Mary's SCI project in Great Britain       

London     London     

Hey everyone))  My name is Masha and I’m going to tell you the story about my journey, not a simple one, but the best journey I’ve ever had in my life. If I were to describe all my colourful adventures using one word, I would name them  “Dream”. And it’s really true because when I found myself in London I was amazed at the gorgeous and marvelous architecture of the buildings, palaces and especially The Houses of Parliament at night. It was like in the sweetest fairy-tale. I adored  London Eye and all the landmarks on my way, I appreciated every moment ‘cause it was the first time I could view the country I’d been learning so much about from inside. I spent only several days in England as a simple tourist since my main purpose of staying there was to participate in a voluntary project which took place near the city of Derby in the village called Etwall. I owe much to my boyfriend Yaroslav who advised to ferret out in the internet and find some work camps organized by SCI – Service Civil International, one of the largest international volunteering organizations which is dedicated to promoting a culture of peace by organizing international voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds. Volunteers can choose to participate in thousands of projects all over the world. I would certainly say that projects help to break down barriers and prejudices between people of different social, cultural and national backgrounds and promote a culture of peace. Svit-Ukraine is a branch of SCI which resides in Donetsk region, with the help of which I arranged my documents and organized my journey in a safe and exciting way.

     meditation centre  tara kadampa   meditation

 Well, speaking about my work camp I should say that I hadn’t really expected to find myself in such an amazing and miraculous place full of greenery, wonderful landscapes, golden fields of wheat, stunning vendure and peaceful corners of nature. Moreover there were volunteers from different countries – France, Spain, Poland, China, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Russia, Slovakia, Scotland, England, Italy and Portugal. While working we had a great chance to know more about other cultures and share experiences.  As for the accommodation , all the volunteers dwelled in Tara Kadampa Meditation Centre, the Buddhist centre, where we both lived and worked. Our task was to help to set up the festival for 400 people from all over the UK who were going to receive teachings of Buddhism and meditation. Every day each of us pulled a small stick with a special colour corresponding to each type of work. Most of the days I spent gardening, especially weeding and learning new English words concerning garden tools). In the evenings we had some social programmes about peace in the world, chanted prayers, Buddhism teachings and meditation sessions (of course it was not compulsory), we played quizzes, visited the village pub where we had an opportunity to improve our skills to play darts and billiards or just walked around enjoying the magic world of nature.   

           england    meditation   england

         england      england    england

During the first  weekends we dropped in the city of Derby, a small one, but very beautiful and out of common. While visiting Peak District, Mattlock Bath during the last days of our staying there four of us – a Russian boy, a Slovak, a Bulgarian girl and me suggested an idea of making several pictures of a striking castle on the far hill which was considered to be a private property. Unfortunately we didn’t notice the table where it was written: “Trespassers will be prosecuted” and penetrated inside. Nobody took notice of special movement detectors and we proceeded further and further reveling in the castle’s beauty until a security guy ran up to us shouting and threatening to call the police. Those moments were really unpleasant because never before I had seen such a furious  English man. Thanks God everything ended well and the man let us out.

    Frankly speaking I experienced such intense moments several times during my staying in England so that my heart pounded violently and my palms were sweating))

    England   England   hot dog      

On the whole I loved England and people there are very very friendly and smiling, but I still can’t understand some things like – why they use two taps instead of one in washbasins with cold and hot water separately, my hands were either burning or freezing,  I got to know that they eat much potato and pasta, drink much beer and spend more money on animals’ funeral rather than on human beings’. Furthermore I was charmed and fascinated by their fairy, peerless and delightful nature that inspired me and gave me food for thought. I’m very thankful to SCI and IVS(British branch of SCI) for accepting me in their work camp and giving the chance to get the most valuable experience and  to have cool friends all over the world)) I hope that I’ll be able to find a volunteer project in London during the Olympic Games in 2012. Looking forward to experiencing new adventures in my eventful life……)))))