Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Festival "Lido Zivis" (Flying fish) in Kuldiga (On 26th, April)

El día 26 de Abril tuvo lugar en Kuldiga, Letonia, el festival "Lido Zivis" (Pez volador).
On 26th of April had place in Kuldiga, Latvia, the festival "Lido Zivis" (Flying fish).
 "Peces voladores en Kuldiga no es una fantasía, los peces harían su camino aguas arriba del Río Venta ya desde hace siglos para encontrar una cascada remolino en su camino de la migración. Un método único de pesca, inventado por habitantes de Kuldiga hace 300 años durante el reinado de el Duque Jacobo, consistía en cestas de mimbre colgadas en  postes a lo largo de las cataratas. Kuldiga ganó su fama como la ciudad donde los peces fueron capturados en el aire. Este fenómeno natural único se celebra cada primavera por un evento especial - el show de primavera "Pez volador en Kuldiga" .
"Flying fish in Kuldiga is not just a fantasy, fish would make their way upstream the Venta River already for centuries finding a swirling waterfall on their way of migration. A unique method of fishing invented by inhabitants of Kuldiga 300 years ago during the reign of Duke Jacob – wicker baskets were hung on posts along the falls. Kuldiga gained its fame as the city where fish were caught in the air. This unique natural phenomenon is celebrated every spring by a special event – the spring show “Fish Fly in Kuldiga”.

Durante el festival, también se celebra el festival de contar cuentos. Este año la novedad fue la participación de voluntarios SVE contando una leyenda o cuento en su propio idioma. Esta iniciativa fue llevada a cabo por la ONG Radi Vidi Pats y por Claudia, voluntaria SVE en dicha organización.
Radi Vidi Pats significa en Letón "Haz tu mismo el Medio Ambiente". Las principales prioridades de la organización son la educación medioambiental y el aprendizaje intercultural para los jóvenes.

During the festival, it was celebrated the Storytelling festival. This year's novelty was the participation of EVS volunteers telling a legend or story in their own language. This initiative was carried out by the NGO Radi Vidi Pats and Claudia, Spanish EVS volunteer in the organization.
Radi Vidi Pats in Latvian means Make the Environment Yourself. The main priorities of the organisation are environmental education and intercultural learning for youngsters.

En el evento participamos un grupo de 10  voluntarios que estamos realizando nuestro SVE en diferentes ciudades de Letonia. Finalmente, no todos pudimos contar nuestras historias en el festival oficialmente porque no hubo suficiente tiempo, solamente Andrés, SVE de España en Jurmala, y Susi, SVE de Austria en Jurmala también, contaron sus leyendas :) 
Digo oficialmente, porque antes de las actuciones había "micrófono abierto" y todo el mundo podía contar una historia, y claro, yo conté mi leyenda sobre El acueducto de Segovia :)

On the event, we participated a group of 10 volunteers who are doing our EVS in differents cities of Latvia. Finally, not all we could tell our stories in the festival because there wasn't enough time, only Andrés, EVS from Spain in Jurmala, and Susi, EVS from Austria in Jurmala too, they told their legends :) 
I say officially, because before the performances there was an "open microphone" and everybody could tell a legend or history, and of course, I told my legend about The Aqueduct of Segovia :)

Fue un festival muy interesante, repleto de actividades culturales, actuaciones musicales, gastronomía, talleres, etc. Y quiero agradecer sobre todo a Radi Vidi Pats por la buena organización y el apoyo prestado durante nuestra estancia en Kuldiga :D
It was a interesting festival, with cultural activities, musical performances, gastronomy, workshops, etc. And I want to thank especially Radi Vidi Pats for good organization and support during our time in Kuldiga :D

La cascada Venta (Ventas Rumba) es la mas ancha de Europa, 249 metros y su altura es de 1.80-2.20 metros que cambia en función del nivel de agua en el río.
The Venta waterfall (Ventas Rumba) is the widest in Europe, 249 meters and its height is 1.80-2.20 meters that changes depending on the water level in the river.
Aqui el programa del festival.
Here the festival program.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Nature, birthdays and seminars (21-27th of April)

After the great experience on the Eastern event in Anchupani, the week continued on a similar happy note.

Thursday was an especially exciting day. On this day we jointed the participants of other  JACis’s project: Connected by rivers. With them we have a very interesting excursion around the River Rezekne, where we were told about the history of the river, her geography and also some very interesting legends.

Did you know that Rezekne river is one of the longest rivers that are fully in the country. And that it connects the lakes Rāzna and Lubāns
Or that there used to be a beach around Rezekne river? Very close to JACis on top of that. Sadly now it’s cover by plants.

 The most interesting though was the legend of the three castles – in Rezekne, Ludza and Vilaka. According to it, this territories was ruled by a lord with three daughters: Lusia, Maria and Rossita. Because neither of them wanted to have an arranged married their father got angry and locked them in the three castles: in Vilaka, in Ludza and in Rezekne, guarded by monsters. The legend says that they still are down there waiting for a man to come and save them. Once a year they are permitted to go out and search for their savior.

Another part of the legends says that because this three castles were owned by one ruler there is a secret tunnel that connects them. No one was able to find it to this day.
It was a truly interesting experience, getting to know something more about the beautiful river in Rezekne.

In the end we were so much happier because we get to go to the Ortodox church and ring the big bell. According to the Christian tradition this can be done only during the two weeks after Eastern. The noise from the bell is so loud that it

Friday was a busy day as well. Pilar has went to Kuldiga for a volunteer’s festival wo it was only the three of us – Georgi, Prokop and me.


First of all in JACis came Tanja, a local volunteer in JACis and my mentor, who had her birthday earlier this week. Of course we celebrated it. We had made two birthday cards for her, one from all JACis and one which I made myself for my mentor. We could see on Tanja’s face that she was very happy and touched.
After this celebration however we had to run to Zeimus as we had to take part in a seminar organized by Svetlana – the director of theater Jorik. It was a very interesting discussion about the differences of the people and the cultures and how can we learn to accept and appreciate them.

But we did not have enough even when Friday was over. On saturday, another activity of the "Connected by rivers" project was planned, namely the clean-up of Rezekne river in the Zeimuls area. This date was chosen specifically because it was perfectly synced with a World clean-up day, which is quite a big thing in Latvia. So on Saturday morning most of the project participants, us from JACis and anyone else who felt like giving a helping hand gathered up outside of Zeimuls, divided tasks and started the clean-up. This took around 3 hours and as  a reward to everyone who helped, a huge bowl of delicious soup was prepared outside on the open fire. In fact we made so much of it that we ended up offering it to passers-by and tourists, too.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Eastern celebration in Anchupani

On 22nd of April we with JACis used the first day of work in the best way possible - celebrating Eastern. JACis, JACis volunteers, international and local and around 15 youngsters went to celebrate the holly day in Anchupani - a beautiful place near Rezekne. There we spent more than four hours - coloring eggs, learning about Eastern and different Eastern traditions and of course having fun.

The eggs were colored in a traditional Latvian way - with onion peelings and with different leaves for decoration. Everybody took part in the action and the result was more than good.

The eggs looked beautiful. I'm sure that seeing this result a person like me, who never colored eggs this way, will surelly want to try this technic next Eastern.

Other than eggs we did pretty good job at finding the 50 chocolate eggs hidden, by the 'Eastern bunny', in the near woody area. They were hidden all around the woods with three Eastern bunnies.

After all the excitement we finally were able to sit down, look at the done work and talk a littbe bit about the meaning of Eastern.

Father Aleksey explained about the meaning of the red eggs and why we give them to each other:
He said that on that day years after the Christ resurge Virgin Mary gave a plain white egg to one Roman magistrate with the words "God resurged". The magistrate laughed at her and said "People can't resurged as this plain white egg can't become white". In this moment the egg in his hands became red. 

On the same note but other hand in Bulgaria where we celebrate Eastern not only with red eggs but with sweet bread as well, called Kozunak, we believe that the eggs symbolize the Christ's blood and the bread- his flesh as whine and breat symbolize them in the Eucharist during the other time of year.

The experience in Anchupani was truly very fun. For this helped the great sunny weather which permited us to play different games: from


to badminton, 


rope jumping, 




different team building games

and ending with walking on a rope, for the first time for many of us.

We will surely remember this day and want to do it again.

 The whole event ended with one foreigner tradition, polish and slovakian - sprinkling with water. All the girls were pretty shocked at first giving that the boys didn't tell us anything about this. After awhile we catch the game however and even started to get them back.

 All in all Anchupani was one great, funny and educational day on which everybody had a lot of fun. We were glad we could spent a sunny warm day like this, even the sprinkling of the water or the short rain couldn't bother us too much. It will be one great memory from JACis.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Pre-Easter Week (14-18th of April)

Spring has definitely arrived and not just because Easter holiday was just around the corner. This week was to be slightly shorter than usual becuase friday was a free day thanks to Easter.

On Monday, JACis had a special visitor, a friend of Luci from Bulgaria, who is currently doing her EVS in Hungary. Her name is Slovena and she stayed with us for 2 days.

On Tuesday, Pilar joined myself and Giorgi and prepared a very nice presentation about her home country Spain, which lasted over an hour. Full of many colourful pictures, I have to admit that it was the best country presentation so far.

Wednesday marked the beginning of new weekly activity. Since the weather outside is getting increasingly nice and sunny, time has come to introduce weekly football matches for everyone willing to kick the ball. With almost 20 participants, it was far from easy to score a goal, but it was all the more fun. In the end it did not even matter who won as everyone was super happy (and in my case super tired, too).

After spending more than 2 hours on the pitch everyone was naturally hungry and thirsty, thus a slightly postponed presentation of spanish easter cuisine was more than appreciated. Unfortunately by the time we assembled the camera into photo mode, most of the food was already gone. Thus you just have to take our word for it. And it was delisious, too.

Thursday was our last day before Easter holiday and so a perfect opportunity to share how egges are being coloured in Latvia. A lot of onion skin and ever more eggs... everybody got a chance to do at least one on their own.

This day was all the more special, because our it was our dear Katjas birthday, too. Unfortunately we were unable to celebrate it with her as she was on vacation for the whole past week. But we still found a way how to let her know that we remembered.
At the end of the day, we all went to JORIK theatre to take part in country presentations of Russia and Spain wy their EVS volunteers Nastja and Kike. And it was great!