EVS in Kavadarci, Macedonia

Below we are presenting memories of our ex EVS Justyna Chmiel. She spent one month in Kavadarci in Macedonia.

Knowing in September that I will start my job in December, I decided to do something for myself. An idea to go abroad for an EVS project came to my mind since I have several friends who used to be ones in Poland. My roommate, who used to be an EVS volunteer for 1 year in Rzeszów, Poland, suggested some facebook groups to me. Browsing them I found an open call for a project in Macedonia and sent my documents as soon as possible.

Not a long time after that, I found myself in Kavadarci, Macedonia, in the organization named KreACTive. What hit me the most at first when I arrived in Skopje on 8th of October was wonderful mountains everywhere and sunny weather with ca. 26 degrees.Having arrived in the town I lived in, I got shocked. This was due to another way of ruling a town, here I mean rubbish, stray dogs and cats. I have never really got used to it, to be honest.

When it comes to my volunteer work, I had 2 friends I worked with in KreACTive: Maria from Estonia and Sam from the USA. On Mondays, in the evening, we used to go to kids with social risks, where we danced and played some games outside. On Tuesdays, I helped Maria and Sam with teaching English. Wednesdays we spent learning the Macedonian language and preparing art workshops led by Maria. Thursdays were all about morning visits to a day center for people with disabilities. They colored some drawings, made some paper art and danced with us at the end. Fridays were spent on a current work which should have been done and thinking of ideas for the following week. Apart from this, on my first Thursday in Macedonia, we went to Kumanovo for the race called Born 2 Run. Most of us took part in 3 km run, but some chose to run 10 km. We received designed T-shirts and small gifts. Moreover, one day I made a Polish evening presenting facts about Poland, promotional video, word puzzles, games, crosswords, Polish music, and traditional food: dumplings, compote, candy and homemade sausage, which was gone sooner than I expected! I was glad to hear people really liked the evening!

On weekends I traveled a lot, however, the first weekend I stayed in Kavadarci and went hiking on a nearby mountain alone, where I walked across the wineries and was amazed by the stunning mountainous view. For the second weekend, I decided to go to Ohrid so the weather would still be sunny. Taking a half-hour boat trip was a good idea that sunny day. I met very helpful hosts at my hostel and also two Turkish girls that I went to the fortress with. Next weekend I visited Skopje, the capital, with my colleagues, who showed me around as they already knew the city. We went to the Wine Expo with some music concerts. With friends met in my hostel I went hiking to the Millenium Cross on the Vodno Mountain and also saw the Matka Canyon. My last weekend I spent partly in Thessaloniki, Greece and partly in Bitola, Macedonia. I was so surprised to bump into my two American friends from the hostel in Skopje on the bus to Thessaloniki! We were walking around the city together with a new friend from my hostel there. We saw the sea, went onto the White Tower and tried some traditional Greek food, like gyros. In Greece, I attended my first Catholic mass during the 1-month stay abroad, along with a Polish girl I met. Had I left Greece, I went to Bitola to visit my friend from Skopje. We got to see the famous bazaar, beautiful City Park and wonderful views from the top of the mountain. I tried Caesar salad there which was nothing but delicious! Bitola was my last destination…

The project was coming to an end, so people asked me ‘What are you going to miss the most?’. Well, surely all the nice people I met, at work, at shops, at bus stations, at hostels, at the daily center… Macedonian food: ajvar, baked beans, Caesar salad, crispy chicken in Pub Blue… Always sunny weather – I have never used my umbrella there… Stunning mountains surrounding almost every city…

I’m happy to say that I became more independent, confident, open and more ‘me’ during this 1 month. Now that I’m back in Poland, haven’t started my job yet, but I’m planning to go for another EVS, maybe next year. As long as you’re young, travel a lot and get to see the world because later you would not have this chance…

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