(copy 1)

Mit dem Europäischen Freiwilligendienst (EVS) in Tamera

European Voluntary Service (EVS) in Tamera. Each year, a few dozen young people from all over Europe come to Portugal as European Volunteers to gather experience abroad, to experience the country and its people, and to learn something meaningful. The European Union supports this with the EVS program which takes over the basic costs and organizes a frame program with seminars and cultural activities. Three young people came to Tamera from mid 2010 until Mid 2011 as European Volunteers. Many volunteers work in non-profit associations, nurseries for old people or other social institutions.


Juliane, Maria and Sabrina from Germany and Austria (aged between 21 and 25) wouldn't have expected to have the opportunity to live, learn, work and socialize right away in the peace research and community project Tamera. From mid 2010 to mid 2011 they spent almost all their time here.


Sabrina worked mainly in the kitchen of the "Testfield for a SolarVillage", were she helped in the   testing of novel solar technologies and cooking for community members and guests. "I leaned, for example, to handle the Scheffler reflector, a huge convex mirror which bundles the sunlight in one point under a cooking pot, in this way producing enough heat for cooking and frying. It works faster and more efficiently than a gas cooker, at least when the sun is shining." 


After a relatively short period of time, she became the co-coordinator of the kitchen and thus one of the poles of all the activities of the researcher community. 


"It was always a highlight when, every six weeks, we cooked exclusively with solar energy for about one hundred visitors plus the community members, during the open days for people from all over Portugal. People were always amazed at how good food can taste when refraining from meat, milk, eggs, cheese and conventional energy sources." 


All the food and the ingredients are either self-produced or purchased within the region, so being a kitchen chef offers the opportunity to get in contact with a lot of people from the region. "Those special days gave me a lot of chances to use the Portuguese we studied in the weekly language classes. To understand the Alentejo dialect is an extra challenge, however.”



Juliane was given the opportunity to work in an area where she already had brought along knowledge from before: She helped with the layout of books, fliers, and brochures for Tamera and the local publishing house Meiga. She particularly liked composing study material in various languages for the participants of the Tamera peace education. 

"The texts I designed here consist of novel thoughts which seduce the readers to bypass their usual thinking habits. These thoughts are derived from a deep empathy for all living beings. I deeply felt how this attitude is lived in Tamera: a global compassion and the wish to really do something for the world." 


Juliane liked her task so much that she decided to return to Tamera after the voluntary service and to work full time for the publishing house Meiga.


Maria's main work place was the horse project. As she has always loved animals, and particularly horses, she wouldn't have wanted to swap with anybody. The horse project of Tamera, with its eleven horses, is a place that teaches a loving and reconciliating way of dealing with the animals. People ride without a saddle or bit, as it is not about dominance over the animal, but about contact and reconciliation. 



"I helped take care of the horses by feeding them and supporting the guests/horse course participants to overcome their fears and to get into a trustful contact with the horses. This meant going for a huge adventure, because in the contact with the horses, one rediscovers oneself ever anew. I realized what a great honor it is to be able to come into contact with these powerful beings."


Besides their daily work, the participants got to know other areas of Tamera's work, for example, the ecology where they learned why a permaculture water landscape can save a land from desertification, or the workshop where they learned to build simple solar cookers and how this technology can also help African villages. They also participated in the main events of Tamera, like the Summer University – as special guests, and the Olive Harvest – as guests and helpers.



The volunteers profited from the diversity of the project, which meant that they got theoretical and practical insight into different working areas, and it was very easy for them to understand how each areais interlinked  with and dependent on all the other areas. They were impressed by the complexity of the project, as well as the visible, sensible complexity of life, and the transparency of connections, and the coherence visible in the model settlement that is being created. They understood that, at first sight, seemingly less sufficient energy production might be much more efficient when we look to the all-over impact on the surrounding area regarding, noise, pollution, exploitation of limited natural resources and many other aspects of life. 


All three volunteers came with an above average environmental conscience, and were quite inspired by the possibilities of natural, non-detrimental living that AMH/Tamera develops and applies and about the idea of spreading them. So environmental conscience and responsible behaviour become natural. The volunteers understood that they can make a difference in this area which results in an awareness for the political effect of almost all our deeds and the subsequent necessity to be an active citizen of the local community as well as of a growing European Union, and of the world. 



Their conclusion: The year passed much too fast. "For me it was as if I had dived into a completely different world – but somehow simultaneously a world that I always dreamed of", says Maria. "We got to know the country from a very special perspective, and  we got to know a project where people do everything to put an idea of lived peace into practice. Nothing better could have happened to me after finishing school. I wish Tamera all the best and also all those who are going to do their EVS there after me."



Mehr Informationen zum EVS (auf englisch)