Next Stop Serbia


Next stop: Serbia!

Patricia Vazquez

- 27.07.2018

I believe in destiny, I am sure this is what brought me to Serbia.

First, let me tell you a little bit about me.

My name is Paty Vázquez, I am 29 years old, I have a degree in culinary arts, I moved from Puebla City to Mexico City 3 years ago and I was living a pretty normal life style; work, social life and family. I never imagined my life was going to change in 3 minutes, on September 19th 2017 when my country got hit by a really powerful earthquake that caused a lot of damage in Mexico City and other states.

A lot of families lost their homes, I could not bare to see all these people living on the streets, so I joined a group of girls and started building wood houses in rural areas.

One day on my way back from construction site, I had a lot of questions about fund raising, organizations, construction and how to make our little project better so we could help more people.

The funny thing is that I got the answer to my questions that very same day, a really random invitation to “Balkan Youth Eco Village” an education camp with all the elements I was thinking about.

I filled the registration form, and found out that It would take place in Ravno Selo, but wait a minute, where is Ravno Selo? I started looking on the map and realized it is a little village in Serbia.

I do not like to ask a lot of questions and I did not have much to think a lot about it, so I just started to figure out how to get there and before I could imagine I was in a plane crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

After a long trip and a quick stop in Munich, I finally got to Hungary, then took a bus to Belgrade.

It wasn´t until this point, that I thought, “wait a minute, what the hell are you doing??” You just travelled 24 hours to a country that you never thought about going, from which you do not know almost anything, where you cannot understand a word, where you do not know anyone, to a 10 day camp in this little village!!!

I must admit I got a little nervous for 5 minutes and then I smiled, I knew this was going to be a great adventure.

And here is where the magic started, the first contact with a Serbian, Mili, the sweetest girl, she has a master degree in spanish and portuguese so she was able to explain me everything about Belgrade in Spanish and when we finally got there she even offered to take me to my hotel, by this point I was thinking I am the luckiest Mexican ever.

The next couple of days I got in tourist mode, by the second day I realized that It was not just Mili but Serbians. I have been in different countries in Europe, but Serbia is nothing like that, Serbia feels a little bit like Mexico.

Everywhere I went there was someone with a smile that would try to help the “exotic girl” to find her way.

The day finally arrived, it was time to go to Eco Camp, I felt a little nervous again, I waited outside “Mockba Hotel”, some really nice girls from the organization picked me up and we drove to Ravno Selo.

The experience in Eco Camp was fantastic, since the moment I got there everyone made me feel welcomed, even though there were moments I could not understand anything I always felt home.

At the Eco camp, I got to learn about ecological and sustainable construction, ancient techniques that if we combine with the knowledge we have today we can be able to make really pretty and secure houses that won´t leave a foot print in nature, I learned about team work, camp life and ecological awareness.

But what I liked the most is that I was able to connect with the community and people from Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia.

I was able to learn about war, listen to real stories from real people, for me this was mind blowing, to get to know different experiences, through these times and how all these young people are brave enough to break all this history barriers; share love and support each other, learn and work together.

Now I really feel I am a lucky Mexican because I got to feel the essence of Serbia. Some families invited us to their homes, showed me family pictures, shared their life story and of course home-made Rakija.

I got to feel the earth barefoot and fill my heart with beautiful energy, eat as many cherries as my stomach could handle, visit vegetable fields, try local wine, drink beer in a Kafana, eat sarma, learn how to dance Kolo, fall in love, and at the end, find myself in this far away country.

The least I can do is spread this experience to people from all over.

This is the only way I can say thank you to Serbia. Because your people, your love and your traditions is something that everyone should know about.

Thank you to all the amazing persons I met in camp, teachers, and all the people that I met in my trip, thank you Ravno Selo, and especially to the “Centre of Sustainable Development & Green Economy” because if you have not had dreamed and created this project, I would have never lived all this amazing experiences.

Here are some pictures from the "Eco Camp":

A unique soul in Ravno Selo, my best friend, Toki.

my best friend, Toki

Learning about clay in "Eco Camp".

Learning about clay

School visit to construction site in "Eco Camp".

School visit, eco camp school

Beautiful place, beautiful people.

beautiful people, eco camp people

And to finish my story I just want to tell you, there is nothing that will open your eyes more than travelling. I invite you to put behind all the prejudices that sometimes media creates about countries, give yourself the opportunity to know history and traditions from the people, I am sure you will be surprised in the same way Serbia surprised me.

I cannot wait to go back to this very special country that own a big piece of my heart and to share more about my culture and my country.

Vidimo se uskoro Serbija!

© Copyright / Patricia Vazquez - Citizen of the world /