Two months of Arcadie and Felicia in Poland

What we are about to tell here is the story of two young people who, two months ago, embarked on, what came to be, a life changing journey. This is a story about how 13 people from various corners of the world got together to create a small community built on love, acceptance and support. To each of us, CampoSfera wasn’t just a place that created the perfect environment for self-reflection and expression of the inner self. Rather, CampoSfera could be best described as a state of mind and soul, individual to everyone who has lived through it.

Inspired by the environmentally friendly philosophy of the organization, we decided to opt for less polluting means of transportation. In the end, it took us about 24 hours to get to the place where CampoSfera was hidden, the tiny village of Klimontòw, located in the south of Poland. Though our journey to Poland tired us, the following morning we were pleasantly surprised by how diverse our group was and we were also quite impressed by stories about the journeys of other people, some of whom took up to 10 days to get to CampoSfera!

There was an unusually warm and welcoming atmosphere in CampoSfera which made us feel like home from the moment we walked through its gates. The house where we were hosted used to be an old school, which has been turned into a living space, a quite creative one too. The house had a large, beautiful green space around it, including a permaculture garden, a place for bonfires and the perfect spot for admiring the beautiful sunsets of countryside Poland. Living in a small community, rural and remote, gave us the opportunity to focus more on establishing deeper connections with nature and the people living with us, as well as explore ourselves and our creativity.

As this project was linked to event organizing and the theme of sustainability, our tasks through the weeks included preparing ecology-related workshops, posters, decorations and games for the festivals around our area. It all started with a harvesting festival, Dożynki, where we got the chance to present Moldova’s winemaking traditions through our “WINELAND” model. The next couple of weeks were followed by more events such as Nida Festival, where our group kayaked to pick up the garbage from the waters of the Nida river and Klimontòw’s own ecological festival, for which we crafted various fair games out of recycled materials.

The festival that stayed with us the most though, was Dalej Się Nie Da, which can only be described as pure magic in the woods. It is a festival that cherishes love and tolerance, and which places great emphasis on the relationship between humans and nature. During those few marvelous days spent in the heart of nature, surrounded by beautiful people, we learned various crafts, we cooked delicious meals and we came together at the end of each day to create beautiful music that was coming straight from our hearts. Dalej Się Nie Da was the place where each of us felt accepted, the place that didn’t leave room for anything else but love.

We took an immense dose of positive energy and inspiration from the people we met in the festivals we organized as part of our volunteering. Yet, we didn’t forget to give back, and on the fourth week in CampoSfera, we got the opportunity to visit and help Ardashir, a local farmer. As Ardashir was not only an experienced farmer but also a biology teacher, this experience once again offered us more than we were able to give, as we learned about how the woodland ecosystems work and got to try farming practices such as mulching.

Towards the end of our volunteering experience we also participated in a few protests that took place around the area where CampoSfera was located. First, in Kielce, we joined the global movement of school students demanding action to prevent further climate change known as Fridays for Future. We were amazed by the level of involvement of the local community and the support that the movement received from the people of Kielce. Shortly after, we took part in another silent protest in Kraków. The protest addressed the issue of exploitation of carriage horses by touristic companies for commercial purposes.

This project offered us plenty of unique activities but also free days, which we used to explore Poland. Thus, we were lucky to catch the last days of sunny weather to visit the beautiful Tatra Mountains. The massive ridges tested both our strength and courage, just to leave us in the end with some of the most unforgettable memories of our lives. We also had the chance to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp, or rather 2 camps. The sights of the suffering and pain that we saw there offered more insight than any history book ever did about the inhumane treatment and genocide of mostly Jewish people that took place during World War II.

These 2 months in Poland were packed with the most memorable, unexpected and extraordinary experiences that an Erasmus+ project could ever offer. We greatly value the involvement and support of ADVIT throughout the project and the dedication of CampoSfera to making this an unforgettable experience for both of us.