Volunteer Day for Nettoyons La Nature (Let’s Clean Up!)
I love the Mediterranean, so it was an absolute pleasure to be able to volunteer for Nettoyons La Nature (Let’s clean up) day! This event was organized in cooperation with Mediterranée 2000, an association that aims to protect the French coastlines and the Mediterranean Sea. We went by train from Antibes to Theoule sur Mer, which is in the Esterel Mountains to the west of Cannes.
Like everything here in the French Riviera, Theoule sur Mer was absolutely beautiful and we had a wonderful experience as volunteers! A steep climb up the mountains puts you on a ridge overlooking the sea with breathtaking views. The mountains plunge straight into the ocean. The Mediterranean is so beautiful; it was a pleasure to be able to feel we all had a role in protecting this beautiful place for others to enjoy. We were all so happy we got to do a project like this because it would have been impossible to find a way to volunteer like we did without CEA’s help. Having the wonderful Kristen as our local point-of-contact with CEA made this experience even more unforgettable.
We got cute little bibs that we got to keep and they will remind us of this experience forever! We also had little rubber gloves we gave back, but were necessary to protect our hands while we picked up all the glass.
Kirsten said that just a few years ago there was a large amount of trash, but with so many volunteers and the fact people have started paying more attention to what they litter, the large amounts of waste have diminished. That being said, there were so many broken glass bottles! That’s what we did for hours – we picked up little pieces of glass strewn all around the beach.
There were so many little French kids, it was so cute! It’s wonderful to see so many youth caring about the environment. It was also wonderful to be volunteering with locals and tourists, kids and adults.
After the allocated clean-up time, we all gathered and took pictures for the local newspaper and ate lunch. There were two pizzas, olive paste and chips. The pizzas had really thick crusts – they almost seemed more like bread with cheese and anchovies. I love olive paste, which is very popular in this part of the French cuisine, and is used as a simple little side dish quite often.
By volunteering, we were able to experience a beautiful setting with the locals. I kept my bib and will remember this experience for life. I love the term, “guest locals.” Meaning, when you are a guest but you do things locals do. This experience totally embraced that concept. We are guests to the Mediterranean. We are from another part of the world, but we got to volunteer with the locals. We were guest locals!
Jamie CM is the Fall 2017 MOJO Blogger in the French Riviera, France. She is currently a Junior studying Communication & Business at Westminster College.