You are currently viewing From Bate Daki’s volunteer diary: “To succeed – you have to study”

From Bate Daki’s volunteer diary: “To succeed – you have to study”

Well, the first (we can call it the honeymoon) month of my volunteer engagement here in Arad, Romania has slowly passed. And now it’s time to get used to it, face the challenges and learn. Adaptation and the challenges that come with it are an integral part of any new experience, especially when you go somewhere abroad for a long time, and in fact, that’s what scared me the most when I came here, but, as I already mentioned in the previous article, this for me is a completely different experience compared to the previous ones. Here we all live as a family and no matter how hard it is sometimes – we always help each other and solve the challenges.

As a challenge I would state that very few people here speak English and, at least for me personally, it is a big problem in assimilation, but each of us knows something or has different communication or negotiation skills. As one such example I would cite my case last week when my phone broke and I had to repair it or buy a new one, but imagine if I didn’t have the help of one of my roommates, I would have paid 80 euros just to repair that old one phone, and this way, with the help of my roommate, I bought a much better phone for a great price.

There have always been challenges and there will be, but I always want to learn, and here there is always someone to guide me and help me, so I say that this project is different from the many in which I had participated. Many people who know me from previous projects and have the opportunity to hear about my stay in Romania – they would probably be surprised how long I lasted here. But you wouldn’t be surprised to learn about the wonderful supportive environment.

There are short and long projects, such as marathons, half marathons or 10 and 5 km races. When you run a shorter course, it’s okay to give your all at the start. But when you run a marathon – then, many will recommend you: In the beginning, don’t be too aggressive, watch out for the finish line, the most important thing is to step on the finish line with the highest speed. Even now, this project is long-term (nine and a half months) and the initial shock upon arrival is normal. Because by the time you arrive everything is great: Hey, I’ve been selected to go on a long-term project, I’ll be abroad for 9.5 months, excitement… but when you arrive – shock. Nine and a half months away from home, away from everyone and everything, new people from different cultures, views, characters, you have to get used to everything: both what you like and what you don’t like at all. Just like a marathon. 42 km and 200 meters? Well, you feel tired, and you haven’t even run two kilometers. The 42nd kilometer is far away… But then you pick up the pace, the body gets used to the effort, the kilometers decrease and you run faster and faster. So here too. And you will see for yourself in my next articles – I promise you.

My host organization, Ofensiva Tinerilor, cooperates with several organizations that generally work with children. Our activities generally involve playing, drawing, coloring, and crafts, so to be honest, I often get that thought: So what am I doing here? I play football with the children. Okay, but what’s the use of that? But as soon as you come to the school/center and you see the smiling and happy faces of the children (even happier when they see you), then they run and hug you – it completely cleanses you mentally and spiritually and you already feel like a new man.

Other memorable things happened during this period. I also managed to run my first “semi” marathon in Romania, specifically in Timișoara, and I also became a volunteer in the Red Cross of Arad. It’s a positive culture shock that movies at the cinema are free every Thursday and Friday, so I can say I’m a regular visitor.

In the coming period, I expect it to be even more beautiful and interesting, many more beautiful moments await us, but more about that in my next articles.

Daniel Shikoski