On the 12th of April in the afternoon I landed in Bucharest, a few hours after the rest of the girls from the Slovak team. My plane was an hour late, so I got to Craiova, my final destination, later in the evening, even though the Romanian minibus driver broke half of the traffic rules on the way, speeding while constantly yelling at the other drivers, making funny comments to himself and amusing the whole minibus. I got off at a small gas station and realized I forgot to exchange money. One of the Romanian guys that was taking the same transport from the airport refused to let me walk alone at night, took on a role of a protective father, exchanged money with me, carried my luggage and we walked together to the nearest taxi station. He made sure the driver knew where to take me, paid some extra cash to get me there safe, smiled, told me to take care and ran back to the gas station to his family. What a kind, caring welcome I got to this beautiful country!
For two weeks in April I participated in Erasmus+ project in Craiova, Romania. I did not hesitate to apply since the topic of the course has always been close to my heart - social inclusion using non-formal educational methods, specifically theatre. During this project we mainly focused on kids with chronic conditions - a human health condition or a disease that is persistent or has long-lasting effects, from asthma through diabetes to cancer or AIDS. There were 6 other countries participating apart from Slovakia - Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and Macedonia. In the first few days we were exchanging topic-related experiences from our home countries, work, school or internships. We learned games and techniques that facilitate work with disadvantaged groups and also used our creativity to invent new ones. We even had an opportunity to put our newly acquired skills to practice right away when we spent a day in jail in Craiova socializing with the inmates - we played games, shared life stories, got new insights and a lot to think about later at home. Half way through the project, we spent four inspiring days with a Romanian professional, the best in her field, learning about sociodrama, methods of playback theatre, role play or living newspaper. We explored the city, different cultures, and our souls. Our Slovak group consisted of four girls, each of us different, and yet we got so close the others could not believe we did not know each other before. Friendships were not created only within the national groups of course, and soon enough, we had a big international family, all of us together. Everything is always what you make out of it, therefore in this project everyone could find what they wanted - life-long friendships, a fullfiling educational course for one person, a fun break for another, self-exploring or a complete disappointment. In the end it is always up to you, your attitude, and of course, the good people you meet. And this project was full of them.