18.09.2017 | Blog

EVS v Lysosu konec poletja 2017

World wide village 2017 – 19. 8. 24. 9.

Introduction 

EVS – European voluntary service. What is EVS even? A question I was asking myself before I learned about the extent of this project under the umbrella of the Erasmus+ projects. I have first learned about it when I’ve started working in a youth centre in my hometown, and there I’ve met a lot of volunteers that were spending their long-term EVS in Slovenia, in Trbovlje of all places. I have become quite intrigued by the idea of travelling around Europe, finding a suitable project for myself and spend a nice “working vacation” somewhere far away from the monotony of my everyday life back home.

And so by pure chance I’ve found an interesting project organized by our neighboring youth centre MC ZOS about a short-term 5 week EVS in Cyprus. At first I didn’t know if I would like to attend as I had already planned for a long term EVS in Czech republic, but after some consideration and realization that I could do a short term and later a long term EVS anyway, I have decided to apply for the project, call the organization and so my path towards Cyprus, Lysos started there and then.

When I learned that I’ve been accepted into the project MC ZOS arranged for a meeting for all the attending Slovenian volunteers to discuss some important information regarding our departure, flights and accommodation. It felt really nice to be travelling with two other people that I’ve known quite well from before, so we formed quite a good team and had a blast travelling together to Lysos, even though our journey was not as periless as it would seem at first sight.

Arrival

We have arrived in Larnaca airport at about 1 in the morning and we had to wait 3 hours at the airport for another volunteer, so that we could share the taxi costs of transportation to our place of accommodation in Lysos, which is about 100km away from the airport. Even though everyone was tired we were ecstatic that we have finally arrived and our adventure will begin shortly.

Without much sleep we arrived at the EVS house at around 7 in the morning, with activities planned for 10am, so as you might have guess we adopted the phrase “sleep is for the week” and just had a quick one hour power nap and went on to do our designated activities. We’ve met most of the other volunteers in the morning, as 2 of them haven’t arrived yet. We set off to Maro’s place – our Hub of sorts to meet with the organization team and coordinators, who showed us around the small village, and gave us some more information about the life here, the villagers and what kind of work we’d be doing in the coming weeks.

The first two days were reserved for the so called “on arrival training” which consisted mostly of teambuilding activities to help us form a bond between each of us. The activities were fun and not monotonous and we’ve had a blast despite the lack of sleep. By the end of the week I feel we really started to feel as a group and not just individual volunteers and started to make everlasting friendship bonds.

After all the pleasantries of enjoying the beautiful landscapes and vistas and bonding together we had to start our working days. I think none of us ever tried picking Carobs before, or maybe even seen the produce on the carob trees, but there they were, fifteen carob trees, just waiting for us the poke them with a stick and steal all their fruits J It was a really fun and enjoyable experience to do something helpful for the villagers and work with crops, it was a sort of an exhilarating experience, as most of us never did much field labor work and this was a really good first step into that direction.

Hard work on the carob fields

Indigenous red-hatted carob monkey

We have done a lot of different work all across Lysos, namely the aforementioned carobs, harvesting tomatoes, oranges, grapes and many other not so labour intensive work.

Just another orange tree 

Of course the EVS is not just doing work and having no time for ourselves, we also have two days per week scheduled as a so called “self-managed” day which means on those days we are free to do whatever activity we plan together as a group, as we have no other work to do. And considering we’re in Cyprus and most of us haven’t been in this country before, we have decided to spend as much time as possible to explore Cyprus and see as many wonders as we can before we finish our project. We have travelled through most of the biggest cities, explored the breathtaking beaches, found some untainted paradises along the coastline and had one hell of a time doing all of that together.

Beach on the Akamas peninsula 

Of course a real road-trip would not be called that without some old-fashioned hitchhiking. For me personally this was a first experience with trying to hitch a ride and so far it’s been the absolute best. The people in Cyprus are very nice and we haven’t had a problem yet to find means of transportation when we had no bus routes left.

Hitchhiker’s guide to Cyprus

Naturally, when talking about Cyprus and Cypriot culture one must not forget the food. As we heard from the coordinators, when you come to Cyprus be prepared to gain a few pounds as the food here is so good, you’ll have a hard time not trying to taste every kind of dish that is made here. We’ve also grown quite proficient in cooking even those of us that haven’t had much experience in the kitchen from before.


The food is ready

Cooking team

Final Thoughts

I think that an EVS experience is a must have for every young person longing to travel and doesn’t really find a way to do it either for financial or time-constrained reasons. It is a very good learning experience for all the people involved, you can gain a lot of practical knowledge, learn how to be more tolerant of others, work in a group and most of all grow as a person and get everlasting friendship connections from all over the world.

Worldwide Village in Lysos Taverna 

This project in particular is a very good stepping stone as it’s only a short term one, so one can more easily adapt to it as opposed to just jumping in the water for a whole year long term EVS, but it might be a bit worse at the end of the project because you form good connections and the departure might be a bit rough.

I was really impressed with Cyprus in itself as it is in my opinion a completely different way of living, that is a lot more relaxed that what I’m used to. People work hard, that’s true but they still have time for the small things in life that matter the most, and not be enshrined in glass houses of our everyday lives.

To everyone that read this presentation, thank you for the attention and thanks to MC ZOS for making the project possible for me and other volunteers.

Euharisto Poli

Borut Mikuž


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