The Kolibris 2018
This is us. The Kolibris (hummingbirds). Young volunteers in Sieben Linden.
A volunteer year or any kind of “gap year” is much more frequent and normal in Germany than in Slovenia. In Germany, various forms of long-term volunteering inside the country are available to young people. Here, in Sieben Linden, we have FÖJ volunteers (Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr) and BFD volunteers (Bundesfreiwilligendienst). The FÖJ is for young people aged 16 to 27, and the BFD is not age-restricted. There is also us (Klara and I), we are supported by the EU, doing a European Voluntary Service (EVS) or European Solidarity Corps.
At the moment there are eleven of us, but August is coming fast. “Old” volunteers will slowly start leaving the nest in Sieben Linden and the new ones will arrive. Six Kolibris will leave in August. Before the winter comes, three more are leaving. Two girls will stay longer.
We, the Kolibris, are different but still very similar. I do not say that we are all very strongly connected to each other, but still – we are connected. We are neighbors. We live together. We know each other. We are different but in we live in peace. We got used to each other. We share the Kolibri kitchen and the Kolibri-Platz and we share the work during working hours (garden, kitchen, guests). On Thursday afternoon we have Kolibri-Nachmitag and in the evening sometimes JuLe-Abend.
The fact that we are all young volunteers in the village and that we all have a “gap year” connects us. Year for processing, thinking, questioning, searching and answering. Sometimes a debate with someone who understands is the best memory that’s left for you at the end of a day, a week, a month or the whole volunteer year…
Anyway… we are good the way we are! I want to keep us all in mind. Us 11. The Kolibris 2018.
Annika (25) works mostly in the office and some time also in the Guest Team. She is very hard-working, proactive, competent and responsible. In her free time, she likes to play the piano and dance. She has knitted woolen socks for all of us, she makes excellent chocolate and is a very positive person. She really likes it here and she will stay in the village. She will work on a project to educate people how to reduce the individual’s impact on climate change.
Christina (18) also works in the office and some time also in the Guest Team. She is kind and quiet and also very hard-working, competent and responsible. She likes order, organization, structure and good technical equipment (e.g. mobile phone). In her free time, she likes to go cycling and she can also sew (she also made curtains for my Bauwagen). =) In autumn, she is going to study sustainable management and currently she is busy with arranging everything for her new student apartment where she will live together with her girlfriend.
Elisa (20) works in a forest kindergarten in the village. Children in the kindergarten are from 3 to 6 years old. Be it summer or winter, regardless of the weather, children are outside. Every day from 8.00 to 13.00, only the worst cold can bring the group into bauwagen. The bad weather does not bother the children. They’re used to it. Adult people often mind the cold, the children do not. Elisa otherwise loves cooking and reading. She likes cycling and yoga and she likes to sing. She is also interested in rituals, femininity and psychology.
Evita (29). Me. Hm. Well … I am an EVS volunteer. I work two days in the Guest Team, two days in the kitchen and one day in the garden. I spend my project time on writing a blog and doing everything that comes along with the blog: photo, video, Facebook and Instagram. I like taking a walk in the woods and I also like sitting in front of my computer. I will stay in Sieben Linden until the end of October and then I will go back to Slovenia.
Hanna (20). She is the most important volunteer in the Guest Team, since she is doing all her working hours there. If necessary, she paints the rooms or varnish a Bauwagen. She likes to swim and to sing. She loves dried mango. In her free time, she is Lukas’s nanny (babysitter) any she says that she is happy to be his “older sister”. She will stay in Sieben Linden for another six months. Once, I was fed up with everything after a difficult day in the Guest Team, and Hanna, with her understanding manner and her experiences with the guests, brought me into total laughter. Bravo Hanna! Thank you!
Jeremy – Jeremiah (21) works in the garden. During the winter months, he worked in the forest. Jeremy is our DJ. Usually we listen to his reggae or some other of his music. He often rubs his beard and says, “Ja, gute Frage.” (“Yes, good question.”) =) He likes baking cakes, and he also likes caring for the plants at our Kolibri Platz. He spent almost two years in Sieben Linden, but now it’s time for him to move on. He will go where the road will take him, with a backpack on his shoulders, hitchhiking and visiting communities and eco projects. In the future, he wants to find a community where he can live and work. I really wish him good luck and many good people on the way.
Jonas (19) is an artist, a musician. He plays the violin and the piano and he loves classical music. He does his voluntary work in the kitchen where they preserve fruit and vegetables (Einmachküche). This means washing a lot of jars and helping Tatjana making spreads and marmalades. He has his characteristic “Jonas” humor. “Guten Morgen” is his favorite greeting and he uses it all day long. He knows Sieben Linden since his childhood, he has been here before making FÖJ: for holidays, seminars, summer camps, etc. In autumn, he will start studying music and mathematics (pedagogical) and he will undoubtedly visit Sieben Linden again and again.
Klara (22) is an EVS volunteer from Sweden. She works in the same three fields as me (guests, kitchen, garden). In her free time, she likes playing the violin, drawing, dancing, running, swimming and so on. She likes spending time outside, in fresh air, and she likes sports. In autumn, she will start studying music. Klara is close to me. She is a nice girl and, in many ways, like me. In the beginning, we were talking more often because we were both “new” and because she liked to speak English with me. Now I can really say that I will miss her. I will always remember one evening when we had a chat in the Sonneneck attic (at the laundry). And another evening, just before I left for my holidays at the Ostsee, very late, she knocked on the door and brought me a handmade gift and a 4×4 game with drawings. Zilan was also there, both times. It was very nice. Just being together and talking. Sweden, Slovenia and Turkey (Kurdish part of Turkey). Good memories =)
Malte (21) has just celebrated his birthday. Like Jeremy, he works in the garden, and in the winter, he worked in the forest. I admire Malte’s will to cook. Although lunch and dinner are always available in the main kitchen, he often cooks. He also cooks for others if they are there at the time. When he cooks, he does it with some kind of peace, care and pleasure. It is not hard for him, he seems to love it. I did never really cook for myself in Slovenia. Maybe I was too lazy or I just didn’t care enough. This is something I could learn from Malte. He also takes care for the plants at our Kolibri-Platz. In his spare time, he is learning how to play the guitar. One more memory: we were once collecting potato bugs and larvae in the garden. This is not a very nice job, but it was somehow funny to do it together. Malte made it funny.
Sebastian (34) is the oldest among us, he also just had his birthday now, in July. He volunteers in the Guest Team and in the garden. BFD volunteers can choose to have fewer working hours, so he chose to work only 25 hours per week. In his free time, he is tutoring math in the nearby town. He is a doctor of mathematics, but you would never guess it. He loves cycling, playing volleyball and playing the guitar. He also likes to help people. Community, ecology and sustainable living definitely are his values. In the future, he is planning to teach mathematics or work for a sustainable bank – depending on the job options.
Verena (28) is my roommate. We’re sharing a Bauwagen. She volunteers in the kitchen and in the garden. She works well, she is competent, confident, and she likes challenges. She is really good at cooking. She is not just an assistant in the kitchen, she can also cook a dinner for guests on her own. She is also a master of raw cakes. She has been doing yoga for many years and occasionally she also prepares yoga lessons for us. Besides that, she has also learned to massage. She can do Ayurvedic or lomi lomi (Hawaiian) massage. Since I received a massage from her as my birthday present, I can say she is good. =) Verena has a lot of life wisdom and a lot of experience. I admire her attitude towards life and people. She finds something good in every person. She can feel the people, she knows how to give an advice or a critique and she is a warm person. She sometimes tells me to “just let it go” and accept and enjoy life the way it is. She says, that everything is a gift, even if it hurts. It is just there to teach you something. I could (should) learn to have more of this attitude. Verena is going to visit me in Slovenia. =)
That’s us. The Kolibris 2018. Many will leave in August, and new ones will come.
When I wrote about Klara, I also mentioned Zilan (20). Zilan comes from the Kurdish part of Turkey, and she lives here with her sister, nephew and niece. She is not a Kolibri volunteer, but she was part of the Guest Team. She showed me how to clean the rooms and taught me the first important word for cleaning the rooms – der Staubsauger. LOL. It’s a vacuum cleaner. Zilan is definitely a very friendly and very social person. She knows how to give a compliment and she understands me very well, if I sometimes say that, after this year, I will never ever be a cleaning lady or a maid again. LOL. He, he. Zilan knows. Her good will is spreading around, which is definitely very good for me. Zilan ended her volunteer work now and in autumn she will go to nursing school in Berlin.
This is us and these are our stories. The Kolibris + Zilan.
Boys and girls, men and women,
goodbye, thank you for everything and good luck.