Two weeks ago Catarina arrived for her 6-month EVS in Tipu Nature School. It has been quite a big change for her from the suburbs of Lisbon to our small Tipu and wild Soomaa. It is great to see our place through the eyes of young volunteers, so much possibilities to be creative, experience and try out new things. Here she introduces herself and gives some first impressions of her stay in Soomaa.
I’m Catarina, I’m 22 and I came all the way from the other side of Europe - Portugal. The winds and tides brought me here some months after I graduate from University and for the next 6 months I’ll have the experience of working as a volunteer in Tipu Nature School.
During the last three years I studied Communication Design and, as unrelated as it may seem, it strengthen my relation with nature and flourished my interest for ecology. During that time I struggled to somehow connect with nature while I was immersed in the hastiness of life in the big city and the stressful rhythm of University. I was only able to do it mostly in theory through projects that would give me the chance to think about the influence that a close communion with nature can have in people and how it could contribute to solving some urgent problems with our environment. But now I am here and I have time. And really experiencing something is much different from theorizing about it.
In this first two weeks a lot changed. I came from a capital city to live in a house next to three others in the middle of the florest further than 4200 km from my hometown and everyday I have new tasks in Tipu, things that I have never done before. Everything here is different, smells different, sounds different and feels different.
Here I wake up with the sunlight on my face. Here I know the moon and the stars.
In the last two weeks I hiked for one hour through the meadows all the way to the forest to get wood garlic; and I felt the river’s strength while we canoed against the current along the Halliste. I saw a baby Bambi and even an elk. I learned how to milk the goats and cut their nails. I learned about chickens and their exhausting task of brooding.
And the best thing is, here I don’t see people rushing all the time from one side to another and yet I feel that so much is happening all around me - I was also very lucky since nature is so vibrant in spring.