Volunteering with Seeds Iceland

SEEDS_logo_HighResolution-PICCOLOHomesick while being at home, I looked to get some fresh air and to so something useful at the same time. I found the organization Seeds in Iceland, to go on photo marathon and to help gardening in a few places around Reykjavik.

At first, my home organization, SVI (Service Volontaire International) had some database with all the host organizations. There, I found the photo marathon in Iceland. I directly applied for it. The good thing is, during the school year not so many people apply to go abroad, so there is more chance to have an available spot at the camp. This was really helpful for a Korean and me who applied less than 10 days before the first day of the camp. One of our leaders also got his confirmation really late. Likely, youth are flexible.

Once applied, I had to meet the other volunteers from different camps at the Seeds accommodation, in Reykjavik downtown. The place is hard to find because it is not located on a street. Icelanders are really helpful and friendly; they also all speak English. For my case, a bus driver picked me up a second time to drop me off right in front of the door. He had to get off of his bus to walk me there.

At the accommodation, with the other volunteers, we got to know Reykjavik downtown before to be picked up by Seeds. Everybody was ready with all their suitcases, while waiting for another volunteer to get a Seeds van. Each group got to their volunteering place. Some went on an Iceland, other were going around Reykjavik, and us, at the botanical garden.

None of the place had WIFI, which was tragic for many of us. Some of us went to buy a sims card for the internet connection only while other could spend 10 days without any connection, or only taking 10 minutes a day to go to the WIFI place.

During the camp, Seeds also organized some trips. Randomly, we sometimes met other volunteers on the same boat. This way, we got to know a bit more people than only our group of photographers.

In general, Seeds trips were quiets expensive so we’d rather organize our own road trip. The leaders and drivers were really nice though. We were all the same age. Even if I could feel some distance, it was possible to break them and make new friends among the long-term volunteers.

We had some issue during the camp too, as the leaders were close to us, they agreed most of the time with us and tried they best to make things better. For example, we waited 4 days to be provided on food, that it got impossible to make pic-nic for our road trip. A driver and a car were also missing to drive everybody at the next Seeds trip. As we always do, we could manage everything.

On the road to one place to another, one of our leaders was trying to remind us about Seeds goal: to get an environmental consciousness. We had to recycle, and to learn about other way to recycle, and to participate in the community.

Three days of work were included in our schedule. We gardened three days in a cemetery, which was a lot of work but it was also really fun and not even creepy, and a last day at the café of the botanical garden, also called “Secret place”. Café Flora was really tasty, lazy, and cute; we also got the WIFI.

The camp is also really tiring. Most of the evenings, we went to bed early, and being able to enjoy the next new day.

At the end of everything, we, volunteers, felt really tired so we had the adorable surprise of having a lunch/dinner prepared by our leaders.

When I heard about the other camps, everybody enjoyed their trip with Seeds. I would definitely recommend doing it. It helps to feel useful, travel & discover a country, meet new people. I think Seeds also needs more long term volunteer to make this work for everybody. In shorter term, you also enjoy the trip and learn so much about environmental issues.