EVS from Comrat: Adventures in Portugal
Hello everybody! My name is Marat and I am from Comrat, Republic of Moldova!
I am currently in Portugal, working as a volunteer in a project that was promoted and approved by the European Voluntary Service. Portugal is a sunny country, with very friendly people. The program duration is nine months, from September 2016 until May 2017.
The name of my project is “EVS On Top of the Hill,” located in the “Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros.”
And I’m not the only volunteer. I also work and live with Francesca from Italy and Bohdan from Ukraine in a very small village – Chãos, a town of only 170 inhabitants.
Our project’s main goal is to monitor flora and fauna and assist beekeepers in collaboration with the cooperatives “Terra Chã” and “Rancho Folclórico de Chãos.”
We sometimes attend events promoted by the folkloric team “Rancho Folclórico de Chãos.” We learned folk Portuguese dances and then followed the group to different regions of Portugal to participate in their festivities. “Rancho” hosts festivals in different villages, where they organize dinners for all of the attendees, and the different folk dance groups perform for the crowds.
We have also participated in more personal and small-scale projects. Since September, we have painted a beekeepers atelie in front of a Primary School, polished and varnished trees for an exposition in a cooperative restaurant, planted flowers and trees around a weaving house, assisted a local guide to work with tourist groups and climbed with a professional tutor and kids.
In November, I began holding boxing lessons 2 times per week for anyone from Chãos and neighboring villages interested in participating. In January, we began working on a Youth Exchange project under the guidance of Erasmus +.
Through the EVS program, we attended the on-arrival training at the beginning of October in the city of Braga. We are also required to attend a mid-term training. This training was held at the end of January 2017 in the city Guimarães (its historic town center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check it out!).
Besides our weekday activities, we also have amazing weekends, ripe with opportunities to travel. Hitchhiking is the best way for volunteers to move (we’re able to save a lot of our pocket money this way). So far, we’ve managed to visit the following cities: Porto, Braga, Lisbon, Peniche (on the coast), Santarem, Porto do Mos and our regional city Rio Maior.
Welcome to Portugal!
I am thankful to the Miras Moldova team, which helped to me to find this project and support me. Thank you Nadya, Olga and the volunteers who inspired me to go abroad!
For more information about the organizations I’m working with: