The Community of the Arch house in Germany, Friedenshof Kommunität e.V., has been hosting volunteers from the European Union’s Erasmus + program since autumn 2018. The voluntary service, organised through the “European Solidarity Corps” (ESC), is designed to offer young people the chance to gain new experiences, to develop personally, to experience things on the international/European level, as well as gain a perspective on what they might want to do after.
We have partners in Slovenia and Spain who act as ‘sending organizations’. They look for volunteers and then prepare them for their stay in Germany. For us as a community, it is fruitful cooperation that broadens our international horizons. The volunteers are then integrated into community in all areas of life at Friedenshof for about a year. They work in the various community projects, take part in the organization and decision-making meetings, personal exchanges in circle talks, and in the occasional joint leisure program.
From October 2018 to September 2019, we welcomed Ana from Slovenia as the first volunteer. The second volunteer, Noemí from Spain, has been here since September 2019 and will stay until September this year. Her practical tasks and activities are very diverse. She is involved in working with the sheep, learning how to milk them in autumn (and will again take up in the spring). In housekeeping, she takes care of guest laundry, weekly lunch and cleaning of various common areas. She participates in the environmental group, which works to make community life even more sustainable, and in the forest garden group, which plans to transform our field into a forest garden and takes the first steps in practical implementation.
Of course, it is also very important for her to improve her German (which was pretty good from the start), and so she has an afternoon every week to learn grammar and vocabulary. Together with Sr. Diêu Lý, she will take care of the greenhouses this year, growing tomatoes, peppers, chillies and eggplants. She is also actively involved on our construction site, in joint activities such as the renovation of the old barn roof.
We are very happy that Noemí is with us, and offering us support. If you want to learn more, you can find an article from her on the Friedenshof homepage (www.friedenshof.org) every month, in which she reports about her time here. Also you can read articles in the Leinekiesel from the volunteers twice a year (as well as other news from the Friedenshof).