Unfading memory

Unfading Memory

Velizar Batakliev

(Bulgarian Youth Forum)

Hello, dear reader! I’ll tell you about an exciting adventure full of emotions, unforgettable moments, which created new friendships and unforgettable memories. Of course, all this happened with the help of Bulgarian Youth Forum and the “Erasmus +” program.
The whole beautiful challenge began in Bulgaria before the start of the “Stand up 2 hate speech” project, continued in Italy and will never end, leaving behind a memory that will not fade with the years. When I learned that I was given the opportunity to take part in a training course whose theme was against hate, I was delighted. However, Bulgarian Youth Forum has exactly such campaign against Internet aggression, and I have the honor to be part of it, to make presentations in schools and to introduce and inform the “future generations” for the violence and why not it is necessary.The preparations began with discussions, how to present our country, what methods and approaches we use to prevent hatred, how to present them to our friends from Italy, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Turkey and France. After we decided to do this, we gathered in a café where we could set up our tasks and talk in six eyes (the Bulgarian team was of three participants). This task did not take us a long time, we were rather talking friendly. In the end, everything was clear and it was only to wait for the moment we would leave Sofia and be off for the sunny Sicily with the enchanting town of Palermo. Almost all of our airplane travels were as planned. The only blunder was in Rome at the airport, when they kindly asked us to move around because the airplane waited only for us, it was a real honor for me, because so many people rarely mentioned my name, and at that moment the whole airport heard it. We finally got in the plane and we were happy to land in Palermo. We were the first arrived group before noon and we decided to walk around the city and look around. The typical Italian atmosphere made us a nice impression – small streets, lots of people, motorbikes, gossiping people. We ate a nice Italian pasta, looked at some of the landmarks we were provided information for, and headed for the hotel where we were staying. Now I will share a secret while looking for the place we left off, fortunately we were able to find ourselves with the help of the Emanuela – the project coordinator. In the evening, we met the other participants without those from Greece, who arrived the next day early in the morning.

On the first day of the project, we met and “broke the ice” between us so that we could work as a real team for the rest of the day. The second day was the most exciting for me, and I think the same referred to the others, as then essence of the project started, and for a nice end of the day the intercultural evening took place, during which each participant presented its country and traditional things for your his/her culture. During the rest of the days, we learned about the problems that each country has, everything about aggression, where and how it manifests itself most, what legal methods there are to combat it, and how we deal with it. We also managed to record videos showing different types of hate and we did it to show why it was unnecessary.

We walked around the city, touch the culture of Sicily, try octopuses, pizzas, spaghetti, ice cream, see a variety of beauties, we walked around the city together, got to know each other. After a week, not only did we accomplish the things set in the project, but we managed to make friends.

A group of strangers from so many different countries and cultures, of different ages, with different views of life and different perceptions about it, only a week later became friends who I had the feeling that I have known for eternity. This is the greatest magic that “Erasmus+” has in itself, the ability to create friendships. Unfortunately, everything was over, we shared with mixed emotions, we were pleased with the work we had done, but we were also saddened by the separation, so we promised to see each other, to visit at least once each of us and never to forget each other.