Till now, I have been a few times volunteer in my life. Though, the greatest challenge was two weeks ago, during 16-23 August 2015, when the hugely popular “Hungarian cultural days of Cluj-Napoca” was held. The chance of being a volunteer was offered me last year too, but I declined, due to the fact that I would not fit in the terms of doing this, mostly the lack of time. Soon I realized what I missed, motivating me to join this year. The reason: curiosity, I mean I wanted to see from inside how these big events are organized, and that it takes a big amount of energy, patience and attention to do this every hour of the week, not mentioning the average of 5-6 hours of sleeping per day. One week before the festival, there was a camp organized for the Hungarian days volunteers, which took place at SIC festival in Csomakőrös, with the purpose to prepare ourselves to what volunteerism means and what we are supposed to do. Besides that, we had the opportunity to meet new people, by creating a cohesive group, who would work together for a whole week.
There are lots of possibilities to volunteer from which youth can choose depending on their interest/profession, ex. medicine, emergencies, nature protecting, or event organizing, so they can get skill development. The last one, which I encounted two weeks ago, involves a big attention on the people surrounding us. I took part of a group, whose job was to run to different points in case they needed us to deliver, or build something, which were quite frequent, considering the few and short pauses we had during the day. I had been interrupted a few times, especially by tourists, asking about locations in the city, which was quite complicated, as me trying to focus on my work. The hardest task was on the last day, before the big shows started at the main stage, during which we set 300 chairs on the town square, because the interest for the shows that day was more from the old people, and we couldn’t let them stay on their feet hours long. As the evening came, following the rules, we were told to collect every single one. There were already like 5000 spectators and growing, and all the seats were occupied. Of course not a single person was happy, so the long quarrels began.
What I learned from these days, is the way we have to face strangers by keeping them happy of taking part in the programs, by maintaining order and comfort on the streets every minute of the day. So, my second thought of volunteering benefits is: we help others, we promote the goodness in the society, having positive effect on the volunteer and the person served. Also, a volunteer can observe from a wider angle the details of the job that his involved in, which is useful especially if in the future he decides to practice this particular work, by already having experience. I saw the restless work the main organizers were doing too, while there were programs which needed some changes and they had to take care of it immediately.
4th of September 2015
Lénárt Ernő, 20 years old