Every year we have the pleasure of welcoming young women as volunteers.
Elske is one of this year’s volunteers. Read about her first month in Oslo.
Text: Elske Fredeweß.
10 days quarantine
It has been a month, since Franka and I (Elske), the new volunteers from Germany, have arrived in Oslo. But sadly, we were not able to come to Katarinahjemmet right away, because we had to stay in quarantine for 10 days outside of the convent.
The Corona Virus has brought a lot of challenges to the year 2020 and sadly to our time in Oslo as well. Of course it was annoying that we had to stay in Quarantine, but Franka and I made the best out of it and took walks around the beautiful city.
A year off
When I was graduating high school in Germany, I started thinking about what I want to do in my future. For me, it is really hard to answer that question and I felt the need to take a year off to have some time to think about who I really am and who I want to be in the future.
When I started to look for different volunteer programs online, I stumbled upon the “Bonifatiuswerk”, a German catholic organization which goal it is to support Catholicism in largely Protestant areas of Germany, northern Europe and the Baltic states. When the organisation offered me to come to Katarinahjemmet in Oslo, I was really excited and looked forward to the ten months I am spending here.
Opportunity for faith
I think that this year is also going to be a good opportunity for me to experience my faith. In the past few years, I was really busy with things that teenagers are busy with: school, sports, friends, work… So I never really had time to think about what faith means to me. I hope that I will learn more about that at my time in Katarinahjemmet.
Sisters, students and volunteers
When we arrived at Katarinahjemmet on September 15th, we were welcomed by the Høstfest, an autumn party which is celebrated every autumn. It was a really nice evening, where Franka and I met a lot of the sisters, students and of course the other three volunteers from Norway.
During our first days at the convent, Sr. Ane-Elisabet showed us around and introduced us to all the people and the different jobs we are working at. That way, the first days of working were not so hard because we already knew how nice the people are and how excited they are to get to know us.
Work situation and Norwegian classes
Franka and I are both working inside the convent and outside. In the convent we do a lot of practical work, for example preparing breakfast and the evening meal or cleaning the bathrooms. At the moment, we have a lot of cleaning rules because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of the convent both of us work in one of Oslo’s parishes.
Franka works at St. Olav, while I work at St. Johannes. In the parish, there are always a lot of different things to do. Most of it is administrative work, for example updating the church books about baptisms.
On Fridays we work at NUK, Norways young Catholics. We will be joining them on one of their camps later on.
On Saturdays we go to our Norwegian course. Sometimes it is really exhausting, but it is mostly fun learning Norwegian.
Part of our mission as volunteers is also to get to know other parishes of Norway. Last week, us five volunteers went on a trip together with Sr. Ane-Elisabet to Fredrikstad, where we got to know the old town and also learned about the city’s history.
On our car ride we saw the beautiful nature of Norway. Although I love Oslo, it was good to leave the city for a day and see something else of Norway.
I am looking forward to the next months!