Frieda in Skopje, Nordmazedonien // Abschlussbericht

“You can fix it” my colleague encourages me, looking at the missing letter “ц” in the word “акција” (action). I stayed in the office longer than usual, to finish the banner demanding climate action now. The withdrawal of concentration is showing. 

About a week later, children paint trees and crossed-out cars on the same banner. It is our event for climate action in the city park. Attracted by the live music of a young band, passersby stop and I quickly hand them a leaflet. I wrote it about climate myths in English and my colleague translated it into Macedonian. The work that we put into this event was showing. We organized speakers, small green businesses, a vegan food truck, face paint for children, and a workshop for making seed bombs. We promoted it on two Morning Shows, on social media, and with posters in the city. 

At times, I was more scared than excited about the turnout of the climate rally. Now, I am back in Germany and when I get asked about my volunteering work, I first think about the process of organizing this event. 

The team dynamic was changing a lot while I was in Go Green. Especially around the winter, I didn’t always know what I could do or was frustrated by my ideas not working out. Near the end, I felt more supported, seen, and needed. I enjoyed spending time with my colleagues. I would recommend my organization to those who like freedom and being spontaneous. 

I didn’t realise the impact of my experience in Skopje on myself until I was back in my old environment. Here are three practical things, that I learned: 

  1. A quick call is much more efficient than emails.
  2. If I hesitate while saying something uncomfortable, my message will be lost.
  3. I have to prioritize instead of taking on every task. 

I tried to seize every day in my last time in Skopje. I visited museums, hitchhiked to the mountains with friends, and paraglided. We also went to Skopje Pride, my first outside of Germany, and were happy to see how many people attended. I turned 20 and celebrated my birthday in our flat. My final project was a Podcast with an expert on the lake Ohrid, which I recorded in his house next to the lake. I learned about landscape fire management and got an insight into how organizations like Go Green create projects, budget, and apply for them.

The three things were easy to name and it is nice to think about my experiences. But I would lie if I said that I learned to deal with stress, found myself, and became confident, self-organized, or a good communicator. I certainly was exposed to situations, where these things were required. And that means a lot to me. 

Nine months was a perfect length for me, I felt ready to move on. When the day came to say goodbye, I was not sad. It did not feel like leaving something behind, I realized how many special people I have gained around the globe, and how many small things I learned. This is exactly why I decided to participate in a project by the European Solidarity Corps. I strongly recommend it. 

Frieda verbachte ihren Freiwilligendienst bei Go Green, ihr Projekt wird ko-finanziert von der Europäischen Union.