Moments of European Solidarity Corps Volunteering Team I-2024, RITMO NATURAL, reflected by volunteer Antonia. 

First day at IMORA

Today was our first day at IMORA for the Volunteering Team “Natural Rhythm” 2024. After a few (very long) days of traveling, we finally arrived in Plasenzuela, also known as the “Middle of Nowhere”. Welcomed by a starry night and a Spanish tortilla, we enjoyed our first good night’s sleep. The first day was all about getting to know each other, Erasmus and theproject. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that this place is in the middle of nowhere. When you stand on the highest point, you can see that there are only trees, rocks and chickens around you. Perfect conditions to learn about nature, yourself and each other. We are a group of volunteers from Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Spain, and I can already tell that we will have lots of food and fun. Six sombreros, eight competences on the first day and fifteen more days to go. I’m excited to see what the next few weeks will bring.

9 th day day at IMORA

The days have been colder since yesterday, which has also reduced motivation to go outside. Nevertheless, we went on to explore the countryside of La Jarilla. We learned that not what we consume but how it is produced is important for a more sustainable world. Tonio explained to us how nature can be influenced by the use of animals and how this leads to a healthier ecosystem. We were also able to get physically active by building stone walls and sifting the compost of the villagers into fine soil. In addition, we made our own organic fertilizer. We ended the evening with a workshop on masculine and feminine energies by one of the participants. Now some of us are cooking our dinner to music in the kitchen and others are exploring the climbing rocks in the area at sunset. Just a typical evening in La Jarilla.

Paint and dirt

I can describe you a moment in my project, I realized I took the right choice of doing an ESC. I was a bit worried before coming here. On the one hand, I turned 29 during my time of the project and I was afraid that I will be the “grandma” of the group as my last days of Erasmus life were numbered. On the other hand, I was leaving my life in Austria behind and therefore my mind was still lingering on everything I had back there. But the moment I sat in the car, the yellow green spotted landscape of Extremadura passing by and in the background a music mixture of Italian, Moroccan, German music, I knew I made the right decision of coming to Spain. Me and the other volunteers have worked all morning, getting our hands dirty plastering walls, our clothes splattered with white paint from painting the houses in the neighbouring village. We were just as dirty as we could be, but we didn’t care. A villager showed as the river and we held our feet in the river and let little fish nibble at our feet. Later I gained luck by jumping over the ancient bridge on one leg. But before returning to Plasenzuela, we visited the castle of Montánchez. I think we all felt as if we could fly when we reached the top of the village. From above we could see endlessly far, and it felt like the whole of Extremadura was beneath our feet.

Aguila, Aguile

Sometimes there is this moment when a song is performed and it is completely silent in the room, then it has touched people’s hearts. Not only has this moment and song touched our heart, but also it got annoyingly stuck in our head. “Aguila, aguile” was such of song for us in this project. The “aguila” which means “eagle” in Spanish, can always be seen high up in the Extremadura sky and somehow it perfectly represents the spirit of the region here. Gracefully it draws its circles, the wings spread wide and its gaze fixed on the ground. But it was also moments after we heard it first, like when we sat around the fireplace and started to sing all together, that made that song so special to us.

Morning circles

Mornings are usually the tired period of the day. Just woken up and fighting against the urge to fall asleep again by filling up that mug with coffee. But starting the day by climbing the rock next to the house, feeling the first rays of sunshine on your skinand finding your place in the circle that isn´t completely covered in sheep feces is a little different than usual mornings. Morning circles are there to reflect, to rethink and restart. They can be fun by playing ninja or serious by addressing issues. Morning circles are the place for emotions and compromises, for the talking stick, for stretching and for starting the day. I can tell you about many more moments like this, but I think it is up to the other volunteers and yourself to do.


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