Two ARCHELON experiences through the European Solidarity Corps during the pandemic
Elsa Delecroix – Volunteer from ADICE (France)
Elsa, a young artist from France, talks about her stay in ARCHELON’s Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Athens, Greece:
I graduated from high school in the middle of the quarantine in France. I didn't see myself going to university right after school, but I really wanted to travel and I found ARCHELON.
Working with sea turtles here was an excellent choice. This looks like a childhood dream for most people, something you have to try once in your life, at least! And I didn’t regret it.
My choice was to become a short term volunteer through ESC for two months. The first two weeks were pretty hard physically but it was really worth it! The majority of the volunteer duties consist of cleaning tanks and turtles, preparing the fish and feeding the turtles, being at the shop and doing public awareness and obviously help maintain the Centre. Eirini was my supervisor and Mike was her assistant: they were great in diversifying the tasks and bring experiences to everyone.
The team work was amazing for me. I was really concerned about it at first because it was all new to me. But, I think I was with really good people that only wanted the well-being of everyone and who were all so respectful.
We spent a lot of time all together sharing things together and having fun. Volunteering is a great way to learn to listen to yourself and your needs, if you’re not really comfortable with this yet. Moreover, the Centre is located in a pretty urban zone and there are a lot of great things to do! I enjoyed it so much that I didn't want to leave.
I have only seen a very small part of Greece and I would like to spend more time with the people here. I really would consider coming back to help ARCHELON maybe during the summer.
I would definitely recommend this organization, because you will never be alone or left aside. The organization really does its best to help you by all means and some volunteers come back to help.
Noémie Fritsch – Volunteer from youth organization ANIJ (Luxembourg)
Noemie, a young lady from Luxembourg, has worked hard for the rehabilitation of sea turtles at ARCHELON’s Rescue Centre and shares her European Solidarity Corps experience:
Hey! I am 25 years old and I volunteered at ARCHELON from September to November 2020, together with another person from my home country. Being two of us, really helped me adjust to this new environment. After a week of quarantine as a safety measure against COVID-19, I could finally start my volunteer work at ARCHELON! At the beginning, there was much information to digest but as time went by I got used to it and soon I could correlate the information I received with what I was doing and that helped me a lot.
Being part of the team at the Rescue Centre, I met many wonderful people during my stay and we shared a lot of fun moments and nice evenings. That, of course, made it hard to say “goodbyes”, one after the other.
During my last weeks at ARCHELON, Athens was again in a lockdown, which gave me time to pack my stuff and enjoy more my last days working with the turtles at the Rescue Centre.
Speaking a little about the turtles, we fed the turtles with fish as a daily routine. Some of the turtles are able to eat by themselves, but others still need to be fed by people. I was very proud when I succeeded in feeding a turtle who wasn’t eating, for the first time! Yet, not every effort is a success but we do our best and never give up!
I had my favorite turtle as each of the volunteers usually does, and Ι was so happy when we finally could release him. That was an unforgettable moment!
To sum up, I am glad European Solidarity Corps helped me join ARCHELON. Not only it made my participation affordable, but I was also able to fund activities on my days off with other volunteers.