I love bougatsa. For those who doesn’t know, it’s a type of Greek pastry, made with layers of filo, and filled with cream or other things. I don’t know which other things because I like the one with cream, the sweet one. Also, you can ask to have sugar and cinnamon on the top… Amazing. In Greece, Serres, where I did my volunteering, it’s like the “house of bougatsa”, and, I can assure, bougatsas there are great.
I like the idea of bougatsa: tasty pastry, you can have it for breakfast, lunch or even dinner, depending on what you put inside. There’s a bougatsa for everyone and for every moment, with different qualities, useful and likeable all of them.
And I think the secret of a good volunteering team it’s the same, and that is why my experience in Praxis has been so nice: inside, each one is different, we have different strong and not-so-strong skills, and the importance is to know it to learn from others and to complete each other, in a way that you can have a sweet bougatsa for breakfast and a salty one for lunch (for example).
I’ve spent the summer co-living with other 7 people, and, instead of chaos, what I had was a lot of learning, growing and good memories. We did a really good team, not because we were the best, but because we knew our strengths: me for example, I’m awful attracting people to activities, but I’m really organize, so of course other people would be the “public relationship” one while doing events.
In general, we do volunteer thinking we are going to help other people, or even the whole world, but let’s stop being so selfish: at the end of the day, a volunteering experience teaches you more than what you teach others. And realizing about that is amazing: I came to Greece for “helping others”, for “making the world a better place”, and at the end, the world made me a better person.
In Greece, I had some kind of a “new start”, and with this new people I just showed myself as I am. It’s a great moment to do it: nobody knows you, there is no prejudice, and this feeling of freedom, of no judgment… Not only I felt great, but I learnt a lot about myself, thanks to being out of my comfort zone, in other culture, and also thanks to my amazing mates, who, as me, came here with an open-minded attitude.
If you are hesitating about going abroad for a volunteer, let me help you decide: DO IT. It’s enriching in too many ways I can’t write all in one article. So just do it, and if you have the opportunity, taste a bougatsa.
JULIA AGUILAR CABELLO
Julia is a Spanish volunteer in Praxis organization, writing her own experience about the project.