Friday, September 30, 2016

First Time for Everything: Staffing Internationally

Since i fell in love with the original CISV program, Village, last year in China i again drown myself for another camp this summer. It was my 3rd Village since last year and this time i tried to restore my faith in CISV camp after what happened last year. Flashnews, i wasn’t so content the last time. I was so surprised as well, since i always happy and gain my knowledge everytime i’ve done CISV program locally and internationally. Not only knowledge, but also my confidence in general and gain the experience of educational content itself. Last year was sucks, not only some friction in between camp but also my personal life. But, hell yeah, i get over it and move on. Hence, it wasn’t about the organization or the way of living the experience. Maybe it was a bad timing, in the bad situation with several bad luck-ness. Anyway, as i said, Let’s move on!

In April i got a confirmation that i will be staff in Kiel for Village. Wait, where the hell on earth Kiel is? Oh, it’s the Northern part Germany near the border with Denmark. Never thought i will be staffing that far away. Then, i met the staffies, all girls. Woohoo! I had a feeling of having these catfight with them later. LOL. But thank God it never happed. Our campdirector is from US and two others are Germans, none from Kiel chapter. We finally a complete stuff when two male junior staffs come along. One of very shy Mexican boy who live in the US-yeah he was shy, trapped in the middle of four loud girls who talk a lot during 20 minutes of Skype meeting. And another one who ACTUALLY live (nearby) and belong to Kiel Chapter.

And it comes July! Flying across Asia to Europe with one huge luggage contains most of CISV t-shirt for 7 weeks– but apparently not big enough for some people- and landed in Berlin. Then, we have to take 4hrs train ride to Kiel. I met Mariann, the CISV virgin, who picked me up somewhere in front Starbucks. We hugged! Yes, WE HUGGED. We never met but we DID hug each other. Feels like i know her for years. Then rushing to the platform and catch our breath as the train start moving. With our huge luggage and Mariann’s guitar, we have to switch train in Hamburg and meet the other two girls. Then Nora comes along. Then WE HUGGED again! Three of us finally got in to the train, which BTW was the silent car- i dont know how people in Germany can stay quiet for that long, LOL.

When we prepare ourselves for quite a short one hour train ride, i slightly take a look on other people. Then i saw this blue shirt with CISV logo on it. Wait, dont you have like a week later for delegation to arrive? Because we arrived a week earlier to prepare stuffs. So, it can’t be leader, it can’t be JC and of course there’s some random people from the chapter nearby roamingg around with CISV t-shirt for no reason at all. Then she turn her back around, and...there’s Kathleen, our director! And we SCREAMED, oh yeaah, in the silent car.

We spent three days just the for of us, cooking, talking, eating, working until Alex, the Mexican who just finished his Europe trip join us calmly – and still very shy. Then we canoeing, swimming, working, ‘til we have to move to campsite in Kronshagen, Kiel. The day of preparing the whole campsite was one hell of craziest things for us. We saw huge truck carried tons of beds and other stuff for 70-ish people. All those people from chapter hand in hand helped each other. What so crazy about that? They just asked the staff to point which to go where, while they – mostly parents, mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, and ofcourse, their kids – working their ass off to make sure everything were in the right place. At noon, 90% of work almost done!!

Two and half day left before all adults group arrive, and it was only four of us in the HUGE building. We prepare dinner, and finally, Arvid arrived!! He has long hair!!! and i wasn’t prepare for that. Then we HUGGED again. That was whole fun week of getting to know each other. We did it through trainings, chatting, serious chatting-sometimes, and mostly cooking. So, when we welcome leaders and JCs, we hope we were all well prepared. The rest is history. Well, not really a history for whom wasn’t part of the camp itself. That was a slight behind the scene story about us, the staffs.

Eventhough i was a staff before, this one completely different stories and challenges as well. What i enjoy the most when i was staffing in my own country, i could share EVERYTHING about my own country and even the cities itself. I like to show them around, tell them a very local perspective as citizen or as CISVer. Also, i know most of everything around so we are the right people to ask for. It could be about your day off, custom, food or anything else if you want to know more about the culture.’s the deal, you are in Germany and don’t speak German. At all. Oh no, its a lie, i can say Danke Schoen. Oh well. 
The way we support each other and make each other’s tasks easier also challenging part. At the end of the day, what’s our goal and my personal goal mostly achieved. No one dies. And for me, no clash between adults group. We support each other and no gap between Staff, Leaders and JCs. So, it doesn’t matter whether you came from the local chapter or not, it’s all about team work and hard work.

As much as culture gap always arise, i think that one also the big part of being in CISV as well. And, the learning process is still going on...

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