Green Fingers - OAZA

My experience in the Green Fingers project was what I needed in more ways than I expected. I loved the office hours where we got to brainstorm, collaborate in a creative way and work together. Best then that, were the hours we spent in school, with children. It gave me a lot of joy to see them play, learn and laugh. It was nice to see them benefit from our work as a team and to see our ideas come to life. When my friends back home asked me what it was like to work with children, I told all of them the same story – we had this physical activity with them, and they were divided in two groups. One of the girls who had some colorful cat ears, for some reason she liked me. So, when she saw that she was put to be in the team my friend, Carolina was coordinating, she ran back to my team, and she told me in Croatian that she will play with me. I grabbed her hand to take her to the other group, but she didn’t want to go, so I took her in my arms, and, like a little monkey, she wrapped her small arms and legs around me immediately. She started to giggle because she liked the juvenile way in which I made her go back to her team. This was just one encounter but most (if not all) of them made my heart melt and energized me. I became more aware of my impact as a role-model and maybe as a future teacher or mentor for youngsters. On our last week, one school asked OAZA for an interview from some of us for the school paper. Two of the pupils took our interview with just a little help from their English teacher and they were so clever and curious.

I decided to join this project because I had little background working with children, I am majoring in clinical psychology and one year earlier I started to develop a hobby out of getting different plants and taking care of them. But more than that, I felt like I needed an adventure that would prove me I had learned some practical skills that could be useful to individuals and groups, outside of my bubble. Green Fingers helped me understand how adaptable and resourceful I truly am. It also got me to become friends with some amazing people, mostly women. They were all so unique and interesting. We traveled together, we ate together, we shared personal struggles with each other. And they became my people. Last week in Zagreb was a bit hard for me because it was full of goodbyes, and I felt like I left too quickly.

Zagreb, as a city surprised more than I thought it could, my to-see list it wasn’t done at the end of the project. Out of all the places I got to see, my favorite was this little jazz bar where they held a live concert. There is a lot you can do and see, our coordinator, Jasmina, took us to see the city and my head was always turning left and right. But the jazz concert in somewhat of a living room, gave me this magical feeling. I have been to Croatia with my family, to the coast, about ten years before. When we visited Jelsa and Split I started to remember and I was so peaceful and amazed almost like, well… a child.

One experience I am particularly grateful for is the personal project. If you join Green Fingers, you can talk to your coordinator and find time in the schedule to put one or more of your ideas and skills to practice. As a future psychotherapist, I decided to put to practice some of the resources I had and to help my team members find theirs through group therapy, art therapy and meditation. This empowered me to have more courage while pursuing my future career.

After struggling with the pandemic situation, like most people, I felt scared and lost. These two months had me evolve more than I could on my own for one year.

I will share with you, reader, a few unedited film photos I had taken throughout my two months.

If you have been to Zagreb, you know this one.
A knitted heart, made after the earthquakes in Zagreb.
Caro, Reb and Lara on the OAZA terrace. This was a place I immediately connected with.
Our most precious boy (and the only one) from the team, Damian, at the office.
Sweet Amelie and Lara in Jelsa.
Mi hermana, Marta, and I. I will be seeing her soon, in Barcelona.

Hvala, Jasmina, Mile and Branko.