Lina and Andrea’s experience: Volunteering in Italy

Meeting the Diramarsi Organisation, a group of young people who come together to fulfil a goal and help their community is inspiring.

Meeting the Diramarsi Organisation, a group of young people who come together to fulfil a goal and help their community is inspiring. We had the opportunity to share with them a difficult time, it seemed a challenge to have a cultural exchange in the middle of a pandemic in Italy, but the welcome made it unique. A time of many challenges, laughter, dancing, and above all a lot of community spirit and it was what we needed.
At that moment we had decided to adapt to what was happening and make the best of it. So we went into farming because that was what we could do without leaving the organisation’s house; we took care of the bee family, we wrote and applied “sustainable quarantine tips” and, while all that was going on, we got to know each other because ninety per cent of the time we were together.

lina andrea

The Change Making Tours project taught us to be sustainable travellers, to be able to support our community, to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our spaces

The change of culture at the beginning was a bit difficult, the food was delicious, the hospitality in Diramarsi was to be admired, and we really liked the fact that they included us to make decisions; even if it wasn’t something related to the project, we were participating in and that made us feel good.
Learning Italian has been super fun, and a bit difficult, and although we don’t speak Italian perfectly, we make ourselves understood and that for us is already gratifying.
Without expecting it we met a lot of people, friends of the organisation’s members and it was as if we had known each other a long time ago. It made us feel good. “Las chicas locas! [crazy girls]” they called us.
As soon as we could we went to visit Torino, and its museums, everything was different for us; the change was impressive.

In the period we were there, we received sad news, the death of a family member, and a not very good health diagnosis. This made us love the experience, we felt that we had to live every minute of our lives as if there was no tomorrow, although at the time we felt that the world was coming down on us, we decided to accept and heal.
Getting to know the snow was very nice, we felt we were fulfilling a dream, we didn’t care that it was cold, Lina didn’t want to leave, it was a very nice experience.
To Nicola, Filippo, Andrea. We thank them for every moment they took to teach us about agriculture, all the tips, although it seemed hard, it was very nice to go through all the obstacles we had in quarantine, because thanks to them we learned more.
Valentina, Lilly, Irene. A lot to thank to them too; they were very attentive, that everything was going well, they had a lot of kindness with us. Every time a season passed, they were concerned about our needs of clothes and other things.
To Valentina’s parents, Nico’s father y Fil, they included us as two more daughters.

And during a whole year, with covid restrictions, we were always working on agriculture and some projects linked to sustainability.
The Change Making Tours project, the volunteering in Italy taught us to live in community, to learn to work as a team for the same or several objectives, in common, to support others to achieve their objectives.
It’s funny, because in Colombia people don’t see volunteering as an experience, some see it as a waste of time. And we are very happy to have lived our volunteering in Italy and to realise that it is not like that, we can say that volunteering gives you everything you need to know about yourself and to guide you to a life goal.

We are used to live only our own reality and living other realities makes us aware that this is where the importance and the desire to change things is born and that is precisely what we need.
We live in a small community in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta in Colombia (Minca) where tourism has arrived very quickly and the local people don’t know how to handle it. The Change Making Tours project taught us to be sustainable travellers, to be able to support our community, to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our spaces.

Lina & Andrea