Cristiana Dițu | Romania | Short-term | Have Less, Live More + Hands-On Nature + Hands-On Resilience 2022
Hello everyone & welcome (back) to the IDC website – today you are going to hear my story as a short term volunteer in this magical place, so find a comfortable spot & grab your cup of tea.
Once upon a time, there was an 8 years old little girl that thought that she had her entire life figured it out – from what highschool she wanted to get into, to her dream job, from what her house would look like, to what kind of lifestyle she would follow; but, as she grew up & had her first glimpse of what interculturality means & how it feels like living such experiences, she realized that, in fact, this was her path – to fall in love with people & places, as an Anthropologist – or just as a quote written on the wall of her room says, “Love is the bridge between you and everything else.” (Rumi)
Luckily enough, she met an amazing human being that shortly became her mentor, that showed her the beauty of Erasmus+ life (both in the spotlight, as a participant, and behind it, as the team that writes projects together) & gave a sense to the lockdown. So, after graduating highschool, she decided that it’s time to stop talking & talking & start her metamorphosed journey inwards by choosing to take her time (one gap year, maybe more), one to introspection, with the aim of returning with more questions than answers, as well as finding cultural elements that I feel like they define me as a citizen of the world, by doing, by being, by experiencing as many intercultural contexts as possible, by the mottos of “Let the world change you & you can change the world” (Che Guevara) & “I did not come here to teach you. I came here to love you. Love will teach you.”
…but how did I end up in Lastours?
As a person who was raised in a quasi-reality in which the social and cultural conditioning reshaped the entire concept of spirituality and, thus, made people replace « collaboration » with « competition », « the importance of being aligned with your soul » with « the ego », « vulnerability » with « the shadow », a reality in which intellectual work is the only way to be successful and, therefore, happy, and both the transversal skills and spirituality have no value, hence, do not deserve attention or practice, I grew up to feel insecure and anxious when it comes to using my hands for a practical purpose and, over the years of being a volunteer at the NGO I am currently part of, in my hometown, I’ve chosen to stay behind the computer and gain experience in supporting, promoting, projecting & organizing, but not doing.
However, everything changed when we decided that we want to create a socio-economical center in a rural, remote area, surrounded by forest, as my mentor started teaching me about permaculture, gardening, community living, sustainability, resilience, self-sufficiency and care for the environment, taking care of animals and chores around the farm, alternative diets and healthy cooking, and I came to the conclusion that I really want to step out of my comfort zone and improve my limited transversal skills, by taking advantage of short term opportunities & gaining experience in another intercultural farm, as well as getting inspired to make it happen also in my community – and, as a chain reaction, I found out about “Have Less, Live More” project that fit my objectives & perspectives like a glove.