During my EVS I had 2 training I attended. The first training (on-arrival) was in January and helped me to get more information about the tasks of my project and the people involved and of course I get to know a lot of volunteers that are in the same situation as me. Now that I already spent half of my service it was time for my mid-term-training.
For this I met for 3 days with 11 other volunteers in a beautiful manor close to Rīga. Most of us met in the bus in Rīga already and we went together to Rāmava, were the meeting took place. In the first try we missed our bus stop but when we passed it by the second time, we finally made it 😀 We walked some minutes from there and finally reached (with some delay) the beautiful manor. It’s located inside a little forest with a small river in front of it and a big lawn. In the house we were welcomed by Karina and also met the other volunteers. After bringing our stuff inside the rooms we soon occupied the coffee machine. There we also get to know our trainer Vilis. We only had 1 trainer because we weren’t such a big group. Karina was there to support Vilis and also took care of everything organisational. So in total we were 14 people: Vilis, Karina, 5 Italians, 2 Spanish, 1 Georgian, 1 Croatian, 1 Turkish, 1 Belarussian and me, 1 German.
We started with some games where we get to know each other. I already knew more than half of the people from my on-arrival-training and from other meetings. But it was also interesting to get to know new things. We build paper airplanes and send them around the room. You caught one of them and then you have to ask 1 question to the person the paper airplaned belonged to. We talked about our favorite things, our future in 5 years, our favourite place and other things. Afterwards we get lunch. The lunch there was really good and they prepared something apart for us 3 vegetarians which we really appreciated. After lunch we had a big break. Together with 2 other volunteers we decided to take a walk around and ended up petting horses which were on a paddock close to the manor.
After our break we made team- and trustbuilding exercises. Vilis seperated us in 4 groups and each one had to prepare their own exercises. My group decided to make a kind of “treasure hunt”: We painted for alle the 3 groups 1 object that was inside or close to the house. They had to find their object and draw a map without using words or drawing the actual object. Then they gave the map to another group and they had to find the object. Everyone had a lot of fun and found the objects in time. We also made challenges were we had to tell stories with strange words inside or caring water on our heads around which was also funny but also really wet 😀
After a coffee break we had a new tasks to draw our EVS experience. We were supposed to involve our challenges, our achievements, the people we work with and some other things. For me it was a big challenge as I’m really not good in drawing but in the end I managed to draw this:
The german flag is me teaching english and german. On the other side there are my latvian and russian students and all the different languages spoken inbetween. In the top you can read “Мана пилс Даугавпилс”. It is written in russian but actually it is lavtian (Mana pils Daugavpils) and means “My city Daugavpils”. But I thought mixing up these languagesperfectly fits to Daugavpils where you also have both languages together. I felt really soon home here (actually already on my first day) so I think this sentence applies to me. And everything is surrounded by a tram because this was my big project and on the same time my biggest achievement and biggest challenge.
After the dinner we had time to explore the houses and its surroundings. We soon found a room with a lot of accesoires which we of yourse had to try on and make photos with. Also I took a walk with another volunteer but it was already quite late so we only went a few streets further.
On Wednesday we had the task to draw a cardiogramm of our EVS. That means that we should draw a line with our ups and downs. It was really interesting to think about how I felt in different parts of my EVS. I realized that I felt the worse when most of my friends in Daugavpils went away in May. But hopefully there were also new people at this time, so it didn’t last too long. Afterwards we presented our Cardiogramms and I think this was the most interesting at the training for me. We talked about our ups and downs and how we dealt with them and also why we went ahead with EVS and didn’t quit. We also realized that most of our obstacles can be managed if you find support and just don’t give up. I think this is a really important experiences because not all the time everything goes right. We also made a list with the groups of challenges (like language, social contacts, finding proejct ideas) and afterwards we split up in groups and tried to find solutions.
At our lunch break this day I decided to take a walk again with 1 other volunteer. Our goal was the big river Daugava. In google maps it looked not that far away but of course we also took a look at the houses, gardens and the village itself so it took us quite a long time. From the Daugava you could then see Rīga. We really enjoyed the view and then took our walk back. In the end we came to late for the next days but our trainer didn’t mind because we informed him that we are going to be late. In the evening we spent our time playing logical games and Werewolf (some people also call it Mafia).
On Thursday we spoke about the future of our projects and also what we could do afterwards. Some of us already had really precise plans and it was really interesting to hear all the different ideas. Also we talkes about questions left. At 4 in the afternoon our training was over then and we went back by bus home. It was a really interesting training and I had a lot of fun and also learned a lot.