Before you dig in

The following text was written entirely by the Polish team that recently participated in an Erasmus+ project in Italy.

Their words and impressions mirror the tangible and intangible aspects of such projects in a beautiful and authentic way that we couldn’t miss the chance to share that magic with you. 😊

New year, new adventures

A new year, and new adventures that we would not be ready for.

At the beginning of the year, we participated in a project named „From Dots to Lines”.

The title does not say much, but at the same time amazingly conveys the aim of the project. In the small beautiful Italian village of Castagnetoli, we had the most wonderful time of our lives.
Let’s go back to the beginning.

When we arrived we didn’t know what to expect because there were little to no pictures on Google Images, so with a slither of hesitation we arrived at this old house, already full of people.

The first person we saw was, of course, the most weird-looking bald-headed guy – Francesco. Soon after that, we discovered that he was one of the most fantastic people we had ever met.

That day we realized what this project was all about. Francesco introduced us to the family and besides the regular members, there were also people whom Francesco’s parents had opened the house for. People who came from difficult backgrounds and were struggling for their whole lives could find peace and love in this house, and most importantly they could find their family.

Forming a community

Throughout the next few days, we focused on getting to know the people who were participating in the project. All of us were there for different reasons, but as we found out later on we all had something in common – the need to be part of a community. We realized this due to the stories of the people who opened up to us about their lives. During that week, we were involved in different activities that were supposed not only to bring us together, but to also help us to understand the situations of the members of the family.

Everything was done together. We laughed together, we cried together. Only to understand the purpose of this project.

To additionally immerse ourselves in the community, we were divided into smaller groups and took turns taking care of the space where the activities were held, and cleaning up after meals. This gave us a feeling of being involved, and being part of the existing community.

At each lunch and dinner we ate together with the residents of the house, talking with them, even though we didn’t know Italian and they didn’t know English. We managed to communicate and bond with them, even despite the language barrier.

The activities conducted during the project let us discover the importance of belonging to a community, even the smallest one. Many introspective activities encouraged us to discover ourselves a bit more in the simplest ways. Feelings of safety and understanding allowed us to freely express and share our, often very different, views on what is right and what is wrong, what makes us feel understood and what we can do to include those who are outside of the community.

What we’ve learned

We’ve had a chance to learn about the idea behind this special house, discovered what beekeeper’s work looks like, tried honey straight from the hive, heard six moving stories and shared what is most important to us. We’ve spent endless hours playing table football and singing songs, fighting for any remaining wifi to find the lyrics and chords. Throughout one week in that small village many new friendships began, many tears were shed and many kilograms of pasta were eaten with great joy.

The project is co-funded by the European Union as part of the Erasmus+ program.

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