Portrait of the month: 4 scouts at the Belvedere (July August 2022)

Hello, who are you ? Introduce yourselves

Salomé : We are the scouts of France, we are three coming from Puy en Velay and one from Montpellier. I am Salomé, I am 22 years old, I am studying pharmacy and I have been in the scouts for about nine years.

Hélène : I am Hélène, from Montpellier, I am 24 years old, I am a specialized educator and I have been a scout for more than ten years. 

Guillaume : Guillaume, […] I do urban agriculture in Lyon. I have been in Scouts since I was 10 years old, I think.

Clémentine : My name is Clémentine, I am 22, I am in training to be a specialized educator and I have been in the scout movement for about ten years too. 

What was the project when you came here ?

Guillaume : We all are scouts leaders and we wanted to get […] together to build a project, as we can do in the scout movement when we are 18 years old. […] We were a big team and it was one year and a half of hard thinking, we got together every two months to build the project.

Hélène : We are part of a Scout branch, we did not come without anything, we were trained, accompanied to go to Romania.

Why did you choose Romania and Emmaus ?

Clémentine : When we got together, everyone gave fields of projects that they wanted to live. There were a lot of projects that turned to ecology, so we wanted to go to Europe because a lot of the team didn’t want to take the plane. We contacted the Project Country Mission Officers, under Scouts of France, who can make the link with associations on site. The Project Country Mission Officers from Romania […] told us about Emmaus […] and we thought that it brought together all the desires of everyone […].

Hélène : Also we were a team of 20 at the beginning and Leïla who was our partner for Emmaus was ok so that is what stopped us on Emmaus […]. 

Guillaume : […] But the idea here was to say we’re going together no matter where we go. We really thought about what we wanted this project to bring to us personally, what we wanted to pass on to the other scouts when we come back and it is true that Romania, people don’t know about it. It was just happiness, we did not know what we were going to discover, we had no expectations.

What were your missions here ?

Salomé : We had a lot of different missions, every day it changed. We participated in the sorting of clothes on the Belvedere site and in Popesti a little bit, we could also sort dishes and unload furniture trucks etc that after are destined to the store, we repaired chairs. At the Belvedere, we also did vegetable gardening missions where we watered peppers, tomatoes… In popesti we also did vegetable gardening. Then, we could also meet the companions, share with them the meals, etc.

Hélène : We smoked sausages too. In fact, we help the companions in the daily tasks. […]

Salomé : We wanted to leave a trace of our time at the Belvedere and we thought to paint drawings in the container […}

Guillaume : In the idea that it can be continued […] It’s very simple so everyone can add his/her small contribution so that at the end it makes a beautiful and big mural.

Did you all know Emmaus in France ?

Guillaume : Yes Emmaus but not communities like that.

Hélène : I did, I know one community in particular because I did an internship on a farm. We were in a lot of contact with an Emmaus community […]. 

Clémentine : I knew the stores […] but it is true that I did not know at all how it was going, what were the missions within communities so it was a great discovery.

And what was your relationship to Emmaus, did you go to the stores ?

Clémentine : I am a fervent fan of Emmaus stores, I go every tuesday. […]

Hélène : I also used to go. In my work we accompanied our residents there that we welcomed and who were going to settle down […].

Guillaume : I admit that I am a big fan of costumes and disguises, this is where I find my nuggets to dress up.

Clémentine : It is nice to see the back of the set, it is not just clothes that are on a hanger and people that are in the store, there is a whole organization behind it, and it’s great […] to have been a part of that.

Guillaume : And it is a bit naive but me when I give stuff to Emmaus we think “everything will  be reused, no worry someone is dealing with it” […] When you look behind the scene, you realize that not everything is used […]. So you take some responsibilities. That was really important.

How was your welcome and life with the companions ?

Clémentine : Whether from the moment we arrived at the community in Iasi, the Belvedere or Popesti, we always had a superb welcome, even if it is true that there was often a bit of this language barrier. We felt a lot of kindness and above all we felt that it was a pleasure to welcome us, even if they did too much sometimes.

On Monday when we arrived […] we were told that we were going to spend a first week at the Belvedere […] On the weekend, we went to Popesti, we stayed there 4 days and on Wednesday we went back to the Belvedere […].

Salomé : I come back to the history of the language barrier, we do not speak Romanian at all […] but we realized that the companions really put their efforts to succeed in exchanging with us.

Guillaume : I just wanted to add that it is really nice to work with the companions, it facilitates the meeting. […] At the Belvedere, there is Costel who lives there, there is a beautiful relationship I think that settles and it’s nice. There is also the part […] that they did a little too much, we must also learn sometimes to accept to be welcomed. 

Clémentine : […] We really thank everyone, the volunteers because they made us super comfortable, the managers and the companions. […]

Guillaume : Also […] we sorted out a lot of things and it’s directly burned. We don’t see that in France, […] it is burned anyway but we don’t see it. […] We don’t know if there are waste sites in Romania, we don’t know how it is managed. […]  We were thinking that it’s paradoxical with what you are putting in place on green gardening or collecting things. We are not used to seeing the other side of the scene.

What are your plans at the end of your mission, will you stay in Romania, go sightseeing or something ?

Hélène : […] On Saturday, we all go to Cluj, we spend the weekend there. Monday, Clémentine and Salomé take the plane to return to France and we with Guillaume will stay a few days to visit […] Romania and we go back Friday by bus.

Salomé : After in France, we will do a  project feedback to show our friends but also […] to the young scouts to show them that we can go, that this is feasible, that we are living a lot of incredible things without going too far away […]. 

Hélène : And with a very small budget !

Clémentine : We did not come like “four buddies who think that it’s nice to go to Romania on a project”. We are really going with the Scouts and Guides of France. Also, we want to thank the association Inima which is an association that no longer exists today and that donated to us their funds. It was an organization that took clothes from France to Romania […] and which was affected by our project because it was quite similar. It is thanks to them that we could have go so we thank them.

What was your favorite moment for each of you?

Salomé : The whole trip was amazing […]. I really liked the last night of the weekend in Popesti, Andrei put on music and we all stood up to dance […]. We had a great time, we saw that the companions were too happy and so were we.

Hélène : […] I will tell the moments at the Belvedere when the companions leave in the evening, those moments with Costel when we sit down to play guitar […] Yesterday, when we were painting the mural he came to sit next to us […] and by the glances and the laughs we interacted […]. And watering the peppers in the evening, the light was beautiful, it was a beautiful moment.

Guillaume : It was also good for us in the middle of the project to go to another place, I really liked the atmosphere of Popesti, it was really relaxing. We were daily with the companions even in the evening so we spent long moments discussing at the table. We talked even if we didn’t necessarily understand each other. The games were also important.

Clémentine : The first day we arrived, Guillaume had brought his guitar, he started playing in front of Florina and she was quite amazed. It is one of those times when you don’t need to talk, with smiles and looks we communicate a lot more.

Anecdotes ? About Emmaus, Romania…

Salomé : So one evening we were with Costel and we were talking […] I wanted to ask if he liked being at the Belvedere and I had learned that “ iubesc” meant I love so I said “te iubesc” (that means I love you). Costel started laughing, it was quite uncomfortable.

Hélène : The meal is very different from ours, it is to feed and not to share. In Popesti, the meal, it is 5 minutes. However, there is a lot to eat, and they spend a lot of time in the kitchen. […]

Also, we used a translator application to ask Costel questions, but we did not think he was going to answer orally in Romanian and we were not going to understand anything !

Clémentine : There is also the strong differentiation between Guillaume and us girls, it was thoughtful but it was weird for us. […] And then the carriages ! For us, it is old times… and for Guillaume the future. There is a real village life, people eat outside, go cycling… It’s a pity that village life was lost in France.

Salomé : And then there is the kindness of the people. In Emmaus of course but also on the bus to come to Romania, everyone cared about us.

A word for the end ?

Clémentine : Thank you for the welcome, for the good times, we got a great experience that we will share with everyone and especially with the young people we work with. […]

Guillaume : And thanks to our great Clémentine, we have videos every 3-4 days that are sent : projet_esarfa on Instagram, you can follow us. And above all, THANK YOU LIFE !