Written by Nevena Djakovic
I love volunteering for many reasons. I would like to share two of them that are most important for me. First, when you volunteer, you help someone or help with something – you do a good thing, improve your environment and community. What is also important for me are feelings that you get from volunteering, joy, fulfilment and fun. I believe that volunteering can be really fun a since there are so many places where you can volunteer and everyone can find a way to help according to their field of interests and knowledge. Recently, I have had an amazing volunteering experience that connected my passion for preservation of heritage and my love towards volunteering.
As a part of the Young Experts Forum that took place from June 15th to June 30th 2015, prior to the 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Germany, I had a chance to help with the restoration of roof windows on the historic building in town Kaub. Five participants of the Forum: Pagna from Cambodia, Aime from Rwanda, Edwin from Malesia, Nam from Vietnam and myself (Nevena from Serbia) joined local staff in this volunteering event organized by European Heritage Volunteers.
During three days of activities we learned about different techniques and materials that can be used for restoration. One of the materials we used was linseed oil which is organic and even eatable. We went through the whole process of restoration. The windows were taken out, glass was removed and frames were cleaned. We cleaned and oiled the wood that surrounded the window and after a day of drying we painted it in light green color in order to fit the entire building. The windows were painted too and glass was cut and put in the frames. Interesting thing was that glass we used was not new, it was glass from this building. This shows how important is to use original materials and sometimes original techniques because many steps that we did, we did by hand or with a traditional tool instead of using modern technology.
Finally, the windows were back in their place on the roof and we were all amazed how well they fit in the whole exterior. We had a huge support of the local staff who explained us every step and helped us in doing them in practice. Everyone in the town was very kind and even Mayor came to visit us few times showing great hospitality.
I enjoyed volunteering in this action. I know that I learned so much and that I made some improvement regarding heritage preservation, no meter how small that improvement is, this is the way to start, I believe. After all, I had a lot of fun and met amazing people.