Tag Archives: Amigos de la Vela Latina

Six weeks: The taste of sea and fire

I’m now in Cartagena for 6 weeks and slowly I’m getting to know the city, the organization and the people here. The last few week are getting busier and busier and I am getting the basic idea of how will the work in summer look like.

During these weeks I’ve been embarking on several missions. In the port I’ve been helping Viktor to repair and renew his love – Annamarie. I was filling the cracks in the wood with the putty (masilla) around the boat and Viktor was polishing the old paint of, so the boat can be fixed with the new protective coating. After the working sessions we usually went out for a beer. On one of these occasions I met mister Agustin that is currently in Cartagena, but lives in Lanzarote, Canary islands. He expressed a wish to have a volunteer also in his organization. Before I got this EVS confirmed, I was planning to go to Canaries with the help of a website that connects volunteers and organizations that need them – workaway.org. So I was happy to send him a link to the page. Through it he’ll hopefully find some people that might be able to help him. If not I just might go there for a month or so after my work here is done.We also started the work in the library in the social center of Santa Lucia. Our first task were to start cataloging the donated books to the database so we’ll later be able to lend them out to people. We also started with the scheduled opening hours for the library. The library will be opened every weekday except Monday day after 4pm.
We also had two courses. The first one was held by Gines and the topic was graphical design and the tools for it. We learned about Indesign and Photoshop, about some basic design ideas and other thinks one should be careful about when designing a poster or a similar material. The other course was about sailing and lateen sail boats. I’ve already written about this course, so I won’t go into details here.  Even though both courses were in Spanish, I managed to pick up some new information and I’m happy that I participated on them.In the last weekend I did my first escape from Cartagena. I aimed for Valencia, where I wanted to check out the festival Las Fallas. Valencia is a nice city and I’m happy that I saw the hassle of the festival like Fallas. However I might want to go back there when the cruds of crazy people go somewhere else.The day after I came back, we went for a sailing trip with schooner type boat (golleta). The wind was low and the sea was just a bit wavy, but it was smooth sail. Unfortunatly we weren’t able to turn the engine of, because it can be moody and not start again. We didn’t want to stay out of the port, so we didn’t risk it. I hear that there will be plenty of more opportunities  to sail in silence.

Settling in, going to school and painting a boat

Ena izmed nalog, ki so del mojega prostovoljnega dela tu v Cartageni, je tudi EVS dnevnik. Tega naj bi pisal približno enkrat mesečno. Prvih nekaj zapisov bo v angleščini, kasneje, ko se izboljšam v moji Španščini, pa upam, da bom lahko kaj napisal tudi v španskem jeziku.

Tu je torej prvi od teh zapisov:

First week on my EVS was comfortably slow. I arrived to Cartagena on Sunday, 8th of February, late in the evening. I met one of my co-volunteers, as the second was not yet in the city. I settled into my new room and than we went out to see the city and have our first caña y tapas.

The day after my second coworker arrived. During the week we got familiar with the neighborhood that we live in, learned a little bit about Amigos de la Vela Latina, the organization that we’ll be working for and had a tour of the city.

We also had our first working experiences within the project. On Wednesday afternoon we drove to Los nientos, where our organization has some of it’s boats moored. One of them is an old fishing boat that was donated to the organization. It used to be a motor boat, but now it’s being renovated and turned into a lateen sail boat by the members of the organization. The plan is to go north with it sometime in the early spring, so it has to be ready by then. This requires some basic maintenance, like painting all parts of the boat, but also some more serious modifications. The opening where the propeller used to be has to be closed, the keel has to be lowered and strengthened, the motor and the opening that it sat in has to be closed, the mast has to be prepared and set in place … The volunteers were working on the simpler part of the operation. We had to paint the mast, the boom, the rudder and some other parts. As the whole boat is made from wood, protection against strong sun and salty watter is crucial.

On Friday, we got the second taste of our work here. We went to a local school, where we had presentations of our home countries to the kids studying there. The school is in poorer part of the city, so some of the kids there don’t have as many opportunities as the rest of us. They might not be able to afford to travel around and meet people from other nations, so this was one of the rare opportunities for them to hear about our countries directly from their citizens. It was very lovely when one of the girls came to us after presentation. She told us that she moved here from Ukraine and was thrilled about listening about our countries. This kind of feedback was a great reward for the hours spend preparing the talk.