Her name is Ivana and she is from a heart of Europe – Slovakia. She lived in Czech Republic last few years but now she is enjoying Bulgarian tropical paradise! Why did she move to Varna? What does she do here? See Ivana´s answers and read more about her EVS experience on our blog!
Ivka, could you introduce yourself to us?
Hello, I am Ivana, it is written that I have got a Slovak nationality in my ID, but I think of myself more as a citizen of universe and then, if necessary to state a nationality, Czechoslovak. Some people say my mental age is around 10 years old but who knows, maybe I have already been here for centuries. 😉
Why did you choose EVS? What was your main reason?
After years of studying and one year of full-time working experience I wanted to do something with a meaning (according to my criterias) and I also needed more time for my own interests. EVS was the easiest solution – you have more free time than full-time employed person and projects are (or should be) socially relevant with a purpose of common good.
Why did you choose Bulgaria and why exactly Varna?
I wanted to go volunteering to one of Balkan countries. A problem was that I was not looking for EVS projects in advance. In February I quit my job, in March I started to search for projects and I wanted to start volunteering in May as latest. If you have no plan, Bulgaria is a good choice, because it´s a country of improvisations. To be honest, I think I was lucky to find the project of Vasilica in the mood of last minute panic, because it matches some of my interests. Location near the sea was just a bonus.
What is a main purpose of Vasilica ? Can you tell us more about this organisation ?
Vasilica is a small organization which has 3 main types of activities on its agenda:
1. Donations to poor families (e.g. donations of clothes, school supplies, … );
2. Educational activities with children – especially creating little things (e.g. dolls, decorations, … ) but also other activities;
3. Creating things for selling as a form of funding.
A purpose of Vasilica is to help especially socially disadvantaged children and families and this is something very much needed in Bulgaria. An office is located near a very poor part of Varna with many people not only of Bulgarian, but also of Roma and Turkish origin.
How does your daily routine in Varna look like?
Well, I usually wake up around 5:30, after breakfast I read book(s) and I have got my first training. After that I do my volunteering job – most of the time I am with children doing creative and artistic activities, playing sport or games, learning or just spending time together. After work the second training (this is an ideal, sometimes I am lazy) and I read again, draw or just think and dream. It´s 23:00 and my bed wants to hug me. Whole day I am in contact with beings I love, otherwise I wouldn´t survive. Sorry, guys, I am not a party animal – but no worries, for that we´ve got other awesome volunteers here!
What are the biggest differences between Varna and a city you lived in before?
Last few years I lived in Brno, Czech Republic. A huge difference is poverty, which is bigger in Varna than in Brno. When I arrived in Varna I was amazed by horses and carriages you can see on a daily basis in the streets. A gypsy man, a horse and a carriage – this is a very romantic picture according to my mind, like the picture from the past when gypsies and horses used to be the best friends. Then you see a boy running after the carriage collecting rubbish instead of going to school or playing soccer. And if you look better, sometimes that boy hasn´t got even shoes.
People in Bulgaria are also different. When I arrived I thought everybody was shouting and everybody was angry with me. Later when I started to understand a little bit of Bulgarian I noticed they are just telling me nice words (well, not always ;)) in a very loudly way. I have to admit that even after 7 months I am not used to this style of communication perfectly.
Would you like to tell us something more ?
If you plan to stay longer time in Bulgaria and you are dealing with a question of life and death -´Should I bring my road bike with me or not? -, my reply is: Bring it! It´s possible to find good roads here and you will have a chance to explore Bulgarian countryside and magical villages with their beauties. (But be prepared for many punctures!)