I have to write an article about the personal projects of the EVS volunteers at Minte Forte. And this is what you are about to read. An article about our personal projects at Minte Forte.
These are the few questions we answered about our personal project. We more or less follow them.
What is your personal project about?
What is your inspiration to do this topic?
What are the difficulties, the challenges you encountered?
Now, let’s talk about Zarja
My personal project will be one workshop. When I started to think about it I wanted to do something that could be used in a community, whatever kind of communities. So this workshop will be about compassionate communication, practicing empathy, communicating needs… this is my project about.
My inspiration for this project …After the EVS project I was thinking of how I wanted to live, and I want to live in a community with other people and animals and plants, and I thought of what skills would I need to be a part a community (I said communities many times already). I was also inspired by other people in Minte Forte that have knowledge and experiences in non-violent communication. And the giraffe in our toilet.
Which way are you using to approach this topic? I dunno exactly yet but it will be some activities about being empathic. I’m going to use reflection, guided meditation, movements, conversations…
I don’t want to admit I’m lazy right now. The difficulty I met, was, having the general idea of what I want, and then I had to decide in this very wild field of what I could do, I had to decide on specific things. This was a really long process, very very long process. Right now I have this challenge of how I can transmit to others the ideas that I want them to think about. I think another difficulty is about my self-discipline. For the workshop I need to read stuff, to develop it, and then I need to do it the time frame that is given.
I enjoy creating the workshop. The enjoyable parts are I see how an activity could be interesting or could work, and I find a way on how I want to transmit what I want. Another enjoyable part is talking to others that did something similar stuff in their past.
And what about Christina ?
My personal project is about emotions. It is a book full of questions about emotions without answers and it is in order to collect answers from all different kind of people. The questions in this book, for example, are like: how do you feel when you act according to your values? or how important emotions are for you ? What a perfect world be like?
What inspired my doing this project is my own confusion about emotions and how much they influence me. There are for me such a big influence and so… magical.
You can find this book at Minte Forte, and it is coming with me to parties or meeting and trainings. A first attempt was to let it at the Fabrica de pensule. At first, people working there said yes to let this book, but then the ones that are officially taking care of the space said it wasn’t possible. So I asked why and they said that the official people said no. It was there for maybe three days.
About my difficulties, soooo… I can see 3 difficulties: one is promoting it and offering it to the public and finding a space for the public (like a coffee or Minte Forte quarters), and also letting people know about the book. The second difficulty is to make people engage with it. I think some might look in the book but not have the pressure of leaving questions, and not taking the time to answer. Then another difficulty is for me my motivation to believe in the purpose of the project.
I generally have a problem to keep my motivation, this is difficult.
I didn’t feel like putting the book in other places rather than Minte Forte.
The process of creating the questions was enjoyable. I enjoyed to doubt so many things that are for me so omnipresent and usual. I enjoyed to think about what is an emotion and not just experiencing them without questioning them. I enjoyed answering the question for myself, because I wrote the questions thinking that I had no answers to them, and then I reflect about them and I found answers, like maybe not general answers but my personal answers to them.
There are my own questions that I have about life and existence
Another enjoyable thing is that the few answers that you got were inspiring and make me understand my own emotions
The feedback I got were nice as well. Some people told me they got more aware about how they treat their emotions.
The purpose of the book is fulfilled in every moment when a person is leaving an answer and is getting more aware or when a person is reading an answer and is feeling inspired.
EDIT the 28 of may 2018
Christina also make a workshop about connecting to your body through movement and dance, she said: it just popped a corn and then I’m really happy I did it, I had to do it and I will do it again”.
Mmh… I think, it is important and very good for us to feel closer to nature, I think it is necessary as humans, yeah. Also, I had a goal (I dunno if I should say it now) that creativity is not just an artist about painting and sculpture, you can be creative about anything. Like cleaning your house, you can do it in a creating way, I dunno, everyday things.
So, like, more, encouraged people to think in different way, not getting use to habits but trying to come with alternatives ways to do things, more unique to them.
So, first I was uncertain, a bit insecure, whether this topic will be relevant for people, possible to do with participants and with their interests, and yes I guess the struggle was I was discouraged because of this. I didn’t change my mind, I just at some point got like some motivations, like a burst of motivations, it pushed me to do it.
The extra motivation came from talking to Alex (our coordinator). We were talking about other things but they encouraged me anyway.
Overall it was challenging in the sense it relied on my initiative and sometimes I would prioritize other tasks before this one, so it became very long I was always mmh… not giving it enough importance.
I like the feeling of reward when I was, when I asked what did they get out of the workshop and listening to them and to their minds speaking and also , when I was preparing the day before I had to do the logistics and go to the forest and spend the day there, it was nice, haha.
The day of the workshop, so, we did some mindfulness exercises, individual exercises to forget, to leave behind our routine lives and the city and to ground a little bit with nature and then they had one hour to explore their surrounding and to use the resources that they had, leafs, stones and create something, like a sculpture, just create something. Before the creation process we set an intention for this and they had to create this thing while having this intention in mind. And then we had a discussion, a debrief and that was it.
After we finished the activities but then we still had the discussion, it rained really really bad! It was like, what do we do, do we stay under the tree, do we find another place, and I was undecided, and at the end we just stayed under the rain, participants were really glad about it and found the rain stimulating.
I felt a bit anxious at some point I tend to leave things for the last moment and this wasn’t any different, I did it a bit in a rush which made the process not really enjoyable, but after hearing their feedbacks I will make similar activities. I felt encouraged and motivated after the workshop.
An then me
So, Me, Cécile, I decided to do a personal project about theatre. At the beginning of my EVS, somewhere in October 2017, I was with Paula (a woman working at Minte Forte) stealing wood from the forest. And I said to her that I would like to do a personal project with plastic art, then I told her about my theatre bachelor degree. And she said” Oh, but why don’t you do your personal project about theatre? “And I said “No, I don’t want to” (in a friendly way). Then, I started to be in an improvisation theatre group at Actitudine and I thought” Okay, I would like to do a personal project about theatre”.
Then, I did a first workshop named “Having fun is cool” in November which was about having fun in a group of strangers. Then I did a second workshop named “What is your Inner idiot like?” in February which was about exploring a silly part of ourselves. Then, I did a third workshop named “Theatre of the oppressed: Empowering woman” in March. And I’m going to talk a little bit more of this third workshop, because it’s the one I preferred to create and to facilitate so far.
The “Theatre of the oppressed: Empowering woman” workshop was created to support the women’s march in Cluj the 15 of April.I worked in partnership with Comma organisation. I liked creating this web of actions between organisations and to be able to support them. I liked to rely on the volunteer Gabi at the Comma organisation and to work and debrief on this event together. The whole process of this event was stressful and helps me a lot to grow in my facilitating work. That was my most pleasant moment during my personal project.
So, thank you for reading this article.
Pop your corn too.