What you can definitely expect in your workcamp: The unexpected. Mirjam registered for an environmental protection camp in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2020, as she is also very interested in this subject professionally. Like many things in this unusual year, everything turned out a little differently. Mirjam made the best of it. Here she describes for you what she experienced as a volunteer in a "green village":
"As I would like to reorient myself professionally to work in environmental protection and nature conservation, I was delighted when I spontaneously found the description of a project in the Czech Republic in a remote environmental education center.
The workcamp was to take place in a former, very old shepherd accommodation that had been redesigned. The fact that our workplace was relatively remote and in the middle of the wild nature of the White Carpathians on the border with Slovakia appealed to me. I was looking forward to relaxing there while working in nature and learning new things about topics such as permaculture and the native plant species to learn about local organic tea production.
But it turned out quite differently. The project location and the accommodation were changed at very short notice and along with it the content of our work.
The project changed from nature conservation to community work in the village. We did work outside in nature (mainly making hay and producing tea in a small factory hall), but the learning effect about environmental issues was relatively low. Fortunately, we visited the planned project on three days and were able to get some new insights into the planned topic of environmental education. For me, the focus of our project was directed more towards the other participants and the resulting group dynamics, which was also very enriching.
Since the village in which we now lived wanted to transform itself into a "green" village with a focus on nature conservation, sustainability and the preservation of the fruit trees typical of this region all along the municipality, a very modern environmental center had been built there.
One evening an art therapist visited us who usually gave school classes a haptic understanding of what can be gained from nature and why it is worth protecting. That evening our group had fun painting with different colored earths. We splashed around with water and reddish, yellow, black mud, trying to look somehow creative. I was very impressed by this project, in which colors were produced from these soils in cooperation with Austria and Slovakia to protect the different floors.
Although everyone in our group was currently resident in a European country, formany their first hometown was outside Europe.
So people from 4 different continents were represented in our group. I was very happy to travel to other countries in the form of talks, especially in times of Corona. About Czech Republic and Slovakia I learned that there are many cultural and linguistic similarities with Germany and that Germans are obviously not the only hiking freaks.
During the project, I quickly met some people who fascinated me with their way of life, their interaction with other people and especially with nature.
It was good to be around people I felt very much alike. Although we only knew each other very briefly, I was immediately recognized and respected as an important part of the group in a very natural, simple way. I was surprised that this can be done so quickly and how much power this feeling brings to the group and to you. Since then I've been going into new groups with more confidence. "
Would you like to read more stories from workcamps? Here you can find all reports from our volunteers.