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A two-months volunteering experience on the other side of the world can be a life-changing experience: for me it definitely was, and I want to share my impressions with you.

Traveling to another continent was not something I was expecting to do this year: with a pandemic going on, I wasn’t even willing to travel to Europe. Despite this, when I was told about the opportunity to join the Change Making Tour, I couldn’t resist the call, and I left apart all my worries. After two months of volunteering in ParanĂ¡, I have no doubts that applying for this project was the right choice.

Filming an interview.

Fill your life with experiences. Not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.

When me and Gabriela arrived in Curitiba, we met Sandra and Mariana at the airport: we couldn’t even imagine how important these two people would have been to us. Sandra, director of the hosting organization Outro Olhar was our host in Brazil, and she was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. She explained to us the goals of Outro Olhar, how it interacts with other organizations, and most importantly, she introduced us to the Guarani indigenous communities. Even when there was something that made her nervous, or when problems arose, we never saw her enraged: she always smiled, knowing that for how big a problem can be, most of the time there’s a solution to it.

Mariana instead was not directly involved in Outro Olhar’s activities, but Sandra thought we wanted to make some friends in Guarapuava, and Mariana was definitely the best person for this role: she is enthusiastic, outgoing, and she knows everybody in the city. She introduced us to some friends of hers, and we all had a great time together at parties, pubs, discos, barbecues, and whatever funny place or activity you can imagine.

Visiting several communities (indigenous and not) was a great opportunity to see how fragmented is the society in Brazil, not just for wealth, but also for culture and historical heritage. And I’m thankful for each of these communities wanted to share with us their story, giving us another point of view on our “western” society that we usually assume to be the best one. In the past two months, we tried to share with you our experience by the means of pictures, articles, and videos. I hope we managed to virtually bring you to Brazil: we planned publications and shootings, we filmed every day, we edited videos, and for me, it has never been a boring work.

Instead, spending days working on what you like is exciting, and doing this work with Gabriela was a perfect combination of challenge and motivation. I won’t lie: there were moments when we quarreled a lot, but I’m so happy that she was my workmate, as we enjoyed our time in Brazil (we even went to Rio de Janeiro for a weekend) and we are still friends after this experience. I can’t recall how many times we laughed, how many delicious foods we tried, or how many kilometers we traveled by car (both on asphalt or dirt road), but there’s one thing I’m totally sure I never did: regretting my choice to apply for this project.