First meeting with Palermo and the Human Rights Youth Organization H.R.Y.O.
Social and language: Our apartment in Palermo houses volunteers from many different countries around Europe, so the common language is English. The girl from Belarus I am going to cooperate with throughout my stay in Palermo arrived on my second day of the introduction week. I’m looking forward to becoming better acquainted with the other volunteers when I’m return in June. My first impression is that Sicilians prefer speaking Italian rather than English, so I hope to learn more Italian before I return, and I will be taking a language course through Erasmus+.
Sightseeing: Some of us visited the city of Monreale, a bus-ride outside of Palermo. The view from Monreale was absolutely amazing with tall mountains, all the picturesque houses of Palermo and the big blue ocean. We also visited one of the local markets in Palermo. Here my new acquaintances helped me find good bargains on clothes, shoes and electronics. Later we visited one of the many beaches close to Palermo, and the water was lovely. We also visited a nature reserve with a beautiful view over the ocean.
We also went to a demonstration in Cinisi, another city outside of Palermo. This is an yearly gathering which praises Peppino Impastato. He was born in a Mafia family, but turned his back on and worked against them. He was killed by the Mafia forty years ago. This happening gathers children, youngsters and grown-ups in a long parade with flags, slogans and songs.
As newcomers in Palermo it was very useful to walk around to the different places where we will work, and also get a feeling of local attractions and meetings points. We also tried to take the overcrowded buses, but I prefer walking, if I have the time.
About the work: We got introduced to the H.R.Y.O. office. This office was once upon a time the stable in an aristocrat household, and has been modernized so it functions both as an office for several organizations and as a place for different events. The people who work in the office seem really nice, warm and friendly, so I’m looking forward to get to know them better.
We are also going to work at the Emmaus secondhand shop, the Mercato Solidale, which is a grand and amazing shop with two floors full of big and small secondhand treasures. I am really looking forward to getting to know this shop more, since I’m a big fan of secondhand shops. I also agreed with one of the employees that I can help him with learning English, while he helps me to learn Italian. I’m also really looking forward to the free, homemade Italian lunch we are going to get at the Mercato Solidale. It lies in walking distance between the apartment and the office/ the secondhand market.
Food and drink: When it comes to food have I tasted the local specialty brioche; which is a wheat bun with gelato-ice cream. It is delicious and can be compared to an ice-cream kebab. I had also the opportunity to taste cremino caffe which can be compared to an coffee milkshake, and is a special treat for coffee lovers. As a foodie I have also tasted different kinds of pizza, pasta, lasagna, fruit and coffee. And I’m looking forward to taste even more when I return.
Going to Palermo