Green Interview series: Anastasia Sapouna

Green Interview series aim to unfold experiences young people had in Tramonti, in ACARBIO. Each new expereinece in Tramonti is a new energy, new pulse towards the idea of creating an intercultural environment, co-creating thriving and learning community and reconnecting with nature in a more practical, knowledgable way.

Anastasia Sapouna from Greece spent 6 months in Tramonti, helping ACARBIO to build a bridge between the local and international community. Erasmus internship was an irrepresible expereinece for her, as it gave her a refreshing perspective on her life. She did not miss up her opportunity, her time to act and bring change!

So, let’s unreveal her green story with the help of 8 short questions:

-Why did you choose ACARBIO for your Erasmus internship?

 I was looking through the sustainable sector and environmental protection topics. So, for me, ACARBIO was exactly the thing that I needed – samall, local association, doing an honest job. So, I really wanted to try it.

-What did you do as an Erasmus Intern?

The topic of my internship was “sustainable project management”, so I worked on the ongoing projects of ACARBIO. The “RESCUE” project, when we were renewing the abandoned spaces all around Tramonti, also a bit of farming in the garden. It was so interesting, I worked with a lot of young people from all over Europe.

-Do you think your activities brought something new to Tramonti?

I really hope they did. We did quite a lot of things – worked on abandoned shelter up in the mountains, fixing everything by hand, making the garden, building a roof, a wall. We also didsome paintings in the school of Tramonti. We had many informational sessions with local community. So, I really hope we had an impact.

– Has Erasmus Internship changed you personally?

For sure. It has changed me a lot. It was exactly the thing that I needed, as it gave me perspective on my whole life, I met so many wonderful people, who had a great impact on me.

– Is there a favourite place of yours in Tramonti?

One day, by chance, me and my friends found a perfect place. It was like a field, on the edge of a hill from where you had a great view. It was so serene, so beautiful. You can go there to chill, to look up at the stars – it was perfect!

– Did you have some difficulties while staying in Tramonti?

It was a little weird at the beginning- different language, culture. But I got used to it pretty quickly, as I was already used to small community life.

– What is your favourite pharse in Italian?

Madonna Mia! Everyone is using this here (smiles).

– What would you say to the future Erasmus Interns of ACARBIO?

I would say that it is a great opportunity, everybody should do it. You have to expereinece it, you have to try everyting. Not let the time pass you by, even if it is 6 months or a year, which might seem a long time but it is not. Just take up every opportunity, meet new people, new culture, new friends, do not miss anything!

Anastasia’s green story thought us that we should not be afarid of taking risks and trying new things. Each of us is capable of something and it does not matter whether you are 18 or 28 – your ideas will always find a way to change the reality around you, just find your creative impulse and never let it go!

 

17.09.2022 , Tramonti

 

Pizza Party on Planet T2724

There is an Italian saying; ‘’mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto’’. For an Armenian, who grew up seeing the table filled with a large variety of colorful dishes and grandma saying all the time; ‘’you look hungry, you need to eat well’’ (even if you are 30 year-old grow-up), the notion of ‘’mangia bene’’ seems more or less familiar concept to me but there is much more Italians put in this saying…

Here, in Tramonti, it is never only about eating. Food is an act of caring, loving and showing emotions for Italians, they simply enjoy the whole process of preparing meals and others watching them doing it, checking the reactions after you tasted them, they are kind of showing off their cuisine abilities about which they are proud of.

It is less than a month I am here, in Tramonti, which I sometimes call Planet T2724 (T-meaning Tramonti, 2724km – considering the distance between Armenia and Italy and inspired by novella “The Little Prince”) where people are strongly tied to their culture, where grape yards, noisy neighbours, clothes hanging to dry, mountains, family gatherings remind me a lot about my culture. There is something eastern in Italy, in its lifestyle, in its people, making it alive for me compared to other European countries.

Recently I had a chance to experience a very Italian cultural night full of pizzas and wine. In ACARBIO, where I am currently doing my ESC, we call it a ‘’pizza party’’. Tramonti’s legendary pizza gathered all Erasmus Interns and ESC volunteers, curious to try the famous pizza. The uniqueness of this night was that you have your participation literally in everything; starting from cutting mozzarella cheese, garlic, collecting tomatoes for pizza, putting the table etc., which makes you feel responsible. Making the pizza, though, is not something Italians will let you do immediately, you need to gain special skills, trust – trust of feeding the guests. I really enjoyed the whole night, where national Italian music, dances, and songs were prevailing. Each participant made the night even more unique with their presence, with their own vision of the things. At some point neighbours living around the office joined us and the party was transferred into a real family gathering; talks around a glass of wine, the most delicious pizzas coming all the way, discussions parallel in Italian and in English, when someone speaks Italian, the other English but they somehow understand each other- what a magic! You forget for a moment about the rest in the world.

Now, in Italy, I understand that eating cannot be good if you do not have your family, friends around you, if you are not in love with what you do and how you do, as this what brings smile to you and to the people around you, so ‘’mangia bene’’ people!

Author: Mariam Hovhannisyan, ESC, Armenia

Make it Green: The full story

During the summer of 2022, from 4th of July to 31st of August, Tramonti welcomed 2 groups of European Solidarity Corps’ volunteers, one for each month, for the “Make it green” project, thought and prepared by Acarbio. The main objective of this project is to raise awareness on subjects like sustainability and the environmental issues we face in this region.

For four weeks, in August, we had a lot of different types of activities like cleaning some hiking paths, an event in Maiori, painting a school theater, workshops and cultural nights. In the rest of this article, we will describe how some of these activities took place.

As far as hiking paths cleaning is concerned, we carried out three during the month of August. The aim of these was to reduce the amount of rubbish on Tramonti’s hiking paths. Each time we collected more than 10 bags, we handed over them to the municipality which worked together with Acarbio in this project. Even though we are proud to have removed this large amount of waste, it is useless if no one sees it. We have therefore carried out several awareness-raising campaigns via social networks to increase the consciousness of the inhabitants and tourists of the Amalfi Coast. To this end, we also held an event along the beach of Maiori. The aim was to attract passers-by to our stand so that they could take part in a quiz about sustainability. We are proud because we got some good feedback and had a lot of participants, we hope they will remember this awareness raising.

Another activity we did was to paint the Geovanni Pascoli school’s theater , this is not only used by the teachers and the students but also by the local theater club. To accomplish this we started by having some ideas on what we wanted to paint on the walls, jointly with the local artist Marco De Rosa, we had a design.

For the painting itself, first we started by removing the old design with some sandpaper and smoothing the walls as well, then fixed some holes and we were ready to paint. We painted the base color, orange, around the whole theater and repeated the process three more times until we were happy with the result. Finally, Marco drew the sketch on the walls with some chalk and we were able to finish the painting.

This wasn’t much about the environment itself but more about social sustainability. Our goal was to prepare a space where people want to visit and participate in activities, to leave a good thing for the community that will stay after we leave ourselves.

Every week, we also attended several workshops presented by our two coordinators Alicia and Boróka. These were all very interesting and we learned a lot about sustainability. For example, we followed a workshop about the lifecycle of products to understand how each phase of a product’s life is harmful to the environment. Then we also had to reflect in pairs on our current environmental behavior. The aim was to highlight the bad behaviors we practice in our daily lives and to find new ones to implement in the future. It was very interesting because with the daily routine, we sometimes don’t realize that we are having a huge impact on the environment and that we could easily avoid it. We also trained twice in the art of debating and speaking about environmental issues. This gave us new information about the topic and helped us to improve our skills in giving a speech to an audience, which is a tough exercise. I’m sure we will all remember some of the tips to use in our next speech.

Since this group is formed by 16 people from 11 different countries, it’s a great opportunity to share a part of our cultures with each other.

To make this easier we had a specific time to dedicate to cultural sharing and these were our cultural nights, which happened every Wednesday night. The countries that were presented were Kazakhstan, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Sweden.

We learnt some cultural music and dances, some games, we learnt about some holidays and, of course, we tried some delicious food.

Being exposed to new cultures is not only fun but it also helps to expand our horizons and be comfortable with novelty.

During the last week, we recorded a podcast about our experiences from “Make it green”. In the process of making the podcast “Rete Verde” we divided in small groups that had to take care of the directing, music, editing, etc. Even though no one had knowledge of doing a podcast, the process went smoothly, everyone got involved and took it very seriously. We asked each other a question related to the “Make It Green” project or their experience. The whole process of making the podcast was very interesting as well the responses of each participant. The podcast turned out very good and it’s a result of the work of passion and effort from each participant.

 

 

During our hiking on the path of thirteen churches, the “Make It Green” had the opportunity to visit the “Secret Garden of the Soul” in Campinola Borgo di Tramonti, at an altitude of 450 meters. The tour was guided by Antonio who lovingly dedicates himself to cultivation and pampering this corner of paradise which he has been taking care of since 1999. During this visit the team learned about the Tramonti’s history and the passion of the people to take care of nature and its beauty.

Along this journey, we all had different personal experiences while participating in these activities. Here are a few words from some of the volunteers who participated in the Make It Green project during the month of August, sharing their view on this project.

“This project is one to remember! All the friendships and knowledge I earned here will have an impact on my future life! From now on, I will try to be more careful about how my attitude affects the environment!”

Boróka

 

“This month has been a great adventure, I had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, I met new people, stories and cultures, which brought me a new vision of the world and various learnings. There were many good times that will never be forgotten.”

Geovana

 

“I’m grateful to participate in this program, because I have learned a lot. Our team was a really really great team, I would like to work with them in the future. Every day was the best day, I recommend every person who wants to make friends and experiences.”

Adrienn

 

“Being a part of this project made me realize the beauty and happiness of life and doing something that has an impact on our future. Getting to know new people and different cultures was one of the best experiences. Every night, before going to sleep, I’ve had the same thought: today was the best day! Having this feeling for one month is the biggest luck and I will be forever grateful that I’ve got the chance to be a member of this amazing team.”

Nóra

 

“In this past month I felt really excited for being in this project and also really excited for meeting new people. I think we did great things together and I wouldn’t change a thing about that.”

Maria

 

“I’m really thankful that “Make It Green” and all of the participants were a part of my crazy journey. Nothing was perfect but that’s what makes the experience even better, to learn, debate, collaborate, everything was a constructive process which I think it made me a different person.”

Lucian

 

“I have enjoyed a lot this project with some amazing people and really entertaining and, at the same time, educative activities guide by the best coordinates I could imagine. An experience I highly recommend for everybody.”

Christian

 

“I think this project came at the right time in my life and did me a lot of good. I learned a lot about myself and my relationships with others. I feel proud because I know that I have contributed to something good for the land and for the surrounding communities of Tramonti. Now I just have to put everything I have learned into practice in Belgium.”

Gabriel

 

“This was an amazing summer, I’m really glad that I decided to apply to this project. We had a little bit of everything between working, learning, teaching, and having lots of fun. I came with no expectations but if I knew what was about to come, I wouldn’t think twice before applying; thank you Acarbio, thank you Alicia and Bibi.”

Vitória

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye and remember, keep making it green.

 

 

Authors: Christian Iglesias Franco; Gabriel Jadin; Lucian Cojocaru; Vitória Vieira

Make it Green Stories: THE EVENT

On Friday the 19th of August we had an event in Maiori about Waste Management.

In this article I am going to tell the experience of the event. We did a quiz with a prize of vegan cake balls, a lottery giving away Acarbio T-shirts and tomato sauce, and different posters about the association and waste management. We also did the preparation of the event.

It all started on Wednesday when our coordinators, Alicia and Boróka, told us that we were going to have an event. Then things started to get a bit complicated because we were told that we were not only going to be part of it but we were also going to prepare and organise it.

We continued on Thursday, which, theoretically, in the morning we were going to prepare the whole event. First of all, Alicia and Boróka gave us a guide of how it was going to be and then we split into groups to have a brainstorming on how to develop and prepare the event. Afterwards, we split into groups again to start the actual preparation.

I was in the lottery group. We decided that we would ask a question and if they got it right, they could participate by taking a piece of paper from a jar on which it was written: “T-shirt”, “salsa di pomodoro” and “better luck next time”. As we didn’t have time to finish everything on Thursday because we had to clean a hiking path in the afternoon, we finished the final details on Friday morning.

And finally on Friday afternoon came, the event. We took the bus from Tramonti, where we are living during the project, to Maiori, and we started to assemble the banner we were going to work on. Everything started to fall into place, we were on schedule and even manage to start earlier.

The work my group had to do was to convince people to participate in the lottery and tell them about us. At the beginning we were not very active, but little by little we started to convince more people until the magic moment came: we managed to give away a T-shirt and then a jar of tomato sauce. It was very exciting. Then we also tried to get people to do the quiz or try to talk about the association.

Personally, it was amazing to see how people stopped and were interested to know what we were doing, and how interested they were when they stopped not only participating in the different activities, but stopping to talk and listen about Acarbio.

Until the next time, Make it Green.

Author: Christian Iglesias Franco

Make It Green Stories: Cleaning activities

In this article, we will discuss one of the main missions of Make It Green. This is the cleaning of the hiking paths surrounding our beautiful town of Tramonti. We have already carried out two clean-up sessions and many more will take place throughout our volunteering period.

How does it work in practice?

To make it as easy as possible to sort the waste, we decided to assign roles. Some people collect the waste while others carry the rubbish bags. There are four different trash bags (Plastic/metal, Paper, Glass, and Mix) and these, unfortunately, fill up too quickly. Indeed, we are often surprised and disgusted to see these piles of rubbish in the middle of nature, sometimes several kilometers from a village. We usually have to dig a bit to extract some of them and we wonder how long they have been there and how many are probably trapped under the ground contaminating our soils. 
Once the bags are full, they are placed in strategic locations and the municipality is notified so that they can come and collect the already sorted bags.

During these clean-ups, we regularly meet pedestrians or residents who encourage us in their own way. Some of them offer us water, others fruit, and this always warms our hearts. The best example was during the cleaning of the provincial road from the Chiunzi pass. Many cars slowed down to congratulate us, many gave us the thumbs up and we also got to chat with some. We hope that everyone we met will think of us the next time they want to throw something out of the window.

However, even if we are very keen to collect waste, the main purpose of this mission is to increase the awareness of the inhabitants of Tramonti. There is no point in cleaning up an area if it is going to be dirty again the following week. We want to make everyone aware that throwing waste into the environment is killing them. Indeed, many people do not realize that the waste that decomposes in nature and in the ocean generates microplastics that are then ingested by the animals and plants that we consume. As a result, according to some studies, the smallest microplastics end up in our cells and these will undoubtedly have devastating effects on our health.

It is not yet too late to react. Let’s act together because every action counts to allow future generations to enjoy life on earth as we did.

Until the next time, Make It Green.

Author: Gabriel Jadin

Make it Green Stories: Graffiti Workshop

Wednesday, 10th of August of 2022 was the day most of us, the August group from Make it green, tried doing graffiti for the first time. Just as other types of art, graffiti is a way of self expression and a way to deliver a message with an image. It is up to the artist to choose what kind of message they want to share and what type of reaction they want to get from the public. We were encouraged to always remember that whenever we were doing something that will be seen by others, specially while talking about graffiti, an art style that is seen by many as vandalism and destructive.

The artist Marco De Rosa talked to us about his experience and presented his work as an artist in a small community as well as a therapeutical artist. We were left with a good comparison between graffiti and life itself. 

“Graffiti is like any relationship, the closer you get to your piece, the clearer everything gets, specially the lines.”

After this we proceed to pick up a can of paint to put our recent knowledge into practice. Feelings of excitement and unfamiliarity started to build up and we could all let it out with the paint as we wrote our names. Being more used to that extention of our hands, another exercise started. This time we were grouped in pairs in which one of us was blindfolded and the other would pick our hand that had the can of paint and started drawing some doodles. At first it was a bit nerve-wracking since we no longer had the control over the situation or even over our own hand. The objective of this exercise was to build trust amongst ourselves and being comfortable with not having full control (and understand that it is ok to make mistakes while painting). The challenge was successfully completed by the group.

This workshop was an introduction to this style of painting to prepare and awake our inner artists for a bigger project coming ahead, coming up with ideas to paint the walls of a school theater to make it more appealing. We came up with some ideas to share with Marco whose help is crucial to come up with a design for said theater.

With this project we hope to give a piece of us to the community and maybe brighten up the life of others around us as well as inspire them with good things.

 

 

 

 

 

Until the next time, Make it green.

Author: Vitória Vieira

THE “RESCUE” PROJECT IN TRAMONTI: THE CASTLE ON THE HILL

The castle on the hill, in the middle of Tramonti, overviewing the whole valley and all the hidden and detached part of Tramonti – it has a particular fascination on everyone who visits the town. So here for you – the history of the Castle of Eleonora di Aragona and how it became the cementary of Tramonti!

In the Erasmus+ project “RESCUE – Renewed Spaces U Educate” we did research on the Medieval Castle of Eleonora di Aragona. Today it is the cemetery of the town, but it was not always like this. The Castle is on a central position on a hill in the middle of Tramonti, from where the view extends over most part of the territory and is limited only by the Sea in the South and by the mountain chain of the Monti Latteri in the East, West and North. The research was part of the activities to recover the old pathway that leads from the Hamlet of Corsano up the hill, to the castle and to the hamlet of Capitignano. It was done by volunteers Denise Barbaro, Alessandro Di Landro and trainee Anil Özen in the early months of 2022.

The construction of the Castle took place in 1458, only 4 years before the tower of Chiunzi was built. The tower of Chiunzi is not visible from the Castle, it lies on the pass of Chiunzi which crosses the Monti Lattari and leads down to the metropolitan area of Naples. In regard of their strategical position, both of them were built in order to defend the territory against intruders. Only around the year 1900, after many years of struggles, the now former castle was converted into a cemetery and as such a place of rest and dormitory for the dead. Again, its strategical position was crucial – it lies far from other places in town and thus avoids any possibility of further contagion of potential diseases.

But let’s start go back to Medieval times, when the Maritime Republic of Amalfi is influencing the particular culture of Tramonti as we know it today, and where King Ferdinando I would raise the importance of Tramonti.

 

TRAMONTI IN THE MARITIME REPUBLIC OF AMALFI

Between the 800s and the 1000s, the Republic of Amalfi had a significant place in the Mediterranean. From Amalfi, Sailors traded with all parts of the Mediterranean and started to shape the Amalfi Coast as we know it today. In this period, Tramonti was the forest area, supplier of food, resources and home of the bread, providing for the whole Republic and its sailors. Up until today Tramonti hosts a high amount of traditional wooden stoves for bread making, and the specific bread, Pane Biscottato, is consumed in this part of the region until today. In the process of bread making, Tramontans developed a panella condita, a small disc of the same dough, garnished with oil, griece and spices, and was baked in the ovens that waited to be ready for the bread and eaten for lunch.

 

THE KINGDOMS OF ANGIOINI AND ARAGONESE

Eventually, the area was conquered by the Normans who ended the area of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi. Subsequently, a military conflict went on between the ruling families and dynasties of Aragonese and Angevins – a conflict that should go on for centuries. Officially, the prior ones succeeded and took power with the treaty of Caltabellotta in 1302, and the dynasty of the Aragonese began with King Alfonso I. However, the conflict should go on until the 1400 and would influence the fate of many areas in the Campania Region around Naples in Southern Italy. And alas, the particular outcomes of single battles should determine the fate of Tramonti as well.

 

THE CASTLE ON THE HILL

The construction of the Castle of Santa Maria La Nuova in Tramonti proceeded under Eleonora D`Aragona, the Duchess of Amalfi at the time. Upon her husband’s death, she had gone to stay in Tramonti, eager to reactivate the work started by the husband. For some months she resided there, however, went soon back to her residence on behalf of her duties. However, the times were very moved – and soon military conflict would arouse. 

Ferdinando, son of Alfonso I, succeeded his father as King of Naples and Ferdinado I. The heir of the Angevins, Giovanni of Angiò, proclaimed war against Ferdinando I to take back the area of Naples under their power. In this fight, the Amalfitans together with Eleonora d’Aragona, Duchess of Amalfi, joined the Angevins while Tramonti went in support of King Ferdinando I. Despite the devotions made to King Ferdinando, Eleonora d’Aragona took the side of the duke, and also raised the populations of Amalfi, Scala, Agerola and the hamlet of Cesarano in Tramonti to rebellion against the Aragonese. How did the rest of Tramonti chose to stay loyal to the King? We can only speculate abolut this. 

Eventually, Ferdinando I succeeded, and granted in his state of gratitude to Tramonti the status as a Town in legal and commercial sense, and as such from now on it was entitled to enjoy the town privileges or borough rights. Tramonti, at the end of the 1400s, thanks those privileges, trade with Naples intensified and allowing the people to export their products on more advantageous terms, including the above mentioned Pane Biscottato, and panella condita, which will later be known as pizza. It is in this context that Naples first encountered this new culinary tradition, which was the ancient pizza, which over time will also become its distinctive element.

 

THE CEMETERY AT THE CASTLE ON THE HILL

Eventually, the castle was first transformed to a church and later it should become the dedicated place of the cemetery of the town. When constructing the cemetery, some elements of the former church and the fort were maintained but others were teared down or hidden under the new construction. New buildings were constructed, and some of the old cisterns are no longer visible. In addition, about a quarter of a century ago, the church, with a single apsidal hall, was renovated, with the remaking of the vault of the nave and the semi-apsidal dome in reinforced concrete. The blind arches that mark the walls, however, have retained the original acute profile imprinted on them perhaps in the mid-fifteenth century. From outside, the original view of the landscape is still enjoyable, one of the most evocative of the Amalfi Coast.

 

Authors: Denise Barbaro, Cornelia Kramsall

 

©Acarbio, photographer: Denise Barbaro

Youth project facilitation – a personal journey

My first experience as a facilitator collided with my first ever participation in an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange. It was June 2022 in Paestum, Italy. ’ImpACT for Nature’, was built around the topic of eco-sustainability. Throughout the ten days of the project, countless fireworks exploded in my mind and my heart.

My journey as a facilitator

Which was the exact moment when I became a facilitator? Was it greeting the first participants? Drawing a little hot air balloon on the Welcome poster? Preparing the materials for my workshop? Was it already the moment I said yes with a pounding heart to the coordinator on joining the project?

One thing is for sure, it is not a static moment or achievement of my life, but rather the best learning and blooming process I have ever experienced.

I did not like this word ’facilitator’ in the beginning, because it seemed strange, empty, and too formal.

When I started preparations, I wanted to create super original workshops and tried to fit countless learning points in a tight schedule. Luckily somewhere along the way I realised I had to step back and reflect a lot on informal learning and the diverse ways others experience an activity.

Planning daily reflection exercises for the group helped me a lot in putting myself in others’ shoes. Still, I could only vaguely guess how they would experience a particular day that we designed. Even more so, since I had not met the group yet.

The night before the project started, I was watching “The brief history of…” videos on YouTube in panic, realising how ignorant I could be as a group leader if I did not know the participants’ cultural background well enough.

And then, the first day arrived at last. The euphoric feeling of leading joyful activities, sharing laughter with the group, – things I was so looking forward to experience – came a little bit later. Not to say that I did not like the first day, but – Madonna! – was I drained completely already by lunchtime from trying to make my voice heard over the chaos 36 young adult can create, attempting to make them open up and connect with each other.

As the community slowly started to form, my job became way easier. I put all my energy in, just as the first day, but I got it back multiplied from the group. I would be lying if I said I did not get tired every single day. But I had a shower in the outdoors cabin that belonged to our bungalow, went down to the sea for a quick swim in the morning, or shared my feelings with the wonderful participants who became my roommates – who never forgot to ask me how am I doing – and then my steps got lighter, I smiled again and I got beautiful smiles back from 36 wonderful individuals, which made me feel like I could even fly, if I wanted to.

My priority as a facilitator quickly shifted from performing well in my workshops and being knowledgeable enough in topics like biodiversity loss or Armenia’s history. I focused on being as attentive towards the group as I could be. My main purpose became providing the base level of energy and positivity to keep them going, growing, learning, connecting, dancing, and smiling.

It was only in the evening, that I could look back and reflect on my, and others’ experiences, making amends with things that I missed out on and altering plans for the following days. Reading the daily reflections and evaluations of the group, which was one of my favourite parts of the day – enabling me to peak into diverse approaches towards shared experiences-, I learnt that no matter how much I think beforehand, I will not be able to predict the best way of learning for everybody. Instead, it is of utmost importance to always try and fail in different ways.

Not to say that preparation is unimportant for facilitation – on the contrary – I could not have felt more grateful to the coordinator for talking through every point of the programme thoroughly. I needed to know the details of each activity by heart. When I was in front of the group, I did not have the option anymore to make up plans. I had to catch the group’s reactions and had to ask the right questions to keep the discussions flowing. I needed to manage the time, fitting the overflowing thoughts and movements into the mundane framework of the daily schedule.

Youth Exchange

So in the end, what was it that I facilitated?

I might actually not know even the half of it. Nevertheless, I was able to witness several miracles happening in our camp.

Most of all, it was personal growth. Someone overcoming their fear of talking in front of a group. Others discovering the power of their language skills in connecting people and thoughts by translation. The ability to share important and personal, but at the same time global and political experiences with each other. Someone opening up to fun, and the joy of writing in our gossip box. The ability to take critical feedback and act upon it. The power of making connections through gestures and laughter. The courage to come up with new initiatives. The slow process of opening one’s self up to friendship and trust. The effect of complimenting someone. The igniting curiosity for other’s culture and history. The realisation that one can be a crucial part of the community without being the loudest one in the group.

It was the discussions and debates on what is sustainable. The realisation of the complexity of seemingly simple phenomenon, like a band of pine tree forest between the shore and the city. The creativity of grasping a serious environmental issue in a one-minute funny video, that has great awareness raising potential. Connecting a fact or concept learnt one day to a new idea on the next.

Understanding totally different approaches to the same concept. The creative solutions other minds come up with if they are the ones leading team-building or educational activities. The range of possibilities in expressing thoughts by visual channels when the language barrier is too high.

The magical moment of connection a song can create, alongside the sounds of a guitar. The potential to use all senses including sight, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting to grasp the concept of another culture. The power of community when facing an unexpected and difficult situation. The joy of being a secret friend to someone. The resonations simple questions like ’Can I help you?’ can create.

Sustainability

Facilitating a Youth Exchange for others offered an opportunity for tremendous personal growth in myself, and the expansion of my understanding of the world around me.

I remember sitting together with the coordinator, discussing the options of introducing the concept of sustainability to the group, going through different academic definitions. In the end we never used any, believing in the power of informal education, in the workshops and practical activities of our programme.

Looking back, I believe we did not make a mistake. I had the chance of learning about the Brundtland Report in university, nevertheless I still gained a new understanding of sustainability in Paestum.

Dear Participants, if you read this, you are my new concept of sustainability. Your attention towards each other, us, and your environment. The obviousness in the way you offered me help carrying around equipment or proposing creative initiatives that raised the quality of the project. Your curiosity towards others’ opinions, your ability to engage in constructive debate. Your creative ideas. The acceptance you showed towards the cultural differences we have between us. Your attention for nature and your willingness to act upon preserving it. Your diversity in our local community we created. It is your smile, your joy, your hopes. Thank you for facilitating my learning.

Author: Boróka Bartók

“Planting new Initiatives”

Dal giorno 3 al 13 maggio 2022 si è svolto a Paestum un nuovo progetto, coordinato dalla nostra associazione “Acarbio”, dal nome “Planting New Initiatives”. Il tema di questo scambio giovanile è stato quello dell’importanza dell’imprenditoria ecologica e sociale collegato alle relative competenze. Questo scambio giovanile ha dato uno spazio di apprendimento per le competenze imprenditoriali cercando, in particolar modo, di vedere come i partecipanti possono utilizzare le loro esperienze per migliorare la propria vita e il proprio futuro! Inoltre, il progetto tramite attività ben centrate, ha incoraggiato i giovani partecipanti ad avere un atteggiamento mentale più sicuro, sviluppare nuove prospettive di lavoro e a come si possono sostenere i movimenti ecologisti. Le organizzazioni partner che hanno preso parte durante il progetto erano: “Manfred on Tour” dalla Spagna, “Asociatia de tineri din Ardeal” dalla Romania, “Lumen” dalla Croazia, “YC Bulgaria” dalla Bulgaria, “People to People” dall’Estonia e ovviamente “Acarbio” come associazione ospitante e organizzatrice. Questo progetto si è svolto in uno dei posti più conosciuti e suggestivi del sud Italia: a Paestum, conosciuta in tutto il mondo per essere uno dei tanti patrimoni UNESCO in Italia in cui si possono visitare le antiche rovine della “Magna Grecia” tra cui il bellissimo “Tempio di Poseidonia”. Ritornando al progetto, sin dal primo giorno si è notata una grande grinta e voglia di conoscere e partecipare. I primi due giorni sono partiti con normali attività di conoscenza per facilitare il dialogo tra i partecipanti e la creazione di team più forti e fiduciosi, in ordine da creare una buona cooperazione per facilitare lo scambio durante le attività. Una delle attività più coinvolgenti per esempio è stata la “Caccia al tesoro” per le vie e il centro della cittadina in cui i ragazzi hanno dovuto portare a termine alcune sfide o compiti; in questo modo i ragazzi non sono hanno passato un’ora divertendosi e aumentando la collaborazione reciproca, ma anche conoscendo un po’ la città ospitante. Tra le attività più significative e che hanno avuto al centro proprio la tematica del progetto sono state sicuramente la presentazione e la storia del “Re Fiascone” l’antica varietà di pomodoro della Costa d’Amalfi andata quasi perduta se non fosse stato per alcuni contadini “custodi”; e la realizzazione di un proprio business che avesse un motivo ecologico o sociale. I ragazzi sono partiti da un semplice foglio di carta chiamato “Business Model Canva” in cui hanno espresso tutte le loro intenzione su come avviare una propria impresa eco-sociale, dalla idea base alla creazione di relazioni di partenariato passando al come poter pubblicizzare la loro azienda. Non potevano mancare alcune visite guidate, come quella avuta ai famosi templi, ma anche ad alcuni esempi di aziende che hanno deciso di avere un impatto positivo sulla natura con un occhio di riguardo ai problemi sociali, come “Il Forno di Vincenzo” o come l’azienda agricola di albicocche di Antonella Dell’Orto, dove si può adottare, tramite un sito web, un albero di albicocche e si posso avere foto di tutto il suo ciclo annuale ma anche i suoi frutti! Alla fine di ogni giornata ci sono state le serate interculturali, ogni giorno per un paese diverso in cui i gruppi di paese hanno mostrato i loro cibi e danze tipiche. È stata una fantastica esperienza in cui tutti i ragazzi oltre a divertirsi hanno raggiunto gli obbiettivi previsti dallo scambio e hanno ricevuto lo “Youth Pass”! Il progetto si è infine concluso con un’ultima serata dedicata ai ragazzi in cui vi è stata la partecipazione del gruppo folkloristico “A’ Paranza ‘ro Tramuntano” dove Isidoro, Raffaele e Gianluca si sono esibiti con musiche e balli tipici del sud Italia, dando la possibilità ai giovani partecipanti di gioire e di godere la nostra cultura!