2018 - SERBIA
Super start in Serbia
We began our journey in Croatia before continuing to Novi Sad, Serbia on the 5th of August. The team enjoyed a nights stay at a hostel before departing for Dom Veternik (an organization which cares for a variety of physically and mentally disabled people). We began planning our sessions for the Monday and were incredibly excited to meet the people associated with the three organizations which we would be working with.
We began each day with an early breakfast before starting the morning sessions at nine. The lunch break was great for charging up with food and sleep. We then planned our evening sessions for the Novi Street Kids, which started at five o’clock. When we did not stay there for dinner, we went back to the football pitch in Dom Veternik to share some quality time with the residents.
In Novi Sad we had two morning sessions at the same time, where the team separated and went to different locations. Three team members went to MNRO´s (which is a day-centre for mentally disabled adults), while the remaining four stayed at Dom Veternik for the sessions. We required different session plans for not only both places but especially in Dom Veternik for each half hour slot to suit the different people we would be working with. Although it was a challenge, to do this every night after a long day, seeing our hard work come into fruition was extremely rewarding especially when individuals who had not previously wanted to participate would join in with huge smiles across their faces. Both teams came back for lunch exhausted but having thoroughly enjoyed the games and ready for the rest of their time here.
Our evenings in Novi Sad were spent at Novi Street Kids, a charity that provides basic needs for the children of the Roma community in the city. Here as well as in the other two organisations, strong bonds were formed with both the staff and the children. On many occasions we were invited to stay and have dinner as guests with the children which was one of many highlights of our two weeks in Serbia.
It was hard to leave the organizations we had worked with for two weeks. We left our last session with the Novi Street Kids, and were informed that we had made a huge difference to the childrens life. We said our goodbyes and gave them our last hugs, before we got in the van and drove back to Dom Veternik. Although we were extremely tired from a long and emotional day, we wanted to play one last game of football with the residents and to make a mobile disco for them using the van. it was heartwarming to see everyone smiling so much and cheering as we drove onto the pitch and got out to dance with them.
Our time in Serbia was an incredible way to start our expedition. Although sad to leave Dom Veternik in the morning we were all ready to travel to Kosovo, to meet many more friends, and to make more people smile!
Joe & Gard