It all started as a summer activity for Uni, back in 2018. We were encouraged to do some work outside campus, to get out to the world and design real solutions to real problems. Holis presented as an excellent opportunity for doing so. I felt I needed to live that experience beyond the credit it might represented. And I wasn’t wrong. Holis 2018 happened in a small and beautiful town in Poland, called Radzyn Podlaski. It was my first time in Eastern Europe, far from home but still I felt very familiar because of the nature that surrounded its landscape. It was amazing and inspiring. It became even more fascinating when all participants and leaders finally met. We all came from different backgrounds, each with a baggage of knowledge and experiences from their fields, some more than others, but we all share the same enthusiasm and determination to learn and work together for the Radzyn’s community. Each workshop took us deeply into understanding and appreciating people’s feelings and thoughts as well as their needs and concerns throughout their daily lives. I recalled being scared and doubtful about how to approach people, how difficult sometimes it is to start a conversation and expect them to open up and talk to you. However, people in Radzyn were really really helpful and openminded, they were so generous to show us about their culture, to share their food, furthermore, to invite us to drink their 20-year homemade Vodka while telling us their personal stories. In addition to these, Holis’ methology encouraged teamwork and it totally helped with participants, like me, who felt a bit nervous about this whole new experience. All participants and leaders where so kind and willing to share what they had learnt along their practices, guide us towards the best way to reach a solution. Sometimes these processes can be overwhelming because of the tons of information we can collect and eventually, we felt lost in lots of ideas as well. That is when the leaders’ guidance and the teamwork felt very powerful, it was like a whirlwind for the last few days in Holis. At the end I realized each and every community has their own stories and problems and it is almost impossible to solve it one by one, but each one of us belongs to a community, no matter where we all come from, we can contribute with good ideas and benefit from great solutions.
It was difficult to realize it all ended: the delicious food, the marvelous people, the hard work, the energy that fill the town during those two weeks. It has been four years since I participated and while remembering about it all, many memories come back to me, making me feel vibrant and inspired again, as when I left Poland. I would definitely repeat this experience, even more, I would love to replicate it here in Ecuador as well. Social innovation needs to be promoted more to inspire people to be more active, learn how to empathize and become aware of the immense opportunities we can create to our communities when we collaborate.