Chiara Putaturo





My experience in Suncokret was the first working camp in which I took part and it was very positive. I decided to join it for different reasons. First of all I wanted to see directly how a NGO works and to take part in his activities: my studies at university are actually focalized on international development and cooperation and I would like to work with NGOs in the future. So it was a possibility to test my abilities in cooperating inside working groups and in relating to children. I wanted also to pass my holidays in a useful way, to spend my free time to help in something.

The Croatia’s choice wasn’t accidental. It’s a country, and in particular the Gvozd’s zone, that has known the war recently and so I felt that my help would have been really welcome there. And then I was interested in knowing more about the Balkans reality because it’s an area very next to me and it is very interesting in his complexity.

So I decided to leave, not without worries, but the atmosphere that I found there it was really unexpected. The first surprise were the children, that are extremely friendly and kind. A lot of times were they that looked for you just to exchange a few English.or in Croatian. I found them always ready to joke, curious, open-minded and also self -ironic .I would say that a lot of Italian children are really touchier and closer than them. And then they were so enthusiast to follow us also in the more hard works. It was a big satisfaction for us to be able to involve them in activities like a treasure hunt or mini-Olympics games. I personally didn’t expect to amuse them so much with a simple dance like “Macarena”: you need really a bit to make something special for them.

The work activities were sometimes a bit hard, also because the hot weather didn’t help us a lot, but I have to say that at the end, when we could see the Suncokret wall’s painted like a paradise, or the lake cleaned, ready for a barbecue for the next volunteers…all this was very satisfying. And then we were never alone, always surrounded by the Gvozd youth and by the other volunteers. We came from all different countries but we developed soon a solidarity spirit and a common humor. (For example the others laugh with me when I forgot to put the water in the coffee machine, destroying it!). The serenity that lies in Suncokret is first of all a quality of their organizers, Maya and Predrag. I don’t say that because they are maybe going to publish my article, but I’ve really admire them for their patience and willingness. I found them also very well organized and conscious about what they have done, they are doing and they’ll do.

This working camp was a very formative experience that taught me things that you can’t never received from a written book And it gave me the possibility to know more about my self and to meet a lot of nice people. Thank you to everybody.