The Promise I Made To Myself; Have a Full Day Every Day!
Hello everyone, I’m Furkan. In this article, I will tell you about the 2 months I spent in Tunisia, where I had perhaps the most important experiences of my life, and my adventure with it. With the introduction of Covid-19, which collapsed to the whole world like a horror movie and whose reality we are still discussing even today, and the measures we take against it, our entire active life, while has been restricted, I came across this project while surfing the internet on one of the days when it was normal to lock ourselves up at home. When I read the news on the internet, I saw that 4 Turkish volunteers would be selected for a 2-month youth project in Tunisia. At that moment, this project was like a hope to hold on to life for me because in these days when we were trapped, I felt that I was slowing down and rusting. Of course, I immediately applied and I was confident that hundreds of young people who feel like me will apply to this project, trying not to despair, I waited for the result to be announced. A few days later, when I received an e-mail notification on my phone, how could I have known that this notification would be different from the hundreds that come every day and that it could herald a big change for me in 2020. After I enthusiastically prepared the necessary documents and fulfilled the procedure, I found myself in Tunisia on April 4, in the city where the project would take place. At the airport, the first thing I thought of when I got off the plane was that I really did. I was really here and there was a huge 2 months waiting for me. I promised myself from day one that I would do my best to make every day a fulfilling one for me. Tunisia was my second African country experience, I can say that I was familiar with the climate, geography and culture, so I adapted more easily than others. This fast orientation process also allowed me to make a quick start to the project activities. On April 4, the ESC project, which will take a total of two months for us, officially started. 20 young volunteers aged between 18-30, from different parts of the world, with different cultural backgrounds, participated in the project. The task of these 20 volunteers, including myself, was to fulfill the tasks given by our project coordinator for the purpose of the project, to get to know Tunisia in every sense, and to develop ourselves and our perspective in this international environment we created as participants. As the project is a volunteer project and not for profit, our target group in our assignments was usually socially disadvantaged individuals, social welfare organizations and youth centers. There have been many activities that we have organized and conducted by targeting these groups. I can say that we experienced many things both while organizing and conducting these events, and we both had a lot of fun and learned while trying to cope with them. If I were to share some of these activities with you;
In kindergarten, we used to meet with the children two days a week, play games with them and teach them English. All these activities and spending time with the kids really helped us see a kid’s perspective on life. I was very impressed by the perspectives of these children, who, in our opinion, are from a different country and a different culture. In this process, I had the opportunity to see both the common aspects of being a child all over the world and all the differences that cultures brought to us. Sometimes things that are very superficial, that everyone thinks are simple, but that we have never experienced, come up and we realize that we do not know them only in this first experience. Kindergarten was one of them. The most important thing I learned from the children was that they valued people as human beings, they judged people not by their religion, language, race or color, but by your respect and love for them. For me, it was a philosophy of life in and of itself.
Wall Painting Activity
Another activity we did during the project was painting the walls of the Akouda Youth Center in Sousa. As such places usually provide free services to young people and their income is limited, we took on the task of painting the walls as volunteers. We would come here on certain days of the week and knit the abstract flow of our imagination on the wall, stitch by stitch. The things we were working on were not just our dreams, but our longings, anger, stresses, we were drawing things that didn’t fit inside of us. In fact, each of us, coming from 20 different countries, was benefiting from the unifying power of art and painting. As 20 different young people coming from different parts of the world to a youth center in Tunisia after completing the work we did in 6 weeks in total, we put our signature on those walls as if to prove that we were there.
Among other activities we did in the project, we used to go to the flower garden twice a week and get tips about natural life from the gardeners there. I think every person should determine as a rule of life to plant and grow at least one sapling in their life. Because we should all be familiar with the life cycle brought by the soil and participate in life with this experience. In this activity, we learned how a plant should be watered, collected and weed free for a healthy growth. At the end of two months, when we got together for the last time in the flower garden, we promised each other to grow at least 5 saplings for the rest of our lives and ended the event. These 2 months we spent were both too long and too short for us. I met people from different socio-economic and educational levels, learned different cultures, different perspectives and a new geography, I left behind a whole 2 months that I had a lot of fun and enjoyed every day. On the last day, I remembered the promise I made to myself on the first day, I was going to spend every day to the fullest and I had. As someone who believes that keeping our promises is very valuable, especially that it is very important to keep our promises to ourselves; I’m glad I dared to apply for this project, I’m glad I made the best use of this opportunity and I’m glad I lived every day to the fullest by keeping my promise. Thanks to ANDER, who provided the support of the organization that sent me this project, activities, events and all this experience for providing me. I would like to thank ASED, my host organization, for hosting us in Tunisia.