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A little less than 9 months ago I arrived in Greece in Drasi. My stay here will soon come to an end, that's why I'm going to tell you about my adventure.
The first months, I was well welcomed and prepared by the European volunteers but also by the Greeks who are an integral part of the project. My work consisted in taking care of the animals: feeding them, catching them to change the cages as well as assisting Sophia (the veterinarian) in the many cares given to the animals.
The first months I was very involved, I learned everything very quickly, I asked a lot of questions and soon after my arrival in the center everyone trusted me.
Apart from the Greek volunteers who came only for the "shift", many European volunteers arrived for a period of more or less 2 weeks each time. So we lived in Drasi for 2-3 people all the time.
But very soon March arrived and whoever said March said corona and confinement. Only a handful of Greek volunteers could still come to the center and of course no more European volunteers in Drasi besides me. Our days were very long. I started at about 10 am and finished at about 10 pm. The break point is that the days went by quickly and I never had time to get bored. Several times a day I had to wean a fox and several martens. Which is an incredible chance!
I also had to face another problem during the confinement, my hair! So I left this job to a professional, Sophia the veterinarian! Well as I just said, she is a veterinarian! But I must admit that she's pretty good at it.
In June I was able to go home for 3 weeks of vacation. I was able to spend time with my family and friends.
But 3 weeks goes by quickly and I'm back in Drasi for another 2 and a half months of work.
Two new volunteers came to join me, you will surely see their post on the blog soon!
And to finish this adventure, all the volunteers gave me a pleasant surprise in a tavern in Thessaloniki to celebrate my departure! We spent a great evening, while respecting the distances to secure unfortunately! And for even better to finish they offered me an exellent pair of binoculars !!!
They must have understood that I wanted them as soon as I kept asking for them like a child when we had to release some animals or during bird counts!
And it's now in 3 days that I'm leaving home, and I'm starting to get a bit sad...
But all this to say that it was a great experience and I will definitely come back!
Thanks again to drasis and the whole team ! May luck smile on you!

 

 

 

 

Il y a un peu moins de 9 mois je suis arrivé en Grèce à Drasi. Mon séjour ici touche bientôt à ça fin, c est pour cela que je vais vous racontez mon aventure.
Les premiers mois, j'ai été bien acceuillis et préparer par les volontaires européens mais aussi pas les grecs qui font partie intégrante du projet. Mon travaille consistait à prendre soins des animaux : les nourrir, les attraper pour changer les cages ainsi qu'assister Sophia (la vétérinaire) dans les nombreux soins donnés aux animaux.
Les premiers mois, j'étais très investis, j'apprenais tout très vite, je posais plein de questions et peu de temps après mon arrivé dans le centre tout le monde me faisait confiance.
Mise à part les volontaires grecs qui venaient uniquement pour le "shift", de nombreux volontaires européens sont arrivés pour une période de plus ou moins 2 semaines à chaque fois. Nous vivions donc à Drasi à 2-3 tout le temps.
Mais très vite mars est arrivé et qui disait mars disait corona et confinement. Seulement une poignée de volontaires grecs pouvaient encore venir au centre et bien sûr plus aucun volontaire européen à Drasi à part moi. Nos journées étaient très longues. Je commençais vers 10h et je finissais vers 22h. Le point pausitif c'est que les journées passaient vite et que je n'avais jamais le temps de m'ennuyer. Plusieurs fois par jours je devais sevrer un renardeau et plusieurs martres. Ce qui est une chance incroyable !
J'ai aussi du faire face a un autre probleme durant le confinement, mes cheveux ! j'ai donc laisser ce travail a un professionel, sophia la vétérinaire ! Et bien comme je viens de le dire, elle est vétérinaire ! Mais j'avoue qu'elle c'est plutôt bien débrouiller.
En juin j ai pu rentrer chez moi pour 3 semaines de vacances. J ai pu passer du temps avec ma famille et mes amis.
Mais 3 semaines ça passe vite et me revoilà à Drasi pour encore 2 mois et demi de travaille.
Deux nouveau volontaire sont venu me rejoindre, vous verrez surement leur post sur le blog bientot !
Et pour bien finir cette avanture, tous les volontaires m'ont faient une agréable surprise dans une taverne a thessalonique pour fêter mon dépars ! On a passer une super soirée, tout en respectant les distances de sécuriter malheuresement ! Et pour encore mieux finir ils m'ont offert une exellente paire de jumelle !!!
Ils ont du comprendre que j'en avais envie à partir du moment que je réclamais sans arrêt les leur comme un enfant lorsque qu'on devais allez relacher certain animaux ou lors des conptages d'oiseau !
Et c'est maintenant dans 3 jours que je pars chez moi, et je commence un peu a devenir triste...
Mais tout sa pour dire que c'étais une super expérience et je reviendrais trés certainement !
Encore merci à drasis et toute l'équipe ! Que la chance vous souris !

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Hello! My name is Benjamin ROUSSET and I am a French volunteer in EVS for 7 months at drasi!
During my first day I learned how this space works with the other rather welcoming volunteers! The work is easy to handle, and it's very interesting.
to take care of turtles, from small birds to big birds like buzzards or owls!
Then me and another Belgian volunteer called Hanna before visiting Thessaloniki, which was a first for me with very nice places to take pictures!


Very quickly I started to love to go for walks around drasi, with Adénatos, Stef and Luna!
Who are the three dogs who live in drasi!

And I can't wait to continue my stay at drasi!

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The welcome seminar is kind of a “course” that all the volunteers from the EVS or ESC Project must to receive on its first month after the arrival. The number of volunteers assisting is variable, in my case we were 28 volunteers coming all over Greece. It took place in Thessaloniki center, in a hotel close to the city center, but the place change in every seminar. The first day was focus on the arrivals, check in and a little presentation. Some people couldn’t get there on time, so the presentation was shorter and the rest of the activities postpone to the next day so the rest of the people coming wouldn’t miss anything.

The hole week was planned full of activities. Most of them were games and exercises focused on what is volunteering, solidarity…

In order to know what was doing everybody in its own project, we had and activity where we had to make a poster with the explanation of what and where we are doing and then, in 3 different rounds, we had 10 min to explain to anybody that was interested our project. At the end, we didn’t find it enough to know all we wanted to know about each other’s program, so the truth is that we shared more interested info in our lunch/diner times and during night.

 

One of the best things of this 5 days at the hotel was the food. We had a free buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and as you can imagine, we ate each time more than necessary… Gosh I miss that food!

The coordinators wanted to focus in building a crew, so we spent the first 3 days exchanging info about ourselves and playing the typical games for breaking ice and finding stuff in common between us. Even though we got closer in our free time, when we could be relaxed and talk without a topic. I belive it's a normal thing to happen, isn't it?

 We also made a wall with or names, as a "post offcie" and durnig the week we were leaving messages to each other, some anonymous, but at the end we knew each other and we were able to say from whom we were recieving a note!

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The last two days were pretty intense and exhausting.

We had an outside activity, we were split in 4 groups, and the coordinators gave us one page full of exercises (pretty much of them taking pictures in touristic places of the city) and a second page which was and interview for Greek people with the intention of making us have a conversation with local people and know them better. It had bad luck, it was raining and cold, so when we had most of the answers and pictures, we just went to a coffee shop to sit and stay in a warm place (sorry for that, coordinators!).

During the afternoon and evening, the activities were focus on making a presentation about our outside experience at the morning and to discuss some topics. The debate was intense. They gave us different affirmations, with each of them you had 2 minutes to talk about it with a partner, and then we had to choose if we agree or disagree and discuss about it. I swear, if they hadn’t stop us, we could still be there giving our reasons!

At night, we knew one organisation that host a lot of international students were doing kind of a demonstration due to the violence against women. We went there to support them, and after that we had finally free time to spend together. There was only 6 of us volunteering in Thessaloniki, and they were the ones showing and leading other people to the best taverns and bars.

The last day, was the day chosen by the coordinators of the crew to talk about ESC. They try to explain what it is, how it works... They tried to give us tools for solving problems and information about the budget. By the time we were exhausted, barely focus to be honest. I wish we had this explanation at the beginning, when we were fresh and we could had ask questions during the whole seminar. As I understood, sometimes they give this info at the beginning, sometimes at the end, it depends each time.

After that, we had our last night together, and the next day one by one we had to say goodbye. Saying goodbye is always sad, but I consider myself lucky because of the people I met there. Some of us had the opportunity to stay longer, and we took it just to stay together a bit more. Since then some of us are still meeting, and now we have a reason to travel a bit more and visit each other!

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In my last day off, I was invited to participate in a bird watching route. Before I came here, I had never though about bird waching as a hobby, as a way to spend a day, but since I got to Drasi I havent stopped hearing about this activity, and after one and a half month I found myself willing to try it. 

We started the jurney early (not as early as they are used to, which is starting around 6am, but that's too much for my in my first day XD), and then we did a complet rout around a big lake, starting in a mountain and moving by car to the differents spots. It is amazing how people passionate in this is able to recognize any bird because of their sound or their way of fliying even when I wasn't able to see them. We had some cameras with us, and I played to take pictures and then trying to find the specie in a book with all the species you can find in Greece. We were focused on the small birds, so if you ever want to try, make sure your camera has a strong ¿objective? and you are able to cach them from a big distance.

Birds are more scared about people than cars, that's why sometimes we stayed inside the car. We also had a speaker, we used it to play natural sounds (like birds sounds) and waited for them to come. Sometimes it worked, sometimes the speaker scared them. You never know! Furthermore they never stop moving, can be really challenging to take a good picture.

Despite of my lack of experience, I think I took some good ones (thanks to the camera they lend me for sure), I'll leave them below. Judge yourself!

 

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How to reach us...

Google map: https://goo.gl/maps/N1SRq7wK2zz

We are along the cross street intersecting the side road of the Thessaloniki-Athens highway, at the 9th km, just before the Mercedes car dealership. Following this cross street, you can find us 1km ahead, towards the sea, just after the ZAK shoe factory.

 
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