Brief statements we would have liked to know at our arrival // Pár vecí, ktoré by sme boli rady vedeli ešte predtým, ako sme prišli na projekt

Living in a new city is always an adventure that, sometimes, could lead to a bad end. Here comes a summary of all the things that took us months to discover and that we would have preferred to know beforehand:  Continue reading

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Slatinka // Slatinka

Yesterday we had the opportunity of visiting another EVS organization focused on ecological matters, which greatly interested both of us:  Slatinka. After a nice encounter with one of their coordinators and her lovely two-years-old daughter, we could get to visit some areas in which their workers and volunteers helped to improve.  Continue reading

LEGO Competition // LEGO súťaž

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pupils choosing 7 objects for a desert island

Last week we witnessed a competition that was held under a very special motto: Lego. Unlike our expectations, it was not just about constructing something out of Lego and the nicest one wins, but the participants had to show their ability for team spirit, problem solving and their technological skills. Related to the theme ‘Nature’s Fury’, basic school pupils had to pass four distinguished tasks. First, the teams had to attend to certain problems for humans raised by natural disasters, as for example floods, and try to find ways to deal with the consequences. In little theatrical performances, with the help of a model or just by explaining they presented their solutions. The next task was testing their team spirit. Having to imagine being on a sinking ship, they had to decide together 7 out of 12 objects which to save to a nearby island. In the third tasks the teams had to present their self-built robot, which they would finally use in the fourth task, the “Robot Game”. In this game, two teams simultaneously had to overcome certain obstacles with their robots and would gain points for every accomplished task. Even if there was a winner in each of the four categories, in the end the team with the most overall points won – and in this case the winning team was particularly special. After this team was sent into the first round of the final of the Robot Game, they had to discover that the jury had actually mislead them and mistakenly sent them to the final. Clearly disappointed, the team had to make room for other participants. But even if they did not take part in the Robot Game final, they have proved their widespread skills sufficiently in all tasks and in the end could be happy about a well deserved winning.

Miriam

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final task : robot game

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Minulý týždeň sme boli svedkami súťaže so špeciálnym mottom: Lego. Na rozdiel od našich očakávaní nešlo len o to, aby účastníci postavili niečo z Lega a tí najlepší vyhrali, ale aj o to, aby preukázali svojho tímového ducha, technické zručnosti a schopnosť riešiť problémy. Na základe hlavnej myšlienky „Zúrivá príroda“ museli žiaci základných škôl prejsť štyrmi rôznymi stanovišťami. Na prvom mali tímy reagovať na problémy ľudí, ktoré vznikajú v dôsledku prírodných katastrof, ako napr. záplavy, a snažiť sa nájsť spôsob, ako sa vysporiadať s ich dôsledkami. Svoje riešenia predstavili prostredníctvom krátkych scénok, pomocou modelu alebo jednoduchým vysvetlením. Na ďalšom stanovišti mali otestovať svojho tímového ducha. Mali si predstaviť, že sú na potápajúcej sa lodi a musia sa spoločne rozhodnúť, ktorých 7 z 12 predmetov si nechajú, aby doplávali k najbližšiemu ostrovu. Na treťom stanovišti museli tímy predstaviť robotov, ktorých sami vytvorili pre posledné finálové stanovište s názvom „Súboj robotov“. V tejto hre museli roboty oboch tímov súčasne prekonávať prekážky a za každú splnenú úlohu dostali body. Hoci malo každé zo štyroch stanovíšť svojho víťaza, na konci vyhral tím s celkove najvyšším počtom bodov – a v tomto prípade bol víťazný tím obzvlášť výnimočný. Po prvom kole Súboja robotov porota prišla na to, že sa pomýlila a do finále ho poslala omylom. I keď bol tím očividne sklamaný, musel prenechať miesto ďalším účastníkom. Napriek tomu, že sa nezúčastnil všetkých kôl veľkého finále, na všetkých ostatných stanovištiach preukázal svoje všestranné zručnosti dostatočným spôsobom na to, aby sa nakoniec mohol právom tešiť zo zaslúženého víťazstva.

Miriam

Preklad: Jana Jašková, Stanislava Dengová

Youth camp “Time Machine”

In May we had a very interesting and unusual event – the youth camp “Time machine”. I, as an initiator of the event was very, very happy and really excited. That is the reason why I still want to share with you about it, even though the activity passed several months ago 🙂

Outdoor Camp "Time Machine"

Outdoor Camp “Time Machine”

First, let me tell you something about the idea for the camp. I have always been excited to participate in various youth projects, trainings, exchanges, camps and any other kind of activities, which involve many young participants. On the other hand, as an “active young person” I started to become curious and eager to see what is to be “from the other side” – what it is like to be organizer of such kind of events and that was actually my reason to chose my EVS project to be in a youth centre. In connection with this I have to admit, that I was happy to become part of a quite flexible project, providing an opportunity to each one of the volunteers to suggest, plan, organize and implement own activities, according to his/her own interest. Of course, considering this, one of the ideas for my activities was to organize a youth camp. I was also quite lucky that this crazy idea (to organize camp for 10-15 international youngsters, sleeping in tents for several days) was approved and supported by my hosting organization (and I am very thankful about it!).

Okay, we got the decision that we will organize a camp, but what will be the topic? Also, it was not hard to find – I had a list of suggestions, which we have carefully discussed with my coordinator and finally we chose one of them (actually my favourite one) – to invite every participant to present old traditional outdoor games for children from his/ her country and in the end we were going to make a game collection from all the suggestions.

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Group of participants – almost complete !

So, after we knew what we are going to do, we needed to invite participants. I had the strong wish to invite all my friends, the other EVS volunteers and also some youngsters from Slovakia. I was so happy surprised by my friends who immediately liked the idea and decided to join. About the Slovak youngsters – it was a challenge to get to them (maybe we didn’t find the most efficient way to communicated and to invite them), so we didn’t get any… But still we got quite a rich and interesting group 🙂

We had some weeks of preparation (planning, preparing information, creating documents, registration form, logo…) which was so much pleasure for me, so I didn’t feel how the time passed…  So, in the end finally came the first day of the camp. I was very enthusiastic and excited, but also extremely nervous. Of course there was some things, which happened not the way I have planned – we had rain, a bit delay in the program, problems with the fire, some strange  unknown people, who came to disturb the activity. I was really about to freak out! Also I was worried not only about some fails of the organization, but also about the weather – it was not very promising and I was really afraid if the participants would like the camp and would stay till the end. But all the stress and worries passed when we have made the evaluation in the first evening. I was so good surprised by all the nice things, which the other volunteers said, so I even started to feel happy and to become more optimistic about the next days. 🙂

Food was really made on fire

The second day of the camp started much better. Well, we had again a challenge to set the fire on (it had rained all night long, so on the morning all the wood was completely wet), but our brave and dedicated fire-(starter)-man Miguel made a real miracle, so in the end we had a quite nice breakfast with hot tea and coffee :)) After the breakfast we started playing the first games, which Nara presented to us. From the very beginning when we started to play I saw how everybody started smiling and forgot about all the complication previous day, the terribly cold night and the wet morning. From that moment till the last day of the activity I think there was some kind of a magic – everybody was feeling happy and light-hearted and really enjoying to be part of the activity and to go back to the childhood playing his/her favourite children-games (or at least to me looked so). I was also very happy, because one of my big dreams came true, I was thankful to all the people, who supported me and joined, but the most I was happy, because I was seeing the happy faces of my friends and we had a really great time together. I will never forget how enthusiastic all the participants were while presenting the games and how active were the rest of the volunteers (and we all were surprised how many similarities we found in the games played in quite different and distant countries). I will never forget our delicious meals, which we cooked on our own on the fire, how organized were the people on duty to clean the dishes and how exciting was to share the big old military tent, which became our home for four days. I will never forget the happy days, full of laughs and positiveness, our evening talks around the fire and the way how I discovered each one in a new and wonderful way, showing me how lucky I am to have such great persons as friends!

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Getting to know each other in real nature

I want to say again a big, big, biiig THANK YOU to all the people who joined the activity and helped me:

Our great participants: Nara, Miguel, Manu, Simon, Lenka, Barbara, Andrea, Zanda, Hansol, Lilyanna, Aneta.

My coordinator – Andy (who really made a lot of work, for the camp to become true)

The great colleagues from CVČ – Junior for the great support (and special thanks to Jarka, who helped us to find a big pot for cooking the meals and Eva, who borrowed us the big spoon for cooking 🙂

And Mr. Kubica (the owner of the camp place) for being such a great host for us during these four days 🙂

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Collecting games, going back to our childhood

And last, but not least – let me share the result of the whole camp activity – the game collection (it took time to finish it, but it is finally ready, so I am very happy to introduce it:)). It consists of all the games, presented by the participants during the camp. It can be used as a tool with ideas for in- and outdoor activities with kids, but also some of the ideas are suitable for ice-brakers, energizers and team-building games. Hope you would like it and use it.

D O W N L O A D : Games Collection Youth Camp Time Machine

P. S. In case you find any misspelling, wrong word or some expression, which is not clear, you can always contact me – vesselina.valcheva.d@gmail.com. I would be glad to correct or explain everything needed.

Vesselina

Good ideas from Slovakia // Zaujímavé nápady zo Slovenska

The months have passed, my project is about to end, so came my time for packing the luggage to travel back home. And to take some souvenirs, of course :)) It is really hard to chose, what to take – there are so many things I got for the almost 10 months here, but since my bag capacity is limited I should chose and take just the best things. And I have decided – beside the Horalky, Kofola and Hruškovica there is something more, which I really want to take – the good ideas from Slovakia, or things I really liked here and want to bring them home (and hope to start working there too :))

So here are the best of them:

  • School canteens – as far as I got informed, every school student can be enrolled to have lunch (consisting of soup, meal and something to drink – water or juice) in one of the canteens. I think it is a very good idea and really prevents the youngsters to get overweight consuming fast food all the time. Unfortunately in Bulgaria, despite of all the projects and efforts about it, we still don’t have this practice (or at least not in many places), but I think it would be good to take this idea and try to implement it still (well, maybe soup and meal would be too much for us, but just one of them would be a perfect replacement of the hamburger)
  • School competitions, subject olympiads and scientific conferences for students – since my hosting organization for my voluntary service was center organizing such kind of events, I got the opportunity to get to know more about these activities. Well, if I have to be accurate we also have some sport competitions and school olympiads in Bulgaria, and as a student I have participated in many of them (but usually they are organized just in some schools, they don’t take place very often and not for all subjects…). Here in Slovakia these activities are organized by organizations, which are not schools (which I find it a good idea – firstly, these organizations have the capacity to invite teachers from different schools to evaluate the work of the students and secondly, that looks more fair to me). Also once I had the great chance to see a scientific conference for high school students (Stredoškolská odborná činnosť). And it was really amazing – on the conference participated students from different schools and professional gymnasiums, each of them had prepared and presented an own project in one of the many topics (mathematics and physics; pedagogy, psychology and sociology; economics; history, philosophy and law sciences; informatics; building and architecture; health and pharmacology and many more). I even saw some of the presentations and they were so professional, so I was really fascinated by these young high-school students…
  • Divadlo z Pasáže  or as we call it “Special theatre” – it is a theatre where work people with mental disabilities (and I have seen some of their shows – they are really good). I think it is a really great idea – it is unique opportunity for these people to do something good for them and good for the society, but also a way to solve really many problems, in my opinion…
  • Nice eco-/ eco- and art- communities situated in small villages – here in Slovakia i got to know about several organizations, situated in different small villages, working to promote ecological style of living, but also some of them make very nice art. Here are just some examples, about which I got to know, but for sure there are more: PERIFÉRNE CENTRÁ, situated in Dúbravica, Zaježka in Zaježova, Alter-Nativa organization in Brdárka, Prencov 60 Theater in Prencov and many more. I think it is very brave but really great idea to create and run such organization in so small communities. I wish in Bulgaria we also have them (or maybe we have them, but I am just not aware about them – so thanks to Slovakia I know that they could exist and try to search them ;))
  • Cool campaigns – I got to know two very nice campaigns, run here, which I really like and for sure would like to “bring back home” (maybe there are much more, but I didn’t get to know about them). The first of them targets the parents and tries to make them more aware about the fact how important is to spend time with their children: Viac mesta pre detiviac mestoThe second one is also very good idea – it tries to encourage people to buy local products: “Vyrobené na Slovensku” -> and the Slogan of this campaign says that if every Slovak spends just 1 Euro per day to buy products, made in Slovakia, that would assure a work for 100 000 people a year (Amazing, isn’t it? That make to want bringing this idea to Bulgaria even more – we all constantly complain that we don’t have work and every factory is closed, but we all go for the cheap Turkish and Chinese goods…)
  • Transport (don’t get me wrong – in Bulgaria we also have transport and I actually like it, but not in a way they have it here). For example
    • The local transport – I was amazed how punctual the local transport is here – when people go to the bus stop, they can see at what time comes the bus. And if it is written that bus number 4 comes at 14:07, it really comes at 14:07 – not at 14:06 or 14:08 (even though on every bus stop the driver has to wait all the people to get on board and to buy tickets before the bus leaves)
    • Cestovné poriadky super amazing web-site where you can check how to get from town A to village B with all the possible variations of bus/ train/ bus and train connections (also have new addition – air planes). I find that amazing, because everybody can easily check and plan his/ her trip just with several clicks (for people, who don’t know Slovak there is also English and German version).
  • Neighbourhood communities – when I came first here, I got to know about the procedure of keeping the living block clean – every neighbour has to clean every two weeks the floor and the stairs in front of their apartment, in the winter there is also snow service – every week there is a different family from the block, which is on duty to clean the snow in front of the building (well, in my country we usually have another practise – people from the block hire somebody to clean – maybe in this case is better to give employment to somebody, even for very small salary). But later during my stay in Slovakia I got to know that the local community spirit is really stronger than I thought – the different neighbours in the city have some local organization (for example the neighbour I live in Banska Bystrica – I got to know about their blog/ site from an advert, which was on the entrance door of the house, announcing an upcoming flea market in the neighbourhood, organized by and for the people living here). But after that I got to know that they organize many more things. The same applies also for a neighbourhood in Zvolen, who has organized a very nice sport- and children-games activity two weeks ago and even one EVS volunteer participated there.
  • Funny expressions – well, I have to be honest that unfortunately I didn’t do my best to enrich my Slovak language vocabulary as much as it was possible. But anyway, I got to know some expressions, which I really like and would like to bring home (and even at some point they could be even understood by my Bulgarian friends) – for example “Mám rád/a” (I can’t explain why, but I really like this expression), “Ježiš” (in the beginning I was really wondering why every time when something goes wrong the Slovak people call the hedgehog – in my language Ježko is the fairytale name for the hedgehog, but just some months later I learned the truth :P) and of course my favourite “Moje nervy” (which will always remind me of some really great people I met here :))

Well, I guess my bag pack is quite full already and I should slowly go to the end (another nice expression, which I “met” for the first time here 🙂

So, thank you very much, Slovakia, for being such a nice host for me! I promise to visit you someday again with a bag full of good things from Bulgaria.

With a lot of smiles,
Vesselina

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Desať mesiacov ubehlo ako voda a moja dobrovoľnícka služba sa chýli ku koncu. Je čas zbaliť si kufre a vrátiť sa domov. Pri balení však nemožno zabudnúť na suveníry :)). Počas pobytu na Slovensku som dostala mnoho darčekov, preto je ťažké sa rozhodnúť, čo si vziať so sebou. Keďže kufor má len určitý objem, mala by som si vybrať len tie najlepšie. Rozhodla som sa, že si chcem domov zobrať okrem horaliek, Kofoly a hruškovice ešte niečo – zaujímavé slovenské nápady, ktoré sa mi veľmi zapáčili (pričom dúfam, že sa v Bulharsku rozbehnú rovnako dobre ako tu :).)

Medzi tie najlepšie patria:

  • školské jedálne – každý žiak či študent na Slovensku má možnosť chodiť na obedy do školskej jedálne (obed zahŕňa polievku, druhé jedlo a nápoj – vodu alebo džús). Podľa mňa je to veľmi šikovné riešenie. Mladí ľudia sa tak môžu vyhnúť nadváhe, ktorou často trpia kvôli stravovaniu sa vo fast foodoch. Napriek všetkým snahám a projektom v tejto oblasti sa v Bulharsku ani naďalej mladým neposkytuje zdravá strava (ak aj áno, tak len na niektorých miestach). No aj tak si myslím, že by sme tento nápad mali zrealizovať aj u nás (možno by sme nezjedli polievku aj druhé naraz, no aj jeden z chodov by bol prospešnou náhradou za nezdravý hamburger).
  • školské súťaže, predmetové olympiády a vedecké konferencie pre študentov – o týchto aktivitách som sa dozvedela vďaka tomu, že organizácia, v ktorej prebiehala moja dobrovoľnícka služba, sama organizuje podobné podujatia. Aby som uviedla veci na správnu mieru, aj v Bulharsku máme športové súťaže a školské olympiády a ako študentka som sa aj mnohých zúčastnila (prebiehajú však len na niektorých školách a len vo vybraných predmetoch…). Na Slovensku tieto aktivity uskutočňujú iné inštitúcie ako školy (čo pokladám za veľmi dobrú myšlienku z niekoľkých dôvodov – po prvé, pre zhodnotenie práce študentov pozývajú inštitúcie učiteľov z viacerých škôl, po druhé, takto je to férovejšie). Raz som sa dokonca dostala na vedeckú konferenciu pre stredné školy (Stredoškolská odborná činnosť). Účastníkmi boli študenti z rôznych škôl a gymnázií. Ich úlohou bolo predstaviť projekt, ktorý sami vypracovali na jednu zo stanovených tém (matematika a fyzika, pedagogika, psychológia a sociológia, ekonomika, história, filozofia a právo, informatika, stavebníctvo a architektúra, zdravie a farmakológia atď.). Niektoré prezentácie boli na veľmi vysokej úrovni, čím na mňa slovenskí stredoškoláci poriadne zapôsobili…
  • Divadlo z Pasáže, alebo ako ho voláme my – „Špeciálne divadlo“, je divadlo, v ktorom účinkujú ľudia s mentálnym postihnutím (videla som niekoľko ich predstavení a sú skutočne dobrí). Táto myšlienka je podľa mňa úžasná. Pre účinkujúcich predstavuje jedinečnú príležitosť urobiť niečo dobré pre seba i pre spoločnosť a zároveň je to spôsob, ako vyriešiť mnoho problémov…
  • eko a umelecké komunity v malých dedinách – zistila som, že na Slovensku funguje niekoľko organizácií sídliacich v rôznych malých dedinách, v ktorých sa presadzuje ekologický životný štýl alebo sa vytvárajú krásne umelecké výtvory. Patria medzi ne napr.: Periférne centrá v Dúbravici, Zaježka v Zaježove, združenie Alter Nativa v Brdárke, Prencov 60 Theater v Prenčove a mnoho ďalších. Myslím, že vytváranie a riadenie organizácií tohto typu v takých malých komunitách je veľmi odvážna, no zároveň obdivuhodná myšlienka. Kiežby sme v Bulharsku tiež také mali! (A možno aj máme, len ich zatiaľ nepoznám. No vďaka Slovensku viem, že existujú a že je možné ich vyhľadať ;).)
  • skvelé kampane – na Slovensku prebiehajú dve kampane, ktoré by som určite chcela „priniesť domov“ (možno ich je oveľa viac, len som sa o nich nedozvedela). Prvá z nich s názvom Viac miesta pre deti je zameraná na rodičov. Pomáha im uvedomiť si, aké dôležité je tráviť čas so svojimi deťmi. Druhá s názvom Vyrobené na Slovensku povzbudzuje ľudí k tomu, aby si kupovali domáce výrobky. Motto kampane naznačuje, že ak by každý Slovák minul 1 euro denne na domáci produkt, zabezpečila by sa tým práca pre 100 000 ľudí na rok (Nie je to úžasné? To ma ešte viac pohýna k tomu, aby sa táto myšlienka zaviedla aj v Bulharsku – ustavične sa sťažujeme na nedostatok práce a zatvorené továrne, no zároveň všetci nakupujeme lacné výrobky z Turecka a Číny…)
  • doprava (nechápte ma zle, aj v Bulharsku máme dopravu a v podstate sa mi páči, no funguje iným spôsobom ako tu), napríklad:
    • miestna doprava – na Slovensku ma milo prekvapila dochvíľnosť šoférov. Ľudia si na zastávke môžu pozrieť odchody autobusov. Ak je napísané, že má štvorka prísť 14:07, tak príde 14:07. Ani o minútu skôr, ani o minútu neskôr (a to napriek tomu, že šofér musí na každej zastávke počkať, kým všetci ľudia nastúpia a zakúpia si cestovný lístok ešte predtým, ako sa autobus pohne).
    • cestovné poriadky – super webová stránka, kde si môžete zistiť všetky možné spojenia z mesta A do dediny B – linky pre autobusy, vlaky alebo oboje (najnovšie už aj lety). Stačí len zopár kliknutí a každý si môže naplánovať alebo skontrolovať svoju cestu (pre tých, ktorí nehovoria po slovensky, stránka ponúka aj anglickú a nemeckú verziu).
  • susedské spolužitie – keď som prvýkrát prišla na Slovensko, dozvedela som sa, že tu má každá rodina v bytovke na starosti upratovanie – raz za dva týždne musí umyť dlážku a schody pred svojím bytom. V zime sa k tomu pridáva aj odpratávanie snehu spred bytovky – pričom sa rodiny striedajú každý týždeň (v Bulharsku máme iný systém – obyvatelia bytovky si na tieto služby nájdu a zaplatia človeka. V tomto prípade sa mi zdá lepšie niekoho zamestnať, aj keď len za malý plat). Neskôr som si všimla, že miestny duch susedstva je oveľa silnejší, ako som si myslela. Jednotlivé mestské časti si vytvárajú vlastné miestne organizácie (napríklad štvrť v Banskej Bystrici, v ktorej žijem – o ich blogu resp. webovej stránke som sa dozvedela z oznamu visiacom na vchodových dverách, ktorý upozorňoval na nadchádzajúci blší trh v danej časti mesta. Pripravovali ho miestni pre miestnych. Po čase som zistila, že organizujú ešte mnoho ďalších aktivít. To isté platí o Zvolene. Pred dvoma týždňami tam miestna komunita zorganizovala veľmi milé športové podujatie s hrami pre deti, na ktorom sa dokonca zúčastnil aj jeden dobrovoľník EDS.
  • vtipné výrazy – úprimne musím uznať, že som neurobila maximum preto, aby som sa naučila po slovensky čo najviac. Napriek tomu som sa naučila niekoľko výrazov, ktoré som si veľmi obľúbila a chcem si ich odniesť so sebou domov (do určitej miery im možno budú rozumieť aj moji kamaráti v Bulharsku). Napríklad „mám rád/a“ (neviem vám vysvetliť prečo, ale tento výraz sa mi naozaj páči), ďalej „Ježiš!“ (Najprv mi prišlo divné, že vždy keď sa ľuďom na Slovensku niečo nepodarí, spomenú ježka. Až po niekoľkých mesiacoch som zistila, čo to v skutočnosti znamená.) a samozrejme obľúbené „Moje nervy!“ (ktoré mi vždy pripomenie niektorých úžasných ľudí, ktorých som tu stretla :).)

Myslím, že môj kufor je už dosť plný a mala by som pomaly končiť (ďalšie milé slovné spojenie, s ktorým som sa tu stretla po prvýkrát :).

Tak ti, milé Slovensko, ďakujem za hrejivé prijatie! Sľubujem, že sa raz vrátim s kufrom plným zaujímavých nápadov z Bulharska.

S pozdravom,

Vesselina

Preklad: Jana Jašková, Stanislava Dengová

One week as EVS volunteer in CVČ-JUNIOR

If I think that we’ve been in Slovakia for 7 months now, I almost don’t believe it… Time flies! In just 3 months, in the end of July, our project will be over 😦 and in the beginning of October new volunteers will come.

This is just the period when Andy, our coordinator, starts looking  for the new volunteers, that’s why in this post I’ll describe my typical week as EVS volunteer in CVČ-JUNIOR, so that wanna-be volunteers can have a more precise idea of what they would do here in case they were selected.

Source: ddce.utexas.edu

Source: ddce.utexas.edu

First of all, I would like to make it clear that this is just my typical week here, and it doesn’t mean that all the volunteers do the same thing. For example, Vessy does many things that I don’t do and viceversa. Actually, one of the best things about EVS volunteering is that you can choose the activities that are most interesting for you. So, I’ll now speak about what I did in the week from April 8 to April 12.

Monday, April 8

At 9 am I arrive at the office and, after checking my email and the news, I start preparing a post for this blog. At the beginning of the project, we created this blog and since I quite like writing posts, I was given the task to maintain it, so I try to write at least one post per week and I normally start writing or thinking about it on Monday morning. At about 10.30 am Andy comes to our office and we have our weekly meeting, during which we speak about what we did the previous week and plan the activities of the current week. At noon, we go to the canteen for lunch. The canteen is in the same building of the office and I can say that food is quite good 🙂 Everyday there are 5 different options (at least one of them is vegetarian), but you need to choose which one you want one day earlier by stamping the lunch ticket. In the afternoon, I work a bit on the preparation of our first movie night on LGBTI which will take place on May 17. For example, this activity was totally my choice. I wanted to do it as I’m interested in the topic and I love cinema. At 2 pm I leave the office.

Tuesday, April 9

Like every Tuesday, at 8 am I attend my Slovak formal class, which is for me always a great pleasure, as every week I learn many interesting things not only about the Slovak language, but also about the Slovak culture and history thanks to my fantastic teacher. Learning the language of your hosting country is always part of EVS, and in my opinion it’s really a great opportunity. At 10.30 am I arrive at the office and help Vessy who has already started preparing the activities for our weekly Wednesday session with the actors of Divadlo z Pasáže. EVS volunteers hosted by CVČ-JUNIOR have been doing this activity for some years. It’s one of our regular activities and in my opinion it’s really rewarding, it boosts your creativity and makes you feel useful. At noon I go to lunch and in the afternoon I work a bit on the movie night preparation. I leave the office at 2 pm.

Wedneday, April 10

Normally on Wednesday morning I go to a local school where I have French conversation classes with students, but this Wednesday is not going to be a traditional Wednesday as there is a special event organised by CVČ-JUNIOR where we are going to help out: the Geography Olympics, a competition among students. So at 8 am Vessy and I go to the building where the olympics will take place and we prepare the premises. My task is to put numbers on every table in a set order, so that every participant knows exactly where his / her place is. After the Olympics, we go for lunch to the canteen and then from 1 pm to 3 pm we (Vessy, Andy and I) have our session with the actors of Divadlo z Pasáže. For this week, Vessy has prepared many games and also a nice song in Slovak: we sing it and Andy plays it on the guitar.

Thursday, April 11

At 8 am, as every Thursday morning, I hold French conversation classes. At 9 am I arrive at the office and, together with Vessy, we start preparing the activities for our weekly Thursday session with the children of a Special School, a group of about 15 children with special needs. This is another regular activity that EVS volunteers hosted by CVČ-JUNIOR have been doing for some years. At noon we quickly have lunch and then we (Vessy, Andy and I) rush not to miss the bus to go to the Special School. Our session is from 1 pm to 3 pm and today we have prepared a song. They are happy to sing it, but above all, all of them want to try playing the guitar, to Andy’s delight 🙂

Friday, April 12

At 9 am I arrive at the office and I check my email and the news. At 10 am I have Slovak informal class with Andy. As I said, with Andy we have informal classes: he doesn’t teach us grammar, but we rather do more practical things, tailored  to our specific needs and interests. At noon, I have lunch in the canteen. After lunch I work a bit on the movie night preparation and at 3 pm I leave the office and my weekend begins 🙂

So this was quite a typical week, except that during that specific week I didn’t manage to meet my mentor (every EVS volunteer has one mentor, who is a local person who helps the volunteer get integrated in the hosting country). I should also add that, apart from our regular activities, we often take part in irregular activities, such as presentations in school, sport competitions, school competitions, etc.

So good luck to future volunteers and if you need more information don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

Emanuela

Some ideas for simple and funny handicrafts for children: the octopus

In the past, I spoke about a very nice activity that we did in Divadlo z Pasáže. Today, I would like to speak about some other nice handicrafts we did in Špeciálna Základná Škola in Sásová, with a group of about 15 children with special needs and of different age: I’ll speak about how to do octopuses from toilet paper rolls.

But first of all, let’s see what we need to make them:

  • toilet paper rolls
  • watercolours or any other colours
  • markers
  • paint brushes
  • a plastic glass and a cloth if you use watercolours
  • scissors

And now let’s start!

First of all we decorated the toilet rolls: every child drew the eyes and the mouth and painted the octopuses as they liked. The children proved very creative, as each octopus was absolutely unique! Then, we waited until the octopuses were dry (with watercolours it just took a couple of minutes). When they were dry, with scissors we cut small vertical stripes until about half the height the octopuses. Finally, we rolled each stripe around the paint brush to make them seem similar to the octopus’ tentacles. That’s it!

For the children it was really funny, but to be honest not just for them 😉