Labas(Hello) dear future volunteer in Šatrija or simply an interested person,
Let me share with you a little bit of my EVS experience in Šatrija and Lithuania.
You know I decided not to tell you just simply about my volunteer experience because in my opinion it is an extremely subjective path each person builds. It won’t be of a big use.
But I want to tell you about the most important: the biggest hidden gems of Šatrija. Its people. The rest is just an outcome.
Let’s start with Laima. She is the first person you will see every time you enter Šatrija. She knows the answers to nearly every possible question about Šatrija. She even can tell you where you were 5 minutes ago. I think the center will collapse if one day she decides to leave. ))) Kidding.
Next comes Vaiva. Officially my third tutor. Why third? Well that is another story. Let’s be back to Vaiva. I hope others won’t mind, she is my most loving tutor I had in these 8 months. She was a tutor-mentor for me. Caring, responsible and much more mature than her age is. She would take care of our experience to be nice and unforgettable, hence would initiate to take us to Green lakes for swim, or to the seaside so that I would have the chance to see the sea for the first time. And overall she was trying to do everything to fulfill my dreams connected with EVS experience.
Besides, you can talk to her about everything basically everything: arts, politics, social questions, education, philosophy, psychology, food and drinks and dances and travelling. Literally everything. She is really smart , intelligent and passionate person. And her laugh, oh my God, one of the best ones. The loudest and the deepest from the heart and lungs (of course after Olga, or maybe equal….) If you will be lucky enough to meet her, you will understand why I adore her.
Now Rima. The kindest person in Šatrija. It is not possible not to love her. She somehow managed to keep her inner child alive together with a mature and wise decision maker in herself. Everyone runs to her with their problems being sure that she will find the solution and will understand them.
Elvyra is the boss of Šatrija. Again with a kind heart. Very stylish and good looking lady. You will have very nice conversations with her in the kitchen.
Rimalda was the first person in Šatrija to greet me with Armenian music and Armenian greeting words. That was a touching moment. For me she is an example of a wise woman who looks far beyond and deep. She might not speak much but you will never hear anything unworthy to listen to. Her calmness is radiant. Her smile and calm eyes will always stay in my heart.
Rita is the busy bee of Šatrija. She is all the time doing something. Well she has to, she has the most responsible job there. She deals with Šatrija’s money and it’s documentation, a very complicated thing. It was always a pleasure to have talks with that silent and hard working and at the same time open and warm woman.
Lilia. Don’t be confused by her strict attitude. There is the kindest and very attentive heart behind that mask. Who is so attentive to details, that will care about your hairclip to be there on your hair or will turn on the AC before you arrive at work, so that you won’t feel discomfort and so on. I’ll tell you a secret about her, in reality she is the actual boss of Šatrija, yes, and also she owns the whole heritage that Satrija has. And believe me, she has everything. Can you imagine she even had a saree (Indian traditional dress) in her stock?
Finally, If you are lucky enough to have co-volunteer partner like Olga, you can be sure that you’ll have an EVS family standing at your back. The most supporting, caring, smart and at the same time very straightforward, a forever friend of mine.
Now enough of gossips.
Šatrija will give you an environment to build your own personal growth. It’s all on you. If you want to do something they will be happy, if not, no problems. As you feel comfortable. They will offer you to take part in the events and in activities they need help, but you are free to choose to take part in them or not. After all, you have to decide how you want to grow.
But Šatrija also has difficulties and one of its challenges is the lack of space. It wants to expand but no resources for that. So think out your project carefully to fit in the space, otherwise you’ll be frustrated. Another problem is the high turnover rate. Especially younger workers leave Šatrija quite often. This also harms the continuity and effectiveness of the projects. But on the other hand I was amazed by these young people’s courage and willingness to find their best path or even just to try themselves in different fields. Most of them are very flexible, easily adaptable and hard working.
You will read a lot about Vilnius and how to live there as a volunteer in a book “Survive in Lithuania during EVS”. I don’t think I can tell you more than is written in that book. It is a collection of tips from different EVS volunteers.
So to sum up, I left Vilnius, but took all these people, warm memories and beautiful places with me in my heart. They enriched me.
I hope you will also end up your EVS project RICH. Best of Luck!!