I recently enrolled on a volunteer project via Concordia in a beautiful little village called Maziers, France. There was a joint goal of the project; firstly to help the institute we were staying at fix up their river bed by the technique of fascine braiding, this in itself was rewarding in seeing the dramatic improvement to the function and aesthetics of the river. But what made it one of the greatest experiences of my life was meeting many new amazing people.
Firstly there were the other volunteers, who living with day in day out, sharing experiences, cooking, cleaning and travelling together with made a special sort of family, which felt broken as we all had to say goodbye on that last morning. Then there were the kids of the institute, who worked along side us and those with which we interacted with in animations/games or just chatting with after work or at dinner time.
There were the young people of the village, who seemed to be stuck in a wonderful dream world, chilling, talking or dancing at bonfires or barbeques deep into the night in a forest under the stars for what seemed like every night. We also interacted with the people of the village, consisting of no more than a hundred houses, there were delights like an international meal (prepared by the volunteers) welcome and leaving parties and general fun and festivity. The piece de resistance however was on the 14th July (the French national holiday).
There was a procession in the village, a firework display at a nearby village and at Fondrament probably the best evening of entertainment I’ve seen in my life, with a Ukrainian circus, Trapeze, Acrobats, really really bendy people, Singers, Musicians, Can Can dancers and others. When I think about the breathtaking scenery, friendliness of the locals, family atmosphere and satisfaction gained from a job well done all combined I have no problem in saying…..
Yes, I’d come again next year!
(Amir Quli,July 2005)
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