Monday, 28 July 2014

Travelings and weddings

It was a week of great experiences for me (Lyudmila) as well as a week of great expectations as in the end of it was Sasha and Ilze's wedding. Even in JACis we could feel the excitement in the air.

As always the workshop for the 10th years university continued, especially interesting being the Video workshop lead by Anna.

 But we felt something different around us.

The week was even more exciting for me because in the begining of it a friend of mine came from Bulgaria and together we set to travel for few days. Together we traveled to Riga and Sigulda and discovered how beautiful Latvia can actually be.

First we traveled to Riga where we walked around the old town and the river to the houses of Art Nouveau. They were especially interesting for me as I'm fascinated with the life in the old time. To imagine people living in this buildings with enourmously big rooms and high ceiling, modern pictures hanging from the walls and a grand piano in every house - it was truly amazing for me.

I alway liked Riga because, different from another capitals, it had perseved its old building in the center and you can really feel its history on the streets outside the old town.

On the second day we headed for Sigulda. I was excited to go there because I had read about the Gauja park and wanted to go for about two months already. We left our heavy bags in the infromation office and went straigh for the castles.
In these two days we went to the both castles, the Gutman cave, the Serpentin road as well as the ruins on top of it. We also marvelled at Gauja's river from the bridge.
Spenidng two days in Sigulda and mainly in the National park I can say that I loved it. Gauja park holds amazingly beautiful nature in itself. The Gutman cave was especially interesting for us as it was the first time we see a cave with such ingravings on its walls.

 Latvia is surely a country that holds many beautiful things in it's towns and forests, me and my friend both agreed on it. I hope I can return someday and explore it once again.

On Thursday I was already in Rezekne, refreshed from my travelings and ready for work. Coming in JACis I immediatelly felt the expectations for the near wedding and also learned the plan that JACis had for the happy couple - we were making a Gate.

For those who don't know what exactly a 'Gate' is, it's a Latvian tradition - a chalange that is set for the newlyweds. It's a gate, usually for flowers trough which they have to pass using different kind of tactics. Most likely they have to bribe the gate-keepers and also pass trough their challenges.
Needless to say we the vounteers eagerly embraced the idea of taking part in an Latvian tradition and begin the task to make the most beautiful gates ever.

Katja and the local volunteers joined the group as well and made several questions for the best man and woman refering the happy couple. In Friday we stayed for more than an hour rehearsing it all and making sure that everything is ok.

And then finally came the day -  26th of July, the day of the wedding. It was an especially hot day but we didn't feel it so much, it was as if even the sun was happy. The both newlyweds were beautiful and most importantly - smiling like the happiest and luckiest fools in Rezekne. Ah, I guess it's great to be in love.

Anyway we started our little challenge. It all went exceptionally well, the best man and woman were finny answering the questions and needn't to say they got everything right.
When it was time for the bribing we recived out award for the hard work until now.

. . . 

And of course had to eat it right away.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The week of the Seminar (14-18th of July)

THE week has come... EVS JACis summer seminar is here. Those were our thoughts on Monday morning, when we were walking to JACis. All the preparations were about to be put into test in just few hours. The bus came at 9 in the morning, now we just had to put all the materials and participants inside  and off we went. Raznas lake was to become our home for the next 3 days.

The seminar gathered 20 participants, 4 trainers (us, EVS volunteers) and Vija with Katja as our support. Now very briefly about the program:

  • arrival to Raznas lake, unpacking and getting to know the area
  • after the lunch, rules of the training as well as fears / expectations, getting to know each other, icebreaking activities, name games and a LOT of teambuilding
  • after dinner, an ultimate cultural UNO game and others
  •  throughtout the day, 4 blocks each consisting of 4 different national sessions on the same topic covering an area of culture in our home countries
  • evening by participants to test the trainers team spirit
  • morning free time
  • sessions on writing CVs & motivation letters
  • final evaluation and departure
It was intense and often tough, but it was also a great experience, thanks to all the participants!

Thursday & Friday were kind of quiet in JACis. The children were outside thanks to the Kalim-bam-ba project, and we had time to put everything back to its place, do our individual trainer evaluations and sort out all the video material and pictures made during the seminar. Finally some time was left for a bit of painting on Thursday and crafts on Friday.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Photo sesion, Geocaching, and more!

This week was full with shooting for the postcards.
One of the most interesting ones was the 'intercultural postcard' for what each of us had to prepare around 5 items from their country. It was interesting to see what each volunteer had prepared as well as compare the items - different games, symbols, food.
In the end we had in JACis a pretty full table with international food which we ate with delight.

On the same topic - one of the postcards which took us the most time was  a postcard for which we had to hang different items on a tree. It was a hardwork choosing the items, preparing them and hanging them. It took us around two hours in total. While the shooting was no more than 15 min. For sure it will be one of the best looking postcards.

And this wasn't the end. At the night we went to make a photo with Prokop on the train station.

On the other hand this was the second week for the English camp in Zeimus. As the previous one Pilar and Prokop made their presentations, it wsa time for me and Georgi.
I, Lyudmila, went on Tuesday. I explained the kids a little bit about Bulgaria - where it is, its history and present, folklor. After this we made a workshop for Martenica where the kids did pretty dolls and bracelets in red and white. It's not quite the time for Martenica yet, as it is tradition for the 1st of March, but I'm sure the kids were prtty interested in it nevertheless.
In the end I talked a little bit about the Bugarian lenguage and its differences and similarities to Russian. We learned several fraces like "Good day", "Thank you" and "Do you want to be friends with me?". Interested? Well you can visit the dictionary page on this blog where youcan find fraces not only in Bulgarian and Russian but also in Spanish, Latvian, Slovakian and Georgian.
This is the way to become a poliglot :)
Georgi as well focused mainly on Georgian traditions.
He explained about Georgia and Georgian traditions. Then played an interesting game that helped the kids to learn soemthing about the Georgian alphabet which is so different from the latin and cyrilic one.
In the end he finished his activities with the game Flag to flag.

And in the end this week we participated in Geocaching which exists in Rezekne from this spring.
First we went to the information center where hey give us GPS with intstructions how to find the items. We went for two of them. As one of the rule of Geocaching is that nobody have to see you, I can not tell you about it in ditails. Let's just say that finding the place was much more easy than finding the item itself.
Want to try geocahing. Well, first go to its offiial site and read a ittle bit about it. Than you jsut have to take the GPS from the informaiton center and according to the rules start your search.
Good luck

Sunday, 6 July 2014

A creative week

This week begun the awaited Summer English camp in Zeimuls on which the JACis volunteers were asked to present their countries and organize some workshops.

The first to go was Pilar who not only presented Spain on Tuesday but on Monday made wih Carmen, her sister and a volunteer in Zeimuls, a beading workshop.

The kids were really happy to learn how to do animals, fruits or flowers from little beads, It's for sure a patient work during which you have to be really careful, But after all is rewarding, seeing the beauty that you created.

Do you like what the kids created?

On Tuesday was the Spanish presentation, made by Pilar and Carmen.

Spain is an interesting country and for sure the kids were excited to learn more about it.
Except general information about Spain: where it is, how big it is, what is the capital, Pilar and Carmen taugh the kids a little bit of Spanish. Enough so they can sing and dance one Spanish song together.
I think they had great fun doing so.

In the same time in JACis the other volunteers, Prokop and Georgi, tried a new game with the youngsters.

The game's name is Europe and it's a game with questions from all around the world. I personaly find that this kind of games are the best way for the youngsters to know and remember different facts.

 Do you like this kind of games too or find them difficult?

Wednesday was an eventful day in both the camp and in JACis.
It was the day of Prokop's Slovakian presentation. Slovakia seems both near and a distant country to us, deffinetely not one for which we have a lot of information. He did his best to get it known by the kids and in the end cook a traditional food.

In JACis on the other hand Georgi decided to organize a football game. Excitedly accepted by the kids, everybody headed outside .

Football is one of the favorite JACis games and everybody seems pasionate about it, especially the younger kids. Don't look at them lightly tough, some of them are better than the grown ups.

In the end of the week Pilar did another beading workshop.This time in JACis, to share what she had learned from hew experience in Zeimuls.

There were not so many kids as on the camp but nevertheless it was fun and interesting, needless to say - creative.