On that 2nd of February I boarded my plane from Rome direction Letiště Václava Havla to start a new life experience as an EVS volunteer for INEX-SDA (indeed I must admit that still to this day I must make use of the acronym as I still can’t pronounce these Czech words!).
My role here in INEX is that of volunteering for the Fotbal Pro Rozvoj team, a project born from the understanding of the powerful tool that sport can represent in combatting discrimination, ostracization and racism; in building bridges and teaching values of global education!
A little foreword about me should introduce you to my initial excitement regarding the project as I too, with my brother have initiated and organized a project called Football for Africa (FfA), our very own way of learning and giving back. Born from a volunteer experience in Kenya, my brother and I created and fundraised for FfA to learn about sustainability in Kenya, to aid in the construction of sport fields, to distribute sports material, to fundraise for toilets and to initiate a reforestation program in the area of the Tsavo West National Park, a little barren corner of the world very dear to us. With the sponsorship of the the Italian Lega Pro ( second football league), FC Juventus, SS Lazio and AS Roma we were able to achieve all of our goals. The latter is all to emphasize the love I have for football in particular and to share my conviction in regards to the powerful tool sports can represent in all socities: a tool to teach, a tool to learn and a tool to share global education values. As you can deduce, I am indeed very excited!
The project’s values, being the ones I share, were initially a great call of attraction, but once Damiano (my EVS colleague) and I entered the office of INEX we immediately felt welcomed into their own family feeling aura. As I write, we are already half way through of fourth week here, and these first weeks have been filled with meetings, explanations, crash courses and introductions. Only now is my desk chair starting to sit comfortably, as I too, start to have a feel for my position and my role in the office.
Against the backdrop of all this information, Damiano and I have also been very busy settling in our new home, our new city and our new life, each in our own little way. After having spent sometime meandering through the streets of Stare Mesto and Mala Strana, having climbed the Clocktower and made my way to the Golden Lane in the Pražský hrad, I feel like I’m starting to get to know the city better, as well as the Czechs. I have learned that they are not Eastern Europeans after all, and do not like, much to my dismay, trdelniks (chimney cakes) since they emphasize that trdelniks are not traditionally Czech, but rather a tourist trap and invention. To that may I elegantly and teasingly add, who cares? I love trdelniks, have loved them since the first time I came to Prague in 2006 and will love them forever more! On a side note, please understand that the first thing that I sorted out in Prague was not a bank account or a phone number: no, it was a Gym membership. I can’t allow my love for chimney cakes to degenerate, and let’s end with a funny fact that both Damiano and I come from Italy, so our house can easily become a pasta and pizza factory too! More updates to come about the experience of an Italian EVS in Prague soon to come.