by Lorenzo Piccoli
A few people asked me what exactly was I doing in Slovakia, how and why. Let’s start from the end, which in fact is the beginning. The reason why I decided to apply for a working camp is simple: all my relatively short life I have devoted all of the time studying and understanding grand theories. Then I felt I had to work on something relatively small and concrete, something I could grasp with my bare hands. Put it plainly, I wanted to do something new. And, of course, I wanted to do it somewhere far with someone I did not know before, as for all my previous experiences of exchange, conferences, forums and training courses. But this time, unlike the others, I wanted to work hard and I wanted to be in the nature. The working camp for the reconstruction of Kamenica Castle, East Slovakia, seemed to fit all of this. Alas, as it turned out, it was also much more.
I applied for this working camp in June through Legambiente. Applying is fairly easy and you have a choice among hundreds of different camps all over the world. Of course, Legambiente works if you are Italian, as it happens to be the reference NGO for Italy; but then each state has its reference NGO, so if you’re British you will have to apply through some other British NGO which I do not know.
Regardless your nationality, this year it may be a little late to apply. However, next summer I would definitely encourage everyone to try this experience. Since 2008 I have travelled a lot, yet very rarely I have been a tourist. Among all the different things I have done, this was probably the most immediate, intense, painful and beautiful way to be welcomed by a community and feel like you belong to it.