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UNA Magazine June 2014 EX N AN Worldwide Friends between present and future



Editorial Notes

The times they ar A day in the offic

A man with big d

Interview with th Volunteering for Credits



re a changin’ ce




he locals art

08 16 20 24



Editorial Notes


The previous release of UNA magazine in Eskifjordur was successful in many different ways. At the same time it covers parts of local culture but it also offers guidelines for spending your free time in the East. Most importantly, the magazine was published with the close cooperation from our volunteers who made the effort for all those who will come after them. In this edition however, we have turned the focus back to Reykjavik. With the volunteers being independent,


working, professional and in general outstanding we can proudly say that this time UNA magazine will be published as a double. The first part has a more serious note, as it covers social problems, minorities,

youth and their dreams and

similar topics. The second part has a lighter tone and it is mostly about Worldwide friends and all the funny stuff that is going on in the White house. I hope both will create a pleasant experience for the reader. Jaka

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The tim are a-ch

Wind of change is blowing in WF. With many long term volunteers and EVS leaving and many other arriving, the face of the organization changed a lot in the last months. From the original team leaders who arrived in January/ February, only few are left: among them, one – Annarita – moved to the office to replace the precious contri-

bution of Siim, who recently flied back to his Country. The early goodbye of precious leaders such as Jakob from USA and Madeline from France was a loss difficult to overcome. Anyway, new camp leaders just arrived: Anneliese, Fatma, Karlis, Jaka are already extremely motivated to start leading workcamps all around Iceland. If

you think that is not enough, fear not! With summer season coming and with many short term volunteers about to join a WF project, many more leaders are about to come at the beginning of June, just in time to attend the “on arrival training” run by the coordinator Antonio in order to give them some basic notions which will guide 6

them through their meaningful Icelandic experience. At the historical Hverfisgata 88, White House headquarters, the atmosphere is always amazing with the same friendly environment plus, the “White House” is brand new renovated by the help of Magnus and many short term volunteers who joined

mes they hangin’

during winter one of the Renovation camps. You will be very surprised to see how different the whole place look like, from the kitchen to the leaving room, with the new shower rooms which are going to be ready very soon! You might be concerned that eve-

rything is now in the hands of Italian people now, with Annarita at the office and the only hostel manager being Andrea. But if you truly know them you will easily notice how reliable and responsible they are and you will be surprised by their organizational skills. That is why when Andrea will leave later this June, WF will lose a very important member.

This workcamp who is realizing this magazine and another one helping the organization of the Reykjavik art festival, will be the last ones taking place in the White House for the whole summer. Hverfisgata 88 will be only an hostel for some months in order to make more room for masses of volunteers coming to Iceland and who requested to sleep and stay in that cozy place before and after their workcamps. WF is getting ready for a hot summer. Alessandro


e h t n i ay d A e c i f of 8

With many changes taking place among hostel managers and workcamps leaders, also the office has now a new manager: Annarita from Italy seems very excited to start this new adventure. Here is an interview with her! Hi Annarita, you look very happy today, how do you like working in the office? The atmosphere here in the office of Worldwide Friends is really dynamic. It is giv-

nected with the short term volunteering Why did you choose to switch from workcamp leading to office placement? What to do you miss from the previous experience and what is better for you now?

ing me the opportunity to approach and be in contact with the network of organization which whom WF cooperate and to understand any element con-

The reason I switch is due to my personal background: I have


been working In the office a lot in the past and is an aspect of working that I really like because I can better structure and organize what I can do. I like the idea of being workcamp leader because you can meet amazing people and doing really meaningful experiences but in my opinion the limit of the workcamp leading is that it

starts, ends and restart again in the short lapse of two weeks (which is the duration of a worcamp, Ed. ). And it’s really hard to restart all over again every time and say goodbye to so many people so often. If you would have to consider your experience so far, what would be the judgment? The best think about working and living here in Iceland is that I have the opportunity to keep to know

thing I was not aware of. There are so many differences from Italian life style I cannot even summarize them! Overall, I would say my experience so far is positive: I have met a lot of amazing people and made so many experiences, plus Iceland is an unique Country: you can learn a lot from a nation which is very different from your own. Do you think this experience will help you in the future?

Yes because here I can experience a full process of growing. Workcamp after workcamp, experience after experience, we had something new to the whole picture. It is not a change in personality but as I said, a complete growth. Thank you very much for your time and good luck with your new experience

(freely translated from Italian) Alessandro



A man with

Color brings life

big dreams

He already had a lot of experi-

Antonio’s plan was to help Tierra Bomba by volunteering. ence in organizing work camps and therefore it was easy for him to start the project. Al-

Five years ago, in 2009, Anto-

prostitution and lacking educa-

nio Pérez and Toti Ivarsson

tion. In the 16


were on a two-month holiday

turies, Cartagena was part of


in Colombia. In between of

the Spanish empire and from

found Tierra Bomba a safe

having good time, they were

around 1520 to 1851 it was a

place for young people to live

looking for a community to be



helped by volunteering. Toti

ships from Africa. Even today,

Ivarsson is the head of World-

the citizens of Tierra Bomba

wide Friends, a volunteer asso-

are descendants of enslaved

ciation located in Iceland. An-

Africans. Antonio could see

tonio works with volunteer pro-

how the history has affected

jects around the world. Out of

the people on the island. He

curiosity, the two of them de-

noticed that black people were

cided to visit the very unknown

still ashamed of their origins

island of Tierra Bomba in the

and African culture.

Cartagena bay in Colombia.

and 17






Hence began the dream, and it

though Colombia has a questionable reputation because of drug



The project is divided into three parts: renovation, education and environment. The environmental

and educational

plans have not yet gone live, but the ideas are ready. The idea is to end pollution by teaching the locals recycling skills and by organizing environmental campaigns. The pol-

Antonio and Ivarsson were as-

goes on. Antonio’s dream is to

tonished by the island’s poor

transform Tierra Bomba into a

living conditions. Partly due to

strong and modern commu-

cal volunteers will run work-

its tragic history, the island has

nity, in five years.

shops to fulfill the projects.

major troubles with pollution,

luted streets and beaches have to be cleaned. Foreign and lo-

The plan is also to have work-

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shops focused on visual arts

world. This year, 4 work camps

proud of their roots instead of

and music in order to get

with altogether 35 volunteers

being ashamed of them, Anto-

young people away from pros-

and 15 to 20 locals will con-

nio says.

titution and drugs. At the same

tinue the project.

time, the participants


Antonio also believes in the

All the houses will be painted

positive effect of colors. By

with colorful patterns used by

bringing more colors to the

a South African tribe Ndebele.

island the locals will be happier

Antonio thinks that using the

and tourists will get more in-

Among many plans, the most

traditional patterns strengthens

terested in the island. The pro-

developed one is the renova-

the citizens’ own culture.

ject has already made an im-

about other cultures and how to communicate with foreigners.

tion of houses. Already in 2010 and 2011 Antonio started to work





cleaned, cemented and painted many houses together with volunteers from all around the

– I felt like they had lost part of their roots. The idea was to bring a part of Africa back to them so that they would start understanding



come from. They should be

pact on the visitors as well as the locals. Antonio thinks that by transforming Tierra Bomba into a tourist attraction, the Colombian



have to stop neglecting the island.



Solidarity makes it possible The dream to transform Tierra Bomba into a modern community with functioning recycling and education systems may not be fulfilled only with painting houses. But Antonio thinks

thing for them. I really think

UNESCO is willing to support

that every single person can do

the project by advertising it

something to help. When I

and helping with organizing

come to Tierra Bomba I also

the camps and the Colombian

bring all of my contacts there.


It can help them a lot, Antonio

Colombia, is willing to cooper-


ate by getting Colombian vol-

that every effort is important

This is why Antonio chose to

and even small things can

bring though the project by

make a difference. He feels

crowd funding. He believes

anger towards every strong

that people will fund the pro-

government that doesn’t do

ject because of solidarity and

anything to help the poor peo-

their belief in the project. He


already has a big group of sup-

– We live in a very unequal world. All the poor communities could be okay if our central government would do some-

porting friends; his Facebookpage has gathered almost 760 likes. He also has some important contacts via other associations than World Wide Friends.





unteers involved in the project. The famous one Antonio has had many volunteer projects during his life but Tierra Bomba is something different. Tierra Bomba is like home for him. The locals call him “the famous one”, because his name is called everywhere he goes in the village. He feels so welcomed that he even con-

siders living there. – I have been helping this community for my whole life already. You cannot start a social intervention like this and two or three years later just leave it. If you leave, there will be an immediate back lash, he explains. Antonio plans to continue helping Latin American countries for 20 years. He wants to do something important in his life, something worth mentioning. – I really think that the outcome of all this work will show in 20 years. When I’m an old man I will look back and just say, “okay, that was done and it was good”. For now I live in the moment and try to do my best.



Interview with the locals By Jaka

Since its beginnings Worldwide friends have maintained a close link with the local community. In our headquarters we are often visited by three local chaps, who bring the unique Icelandic character in our international community. They are Bjarki, Kristian and Baldur and this is what they have to say.

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Kristian: I love different culture and I am a people person.

Why would an average Icelandic guy in his early 20ies come to Worldwide Friends headquarters and hang out with a bunch Bjarki: of foreigners? Baldur: Its really cool to meet new people.

Living on an island in the middle of nowhere means that it is not that common to meet young people from around the world who aren't just here to do their own thing. Here its much easier getting to know people than just walking up to them on the street and striking up conversation and the atmosphere is always really nice.

Bjarki: Yeah, pretty much.. Of course I like the Icelandic people but Iceland is just a small corner of the world and i think people who are from other places with other cultures and customs is always really interesting Kristian: I have lots of friends also not in Wwf but here is something special.

Do you consider us more interesting than the local populace? What makes us so amazing?

Baldur: Its a small place and new people are always welcome. Plus I made some really good 17 friends here, so its always a pleasure to come.

That is amazing but basically you are hanging out with volunteers. Would you ever consider becoming a volunteer in for- Bjarki : Yes, I have already taken part in 3 projects in Roeign country-? And mania, Slovenia and the Caif so, which coun- nary islands and I am going to Slovakia on EVS next year try? Krisitan: yes I have volunteered in Romania, and i would like just anywhere else.

Baldur: Not yet, but im sure I will try it sometime in the future. Right now im really busy with work since the summer is here, but one day for sure!

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Baldur: Finally someone is not doing something just for the money and its really cool that so many

And for the end, do you consider volunteering a nice and noble cause or do you think its just a waste of time? Do you think we contribute something to the Icelandic society or do you see us as Bjarki: Of course its a just some noble cause, and I think more mouths most of the projects are doing something for Iceto feed? land and even the projects that dont really accomplish that much for the society still have an impact on the people who take part in them. At least in my experience.

Kristian: You are a great bunch, and its fun and amazing what you do

Anything else you want to tell to the most amazing volunteering organization in Iceland?

Bjarki: Its not easy being cheesy (but really it is)!

Baldur: Never change!

Kristian: No.


Worldwide Friends is cooperating for its second year in a row with the prestigious Reykjavik Arts Festival which for two weeks every spring is presenting around the city and in the surrounding villages a huge set of exhibitions, concerts and performances from national and international artists. A specific workcamp is taking place to help organize the whole thing

in the best way possible. We also decided to cooperate with the festival as journalists and photographers. Here you can find a review of the first day – the premiere – of the 2014 Edition with some of the picture we took to promote the event. This day, the 22nd of May, saw the presence of many important events. Our day started at the opening ceremony which took

r e e t n Volu t r a r o ing f


place at the City Hall where some one hundred of people has been invited to attend the speeches of Hanna Styrmidóttir, the artistic director of the festival, and the Major of Reykjavik Jón Gnarr. Around 4 PM the city hall is almost deserted, with only few people hanging around but just thirty minutes later huge amount of people is pressing to get close to the wine and appetizers’ stands. In a fancy and a little but posh environment,

elegant and suited up people started to warm up the atmosphere. We breafly interview some people, enough to realize that almost all the attendants are connected with the festival, most of them being artist perfoming during the following days. The familiar atmosphere shows that most of the people use to know each other already. People show excitement for the start of the festival and it is a pleasure to

exchange few words with the curator of the “listasafn rnesinga� exhibition a very inter-

Worldwide Friends is volunteersing for the most important art festival in Iceland esting project with will focus on boundaries. Attendants are in particular excited about the piano concerts

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which will be one of the main events of this 28th edition. After the speeches , by the pond, people started to gather for the concert of HĂśgni Egilsson. His short piano performance is something you would expect from the charismatic leader of Gus Gus, but its talent is there and the people were extremely up to some relax with good atmospheric music by the lake in a very sunny and pleasant day of Icelandic

spring. In the afternoon, the workshop “In your hands” at the Spark Design and the painting exhibition at Hverfisgallery, “mapping the land” are a nice and interesting way to wait for the main things going on in the evening. At the Kling and Bang Gallery, The first part of The Five Live Lo Fi is a total artisitic experience with music, installation and video screening but also performances of the participating artists. Similar in its complexity is a sold out event by the harbor, the interactive show and avant-garde theatre peace “Fantastar”, a gothic, macabre, dark, surrealistic and eccentric trip through the troubled history of Iceland, Faroe Islands

and Denmark where the boundaries between real and fiction are always reinvented and always reconsidered. The post industrial environment (pipes, machines, warehouses, electronic music) is the setting of a dantesque journey into life itself from birth to death: music, visual art and theatre are fused to reconstruct the absolute irony, absurdity and unpredictability of our existence, from the birth to the grave. Everything worked perfectly for the opening of the festival. No doubts the following two weeks will bring much more exiting shows all around Reykjavik. Alessandro





Project managers: Jaka Cuk and Alessandro Zabban Editing: Alessandro Zabban All Articles by: Alessandro Zabban, Jaka Cuk and Anni Reenp채채 Cover and back pictures by Anni Reenp채채 (

A special thank to all the partecipants of the journalism and photography workcamp who made possible this June issue of UNA.



Una Magazine June 2014 annex  

Special annex to the June number which is dealing with what is going on in Worldwide Friends from the cooperation with the Reykjavik Arts Fe...