The Panathenaic Adventure…


As a sending organisation, we are so exiting to see Kaloyan’s activities in his project – “Activate, Cultivate, Thrive” – in Greece. The project started in January and he almost finished her volunteering. In this article, we want to share his volunteering activities and life experience in Greece.

December 2020. I was quite bored, looking for an adventure abroad to give me some excitement in the routine that got too gray. A few days before Christmas, I happened to find an European Solidarity Corps project, with Erasmus+, in Athens, Greece.
It had been a goal of mine for years to visit this place, to learn Greek, to meet my local friends.
After getting accepted, I cried from joy.
Things went to fast and soon I realized that it was not as simple as it looked like.
2021. New Year, new challenge.
January. With all the difficulties I managed to arrive on my destination. The first week was emotional, getting to know the participants, living all together, so many people from across Europe – we were 9 by that time, the last participant came later. About a week after getting used to our marvelous place, we had to move to another one where nobody had lived before. Life ain’t easy, just as you start to like something, you lose it.
As there were some things going on which I like not to remember, we had quite some free days… weeks (?), before starting our voluntary service. This was the time to get to know the city, to explore and to become at least a bit familiar to the society.

February. The first official working day. My department’s name is “Fabric Republic”. The idea is: we collect clothes from the whole country, we make a selection, then there are three processes: the recycling, when the clothes are not weareable. Upcycling, when we desire to use a neat material for producing bags and accessories. And the most important part, giving the good quality clothing to people in need: refugees, orphans, homeless, prisoners, hospitalised, or simply whoever has a hard time in life. So what are the activities connected to that textile cycle? My job consisted of many things, some of which are: washing and drying clothes, categorizing them, packaging, handling orders, speaking on the telephone ( in Greek, I shall notice ), taking and giving clothing from/to persons and organisations, driving a van, machine exploitation and support, client and company relations. All of this I managed to do thanks to our amazing coordinator, ο Τάκης.

As March, April, May and June passed, many surprises got on our way, some pleasant, others not so much. We kept learning more, acquiring new skills and attitudes. I personally got more used to the local life, trying out the cuisine, going to the beach and the mountains, visiting an outdoor cinema for the first time, doing sports, meeting various people from around the globe, dancing, going to different lessons, exploring museums.
It was all very intriguing, the meetings, the shopping with vouchers, the guests in our home, the events, the new perspectives.
As it is the middle of July, the end of our project, I am glad to say that I made a difference in this world. We helped so many people, dressing them up, literally.
I am Kaloyan Marinov Matekov (Калоян), a boy from Sliven, Bulgaria. It was a honour for me to take part in the “Αctivate, Cultivate, Thrive” project, organised by “Iasis”, from the 16th of January to the 15th of July. Thank you for reading this article.

The Panathenaic Adventure…