My ESC Volunteering in Slovenia – “Untangling the knots”
My name is Sajma Kapić, I am 25 years old, and I spent two amazing months in Slovenia.
Ever since high school, I’ve wanted to move somewhere and see what it’s like to live in another country with a multitude of different cultures. Since this is not so easy to do, I decided to volunteer in BiH, which brought me a lot of knowledge but also friends that will accompany me throughout my life. This was evident in February of this year when my very good friend has already sent me an advertisement for volunteering in Slovenia. At first, I liked what it was, and I took it as a sign that I had to apply. Once I had sent the application Miloš from Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) contacted me very quickly and then all of the important details were clarified at the Zoom meeting, and I can freely say that we sailed into the project together because Miloš was there for me 24/7.
Alongside my cousin, I arrived in Leše, the village where we were going to be living and we were immediately welcomed by existing volunteers who offered to help me. The first week was a challenge, I even thought for a moment that it might not be for me and that I should return home. Then as early as the next week, Eldin arrived, and we developed a special friendship and leaving was no longer an option. If anything was a problem we liked to say, “I had someone of my own”.
Every day we had new activities and through the activities, we got to know not only each other but also, ourselves. Hank and Barbara, a married couple who were also our hosts, tried to help us in every possible way, and to make every activity even more interesting. Since I am a person who loves paperwork and administrative work, my favourite part of the project was when we went to work at Caritas. Although at first, it looked like a simple job, when you saw the bigger picture, we did a lot of work for the good of society, which is sometimes not very easy.
In addition to Caritas, what impressed me was the work in the wildlife shelter, as I am a big animal lover. I was glad to see that someone cares about animals that others would not even think needed help. There was a very special moment with animals when a new kitten, Miško, arrived after maybe a month. Miško brought us all a great dose of happiness and responsibility. Most volunteers cared a lot about Miško and because there was a new addition to the project, we all learnt something.
After only a month of living in Slovenia, it could be said that I have completely adapted to life and that I have started to consider it a new home. All the unknowns and differences in culture and way of life have disappeared. More precisely, I accepted the good things and rejected the bad ones. In addition to discovering myself and researching what kind of person I am and acquiring new knowledge and skills, we also discovered Slovenia, and to a lesser extent Italy, particularly Venice. As for Slovenia, Piran remains in my memory the most as a very beautiful city and we had an unforgettable stay there as a group.
After we saw off the old group of volunteers, it was time for new volunteers, who came to us from Georgia, Albania, Ukraine, and Italy. Adapting to the new group was not so difficult, probably because we have been here for a long time, so we were actually “home”. The second month passed even faster, and soon it was time to go home. Leaving did not feel real, not even when I was sitting on the bus to Bosnia. I felt like I was leaving my home and going to visit somewhere, but of course, it wasn’t like that. Coming home and getting used to life at home took about 2-3 weeks, and the desire to go on a new project, meet new people and cultures awoke in me. I will be forever glad that I chose Slovenia as my first destination for the project, and I will be very happy to return to it one day.