes I felt stressed, I need to recognize that I have learned a lot from all the children and all the managers. Is just in the end when you can see how hard was everything because sometimes you take with you all the problems that a lot of kids had in their home.
The best feeling ever is when, after every club you see the kids enjoying and having fun, how bit by bit they start to know you, to respect you, and to love you. How they became sad when they know that you are going to leave in several months, and the only single thing that you can bring with you when you finish is all the nice memories.
Evs is a great experience that will change something in your side, and will help you to become stronger, more independent and a more confident version of yourself, in other words, be aware that you will not be the same anymore after this year.
TRAINING AND WORK
YMCA offer us three trainings during the year with other volunteers which gave us the opportunity to know other volunteers and their projects, and two more trainings in Cork related to PAKT.
In PAKT I used to work from Monday to Thursday (two clubs in Tallagh, one club in Crumlin, one club in Dublin and one club during the summer in Celbridge). On Fridays and when PAKT was closed, I used to work with babies in the creche, youth work and the cafeteria.
In the end I would like to Thank a lot everybody from YMCA for helping me to grow up and teaching me a lot of things, and of course I thank them for this amazing work that they make for the community.