Ugur is an EVS volunteer at Zavod Voluntariat. In his free time he enjoys photography and travelling. In this post Ugur shares his experience as an SCI workcamp volunteer at Velenje during the Kunigunda Festival.
Velenje is the fifth biggest city in Slovenia and I was in this lovely city for two weeks as a volunteer. We were 6 people from different countries such as Russia, Turkey and Spain. Our main
task was to report as international reporters from the 19th Festival Kunigunda which was organized by the Youth Center Velenje. The Festival Kunigunda was an amazing festival which lasted from 19th to 27th of August 2016. During the festival there was variety of activities such as concerts, exhibitions, workshops and performances.
As all of us were in a kind of adaptation period, the first two days were more or less about getting to know each other. During the Workcamp we received some basic training about interview techniques, journalism, public speaking, video editing and shooting which were very helpful for all of us. Our first mission was creating a video (as a practice for all of us in terms of shooting and video editing) about stereotypes. As result we made this funny video, that you can watch here.
After that we separated into two groups. Our task was making a video about one of the exhibition of the Festival called ‘Theory #Velenje’. The multi-media artist Francisco Tomsich has investigated the history and future of Velenje through drawing, painting, text and video. If you would like to know more about this interesting exhibition please watch our video from here. The other group made a video about establishing of ‘Autonomous Republic of Kunigunda’ (ARK). “ARK is a territorially unified and indivisible democratic republic, the essence of which are mutual understanding and mutual assistance between its citizens.” So says the constitution of the ARK. After establishing that we even created an ID card of the ARK! During these productive times we shared a lot of knowledge among us and we really enjoyed it a lot. Some days we worked for hours and hours, but it didn’t make us tired as we were happy to work all together. And the best thing was supporting each other even for preparing coffee/sandwiches during these productive times. I truly enjoyed the team work that was built among us in a very natural way. And our camp leader Ana… I know she doesn’t like to be mentioned openly but without her our Workcamp would be incomplete, as she helped and took care of us like a mum during the whole Workcamp 🙂
Another great experience was the intercultural exchange. During the first three evenings we cooked traditional foods from our countries so we had the opportunity to share a bit of each culture. For instance, the Russian participants brought caviar, the Spanish chorizo and some sweets. Now I have a deeper opinion about the Russian culture and I have more knowledge about Catalans and their relation to Spain… One more thing… I really can’t forget the moment when I went to the kitchen for breakfast and all my friends were singing the happy birthday song for me in Turkish. It was a very big surprise for me as I was not expecting such a beautiful birthday celebration! All those beautiful memories will remain in my heart forever. I really appreciated the time that I spent with other participants who are now friends of mine. Besides, all of us know that from now on we all have each other houses in different countries. We also had nice visits to the coal mine museum in Velenje, the beautiful Velenje Lake where you can swim, the sea side city Izola and Logarska Valley where I was once more amazed by the beautiful nature of Slovenia!
During the Workcamp we attended different activities of the Festival Kunigunda. A lot of alternative music concerts – one of them was even in a cave (which was such an impressive experience for all of us), sound bath meditation (I almost cried at the end as I felt so relaxed), robots exhibition, aikido, capoeira and tai chi performances etc. I really appreciate the job of this festival organisers because they worked a lot and as a result we had a magnificent festival. They are going a great job with young people in Velenje and Slovenia! At the end of the day I am delighted for having contributed to their job, even if it was a small part. Here is the final video of our Workcamp, enjoy watching it and please spread volunteering all around the world because a small piece of job contributes to our world and we truly need it.