Skanējām kopā! (Rons, brīvprātīgais)

Eiropas Solidaritātes Korpusa atbalstītais projekts “Ļauj skanēt” (2020-2-LV02-ESC11-003230 ) ir noslēdzies, Rons ir devies atpakaļ uz Vāciju.  Pirms Rons devās prom no Latvijas, lūdzām viņam pārskatīt savu pieredzi šeit mūsu skolā kopā ar skolēniem, skolotājiem un vietējo Gulbenes kopienu! Mums bija prieks iepazīt Ronu, Vācijas un Indijas kultūru, kā arī baudīt Rona klavierspēli.

“My time in Latvia!

I came to Latvia on the fifth of September and got picked up at the airport. My first impression of Latvia was the green landscape and the national pride, represented by multiple Latvian flags on the way to Gulbene. In this way, Latvia is very different from Germany, as Germans usually do not show national pride. After arriving in Gulbene, I realized how different and green even the smaller towns of Latvia are. The first two weeks were mostly filled with getting to know the working environment, preparing a presentation on my cultural background, and discovering Gulbene. Moreover, I went to the swimming pool with a fifth grade and realized the different dimensions of my hometown in terms of the swimming pool‘s size. The first words or phrases of Latvian I learned to speak were: Labdien, Paldies, and Es neerunaju latviski, which are extremely helpful for almost every situation. Subsequently, I went to Sigulda to participate in the On-Arrival Training. There, I met many volunteers currently residing in Latvia and learned more about Latvians through different projects and activities. After talking to Latvians more, we realized they only seem closed up, but once you get into a conversation, they are very friendly and welcoming. Back in Gulbene, I visited a self-government evening, held my presentation in different classes, and went out for some activities. In addition, I organized my first “ Non-Formal English Afternoon“ for teachers, which would be continued in the future. My first Latvian Language Lesson also took place, and I realized how similar some words are to German. In the next few weeks, I continued to hold English afternoons and also started to give weekly piano lessons. Another welcome addition was different events outside of school, like musical events in Balvi, joining charity auctions, and going to Stamerienas castle. As the weeks passed, the kids got to know me better, as I was in the library playing games and talking to them. On top of that, I also held my finished presentation on Germany and India in multiple English and German classes. As long as the weather was still good, I accompanied different classes on excursions, like making soap, playing laser tag, or going to museums. The Latvian lessons were still going on every week, and I also decided to start learning some French by myself. In November, two filmmaking volunteers visited Gulbene and made a small video on a day in the life of a volunteer. It was a lot of fun, even though the video was incomplete because they were not allowed to film the kids. Additionally, I joined dance lessons with locals and other volunteers, which are taking place two times a week. As part of an event, I played in an elderly home and later at a Christmas event with a group I

had previously joined during music lessons. For Christmas, I had to dress up as Santa Claus to make a video for a teacher‘s event. To my disappointment, I was ill on Christmas and missed a big event. After New Year, I went to different classes and held my presentation, played games, and explained Germany and India‘s culture closer to them. A bit later, I went to Sigulda for the Mid-Arrival Training and back to Gulbene for local volunteer training at Baze Youth Center. End of January, I experienced my first trip to a Scandinavian country when I went to Norway with some other volunteers. Back in Latvia, I followed up on a long-standing wish of mine: I started to take guitar lessons in school with some other students. In the meantime, some new volunteers arrived in Gulbene, which lead to me going to the youth center more often and also joining different events, like giving out flowers for mothers Day, joining an international evening, and some small tournaments. Another event I joined was a dance festival where dance groups came together and showed what they had learned. Back in school, I held English lessons for different grades and instructed some classes on how to create presentations. Another important event was a musical event where students from Balvi, both schools in Gulbene, and volunteers joined in and had an enjoyable time together while playing and presenting their skills. By now, the Latvian lessons have stopped, but the English, guitar, and dance lessons are still going on, as well as the games in the library. The latest event I attended was an Escape Room event in Stameriena, where different nationalities came together and had a fun time in the castle, trying to solve different riddles and mysteries. As the weather improved, more events started to occur, and I tried attending as many as possible. Some examples of this are dance festivals in Gulbene and Litene, events from Baze Youth Center, school events, or small open-air concerts. One of my favorite school trips was an excursion to Rujiena and Valmiera with two classes where we had different activities and free time. My favorite trip outside school was visiting the music school and presenting the Blues and Boogie genres to them. Because of the interest and active participation, it was a fun event and only one among many. Other events were a big fundraiser event at school and a Baze event at the red castle, where I and some other volunteers made crepes together. Moreover, the weather allowed me to play football with kids and to be outside more. This positively impacted my free time and also made traveling more fun.”