Monday, December 1, 2014

My Spanish Journey and the village i will never forget

In this article I would like to tell you about the journey I had in Spain this summer. I spent two wonderful weeks in the heart of Galicia region - Quinta. For me this tiny village became the center of the whole Spain and the initial of my wonderful trip.

My Journey started in the middle of August. My friend and I decided to go to Spain as volunteers. Being a volunteer is a good possibility for Georgian youth to go abroad. Once you have the official invitation from the international organization, you have more chances to get the VISA in your passport. Once you have this stamp, you are lucky to go to your dream country, meet interesting people, explore new culture and practice the language you are interested in. 

Travelling to another country especially to the one which is far away is expensive, but when one goes as a volunteer, trip is cheaper, sometimes even free of charge. It often happens that hosting organizations are covering all the expenses including the travelling fees and the accommodation fees. In my case the only thing I was responsible for was the flight ticket. I was comfortable with that.

In Quinta, our hosting organization was one of the most reliable and well known youth organization in Spain. It was inviting the volunteers from different countries every year. The aim was to develop the rural tourism by promoting the local area which was almost abandoned from people. This year the camp consisted of eight participants, three from Spain, (Xoel, Coldo, German)two from Italy,(Monica, Lara) two from Georgia (Kakha and I) and one from Germany (Sarina).

The work for volunteers was pretty hard. In the beginning of the day we had to take care of local rural area, pick up the rough grass, though out the stones from the river Donsal and clean the route. Most pleasant part of the Work camp were the evenings and the weekends. That was the time when we, volunteers were meeting the local people. We used to drink some wine, eat traditional food and simply have a fun. But the joy in Quinta came to me much later, the beginning of my trip was not as easy as I expected it to be.

My first few days in the village were pretty difficult. On my way to Spain I expected to live in the center or at least close to the center of a populated city, but instead of that I appeared in the heart of the abandoned village with no shops, no markets, no entertainment places. I lived in the shared dormitory with firm iron beds which were so uncomfortable to sleep on. The work in the camp also seemed hard. I injured my hands and legs while cutting the thorny grass outside. In addition to that I started to suffer from allergy because of the wrong climate for me. There was no internet connection and I lost the contact with my family. I became bored, depressed and finally decided to leave.

On one rainy morning I woke up early and went down, to the house of the president of the organization. The only person I expected to be awake was Antonio, but I was wrong he was sleeping. His 90 years old mother has welcomed me instead. She was peeling the haricots and looked like she has been waiting for me for a long time. 

Serafina was the honor member of the organization. She was old, middle high woman with brown colored hair. Her eyes were narrow but very deep. Her face was white but full of wrinkles. First I had a sense like she could hardly see me and hear me, but soon I realized that she was observing all the emotions on my face and hearing all my ideas in my head. Serafina was a very smart old Lady.

She started to speak with me in all sincerity. Serafina told me how the idea of the work camp was born and how important it was for Antoio and for her whole family. ‘’The project is the ray of hope that one day Quinta will be united again, full of youth full of those people who has left the village and went to the big cities to find a job and better living conditions. We volunteers need to promote the village, take care of the area and attract the tourists. We need the international society to know more about Quinta, it is wonderful village full of potential. People should know that.’’

Ever since I Came to the camp I was thinking that my hosting organization Castano Y Nogal had different grants from other big organizations. And it was obliged to provide the comfort for the volunteers, but soon I found out that the main sponsor of the camp was the pocket of the organizations president and the situation we were living in was the maximum of his possibilities. 

Antonio was respectful man in the village. He was a man of middle height with a gray hair. He had a special sense of dressing. His clothes was clean and perfect even in the woods, while cutting the thorny grass. Antonio was smart, he had good sense of humor and he loved to talk.
For him the dignity mattered most of all. Apparently one of his main goal was to save his native village from the depopulation. With the camp he was challenging those people who didn't want to live in the village any more. He was trying to show that if volunteers from different countries were coming to Quinta, why the local people could not live there.

From time to time I started to appreciate him. I realized that he was a big patriot, lover of his land and the fighter of his goals. I wished to have the same people in Georgia to care for the villages which are totally empty from population. One man like Antonio, can be good for the village, two men like Antonio can be good for the city and three men like Antonio would be pretty enough for the development of even the country. I believed in that with all sincerity.

After the conversation with Serafina I started to evaluate my residence in Quinta in different way and appreciate the benefits of living there. Quinta was a village full of colors, brightness and joy. It was located in the middle of the mountains, surrounded with the river Donsal and the woods everywhere. On the mornings the village was covered with mist, the air was clean and fresh. In the nights the village was hidden in the rosy stars, silence and calmness. 

The ground was rich. It was full of harvest, all kinds of fruits. Pears, apples, peaches, apricots. The edges along the village were covered with red, sweet rasberries. Picking them was one of my favorite job in the free time. I as a volunteer had a lot of free time, but the locals not. They were working all the time, As nearby there was no shops to buy the products they were trying to do everything necessary with hands. They were baking the bread in the oven, making the milk products, sausages, ham. The way they were doing the meet was special, despite the thing that I never eat the meet. 

During my stay in Quinta I saw that the main summer goal of the residents in Quinta was to help Antonio in fulfilling their common Goal. Promote the village and show the society that the village was still alive and didn't deserve to be abandoned from people.

All the people there had their special duties in the work camp. Some people were helping with the cars as the transportation of the volunteers was a problem. We didn't have money to hire the cars or buses. Some people were organizing the traditional fiestas to entertain the volunteers. During our stay we have visited many cities of Galicia including Lugo, city surrounded by the cement wall, built in the middle centuries. We have visited the most beautiful city of La Coruna, place located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. A lot of historical places, famous museums and monuments that made our trip unforgettable. 

In Quinta I was convinced that no allergies, no iron beds or even the broken toilets matters, if the people are friendly and united. In Quinta i was convinced that human relationships are most valuable thing in our life. It is amazing, I was the first one who wanted to leave the village earlier, but as a result I stayed longer than anyone else and fully enjoyed with the last moments there.

Nini Japaridze

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