Caro: We need to stop and think
Carolina from the Take 10 Volunteer January 2020 Team is one of the members who returned home after the temporary suspension of the programme. Until the crisis resolves she, just like the others is forced to wait with her project period.
We asked her how she is coping and now that she has the time to reflect on her experience so far what are her takeaways and learnings. What does she hope for the future and how has the crisis impacted her. This is what she told us:
What did you manage to get out of the three-month preparation period?
The experience of living in a community is perhaps what I took most advantage of and what I learned most from during my preparation period.
Living with people inspired me to become a better version of myself, as it allowed me to express generosity and be less selfish, less independent.
Now that the COVID-19 crisis has led to me being locked up only with my parents I had the time to reflect on my preparation period properly. I realize that life is so much richer when you share it with a larger community. It can be hard at times but it also means being surrounded by people that cannot only solve a practical problem you might have, but can also give you emotional support when you need it, encourage you when you are about to give up, or urge you to contemplate when you are being presumptuous or big-headed (that is often me).
How did the development of the COVID-19 crisis impact you and the project?
When we were told that the project was suspended, I thought of it as nothing more than an inconvenience. My parents were fine, already in isolation days before the Spanish government announced the state of emergency, so I wasn’t very much concerned. Later, as it developed and I learned that parents of friends and close people had died, I began to worry.
The project changed because each team member went their own way and we did not travel to Malawi and Guinea Bissau for the project period as we were supposed to. I keep the connection with my team and I hope that we will return to where we left off (or even in a better place) once the crisis comes to an end.
What are you doing now after you had to make changes to the project development?
I came back to Spain. The first two weeks I was in self-quarantine, alone in a borrowed flat and then I moved to my parents’ home.
The feeling of isolation and restricted freedom has upset me at times but I feel grateful because my close family and friends are fine and I have a nice home where I can distract myself and be outdoors.
What do you hope to happen after this crisis is over?
After weeks of humanity slowing down, the planet is recovering and showing us how much we have been exploiting and damaging her with our lifestyle.
Unfortunately, it will probably be useless because, when this is over, our lives and our freedom will return to normal, everything we miss now will be part of our normal life again and people will return to their hectic rhythm, their frantic shopping, overproduction and overconsumption.
I just hope that, at least, it will make us reflect on our ways of life, it’s proven that we can change them. And now the evidence that we absolutely must do it has become clear. Globalisation should be stopped and we should not go back to the pre-crisis production model, we should protect the planet. It is high time we started thinking about this.
Once the crisis resolves I plan to travel to different places to meet friends until the project is on again. If returning to the project takes too long, I will have to look for a house and a job somewhere but I have no concrete plans whatsoever.
After weeks of humanity slowing down, the planet is recovering and showing us how much we have been exploiting and damaging her with our lifestyle. I hope that this will make us reflect on our ways of life and urge us to change.
– Carolina, January 2020 Team
Living in a community thaught me a lot. It can be hard at times but it also means being surrounded by people that can give you emotional support, encourage you when you are about to give up, or urge you to contemplate when you are being presumptuous or big-headed.
– Carolina, January 2020 Team
Read more from the January 2020 team
“Making plans right now is really difficult. The project in Guinea Bissau seems only temporarily suspended but making long-term forecasts is very difficult and not very productive. We will have to wait and see.”
Back in her home town Granada, Cristina has had time to reflect: “The world is paralysed now. Maybe the projects are going to change and therefore we need to be ready for that and be resilient facing the difficulties.”
“I started this programme to change my life. I am still in that process of exploration and change. I have no idea who I will be after this is over or how the project work overseas will affect me or my future.”
“Perhaps we will go to Africa but under different circumstances and conditions. We don’t know which country we will be able to go to, which type of project, and so on. We will just have to adjust to the situation.”
“I am happy to continue to stay at DRH Lindersvold where I did my training. I still believe in an autonomous lifestyle based on my principles and I am happy to be able to continue with common projects in day-to-day life.”