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Seven days European – Mediterranean cooperation in France!

Although out thick fog had lowered, in the dining room echoed six different languages, but vociferously listened French. With smiles and kindness were all greeted. Emily and Sarah Dzhofri were representatives of the French organization CEMEA, which organized the seminar, and after their recommendation, we continued  in the workshops, which served as place for work and socializing. In one of the workshops I have to mention that there was a huge fireplace, beside which almost always has no place.One aim of the seminar was approaching the languages spoken by the participants of the seminar and to this end created a huge board on which were written the basic conversational sentences of six different languages, and so everyone can learn to say Grazie! (Thank you!) In Italian or ask Ce mai faci? (how are you?) in Romanian, or to apologize Spanish Se disculpa! Or to say good morning! Macedonian. It was quite interesting to hear enthusiastic Spanish participants wanted to learn the Macedonian language and also how many were amazed when they heard that we use Cyrillic and Latin alphabet. Enthusiasm existed at all to learn something new, get to know each other, to discover something new about themselves, or at least to sit beside the fireplace and enjoy. The day was completely devoted to mutual understanding. Presentations of the organizations and  the field in which they work. Then we had an exercise through which each participant had to present his life as an individual, and “the life” or experience that has collected during be a volunteer or working through NGOs. Overall it was good to create a clear picture at the beginning of each organization and participant separately in order to more easily create partnerships and share experiences. The culture of each country was also the focus of the seminar, and because the very next day we presented the country, culture and food of each of the country participants. We ate ajvar with cheese, chocolate with nuts, Resani that Romanians have loved them, and we found out that people in Tunisia also drink Gazoza. We ate French cheese, Italian chocolates and drank Macedonian, Italian, Spanish and Tunisian wine. In Fourt du Plasne, constantly was foggy, that wasn’t a problem at all, but little sun would certainly improve our mood. Sanja from Volunteer’s Centre Skopje proposed to have Hawaiian ‘’prayer’’ to show at least a little sun these days. Prayer was really effective way to woke up everyone that morning because everyone was laughing and singing quite loudly while ” Pray ‘. That day we were engaged in creating projects that would include youth and that would affect the local community. Divided into groups we had a really productive and exhaustive debate. All shared experiences about the problems that are facing young people in each of the countries that were involved in the project, and what should we do in order to overcome that problems and to motivate them to actively engage in the improvement of the living conditions in their own local community. Wednesday afternoon was reserved for visiting Besanson. The city is the headquarters of CEMEA. Divided into several groups, together we revealed the city. The old part of the city is surrounded by a river, and can be reached via several bridges. Also important for the city is that there is born the great Victor Hugo and the house in which he was born, today convert into a museum. In that city study several of the French participants of the seminar, and with their help for a few hours we managed to visit the grand cathedral, take the fortress from which to view the entire city, and try the most delicious croissants, and simply enjoy the Christmas atmosphere emanating from every narrow street.The next morning in the dining room was quite noisy, loud all discussed and various languages echoing. But with Bonjour! greeting started every day. In France we did everything as the French do. This especially refers of the cheese. Cheese for all participants mark the seminar. Each day we were served with many different kinds of cheese, and all of us required more piece, even dropped a deal to buy cheese so at home we would to continue enjoying in delicious taste of cheese. Gloria from Spain fall in love with Morbier (kind of French cheese) and she packed a huge amount of cheese for home, and she even wanted to leave a piece of clothing in Furt due Plasne, in order to make room for her new culinary love Morbier. Hawaiian prayer bring results. The idea of Sanja was successful, the sun was out, and we enjoyed the beautiful landscapes of Fourt due Plasne. But we must continue to work …. Divided into different groups, receive information about the various programs covered by Erasmus plus program. Anyone can get information, and to decide through which programs will upgrade his skills, and will enrich his experiences. That day in the afternoon group has visited antic shop which was located near the place where we worked. We found all the wealth collected in shop of 100 square meters. There were old plates, biscuit tins that were used 30 years ago, a lot of old chandeliers, bicycles. But most valuable of all of us was the guitar that found Eduardo (Spain) and Francesco (Italy) which has enriched companionship near the fireplace. Everyone were loudly sang and laughed while we warmed beside the fireplace. I must mention that many free time was spent despite billiard table, there was always a lot of people, and among them was our Jana. One of the aims of seminar was to generate ideas for future projects that would work on an international level between organizations involved in the project. As soon as we have chosen six were selected from 30 previously offered ideas, divided into several groups began to make plans how we will implement them in the future. After we presented our plans to the whole group, in order to clearly show if any organization would like to be involved as a partner organization in some of the planned projects. December 5th. This day is important for the volunteers, namely this is an international holiday for all volunteers worldwide. The whole group Fourt due plasne mark this day, and perpetuate the day with beautiful photography. We closed this day with a game that was aimed to increase an awareness about our need to be solidarity. There was a nice debate, through which all agreed that we should cooperate and help each other. Our society will prosper only if mutually exchange knowledge, experience, creative practices and with mutual support in building our own local communities.

I have to mention our chef Gilles. He is a wonderful cook, because every day we enjoyed in delicious and healthy meals that he prepared for us. Every day before lunch and dinner we excited expect to discover what  kind of delicious Gilles cooked for us. Across all participants floated the same idea how to take Gilles in our country to continue to enjoy in his culinary masterpieces. Because of him, in afternoons we walked around the village, and during this walks we share personal information and details about  our organizations, but also we created more room for the delicious food Gilles.

December 6th. At the very beginning when we met, we knew that this seven days will pass really quickly. Through these days, was Peace and Happiness between us all. Something that Emily stated that she wants to accomplish. We functioned as a big family. Together we were solving  the problems, and enjoyed hanging out together. Emily, Sarah and Dzhofri with us reached the goal of the seminar. It depends of us if we could menage to create projects together,and use positive energy as a group we created in the small village Fourt due Plasne, and build strong local communities.
Most important, this seminar has been organizes by our ex-EVS volunteer Sarah Bastable, working now for her EVS sending organization. We are very proud of her to see her organizing such a wonderful project. Elena Anchevska