10 Sep 2018

Keti about her EVS in Romania

Becoming a volunteer will change your life, it will change you into a better person, and it will give you life experiences of all kinds, colours and shapes. It will give you the chance to grow and help others grow. You will have the opportunity to give yourself to those you will work with and learn so much from them.
Life in EVS comunity is a new adventure. we learn to share all things with people from different countries and thoughts. for me it is a very heartwarming experience , because I learning a lot of things, new languages and to appreciate the little moments.
Now that my project is about to finish I realize all that I have learned during 9 months: giving classes and workshops, speaking in public, making new friends, catching new opportunities, travelling to new places and in a different way… I have built a life that will be difficult to be left behind. 
As redundant as it sounds, I learnt how to truly be a volunteer; I learnt what it means. I understand, now, the importance of team work and above all, initiative and patience. I got to know so much about Romanian culture, life and traditions. I came to see their world with new eyes. I discovered myself, the good things and the bad things, thus gaining the tools to be a better person for myself and for others. I had the chance to me immersed in many different languages and cultures, and compare them. I have obtained the realistic experience of independent life and semi-professional world, with all its better moments and harder moments.
Project "Unlock the world" was definitely the best thing I’ve ever done with my life. I never realized how hard life can be for people. I loved volunteering there because you could be silly and ridiculous by singing badly or dancing even worse and no one would judge you. In the end, all that mattered was putting a smile on the children’s faces.
People with autism seem to be living in their own world. No one completely understands what they are going through. It’s also more difficult to make friends. I started working in A.N.C.A.A.R center. 
These kids taught me more than I could have ever taught them. Most of kids were nonverbal and of course that posed challenges, but it was honestly the most rewarding experience I have ever had. Prior to this, I had some, but limited, experience working with children with disabilities. In this project, I was right in there. I'm not gonna say that this job was easy and fun all of the time because that's just not true. The truth is, it was extremely challenging and at times I asked myself why I decided to do that. But every time I had those doubts, I came back with the same conclusion: I LOVE THIS. 
Because the children were mostly nonverbal, they biheviour is different but that never frustrated me. Instead, it taught me a kind of patience and compassion I had never experienced before. I realized that these kids had no other way to communicate and it was our job to try to help them and redirect them in different areas.
I truly believe that they are probably the happiest people when they could be the most miserable. 
There is not some rules how to communicate with children. Every child is different. so you should to try find your own way how to communicate with them. 

It is everything, when you saw children happy faces. You realized that your job is done.
And very important people in my life my fantastic team.
I love you all guys!

Keti's EVS hosting org:  Asociatia EXPLORATOR
Sending organisation: Association "Georgian Youth for Europe"

9 Aug 2018

Maka about her short term EVS in Jelgava, Latvia


On the 1st of July we (3 Georgian EVS volunteers - me, Luka and Sopio) arrived in BJMK, in Jelgava city, Latvia, which became our home for the next 1 month. The participants in the project would come one by one, so we had to wait for others to join us for the first 2 days. On July 3, we all the 12 members from 4 different countries were here at the music school and ready to start working to renovate the lovely old building and make it colorful and alive again!
We were distributed into 4 teams and each one had to take responsibility for one room to repair and decorate it with own imagination. I really loved the fact that we were totally free in choice and could do anything we would love to do in the rooms that we were given. So it was the time to let our creativity flourish and we tried to do so!
In the beginning, the site looked like that it really needed to be renovated because all you could find there were some old, almost antique objects and dusty shelves, covered with spider webs. We used to work every day except weekends for about one month and in the end, we managed to make the rooms look cleaner and nicer, maybe even artistic! Finally, I was kind of satisfied with our work but still had the sense that we could do better maybe because I was expecting more from myself but overall, I liked the result that our enthusiasm and collaboration gave!
Besides working, we would spend our time preparing the cultural evenings and presenting our countries to each other. On those special days, the country representatives would make a presentation and let others taste their delicious traditional food along with listening to the native music and songs. On those days we learned more about Spain, France, and Italy from the locals.
Regarding Georgia, not a lot of people knew much about it. So, we the Georgian participants tried our best to introduce our country to others as comprehensively as possible and get them acquainted with our history. We even attempted to cook Georgian food which took us around one day because not any of the 3 of us has ever had any experience in cooking. But still, I think the dishes were not so bad, at least that's what our friends said!

On weekends as usually, we would set out together to so many beautiful Latvian places to visit and explore them(containing Jurmala, Liepaja, Sigulda, Riga, Jelgava, and Bauska).
 Once 9 of us went to Estonia by bus and the others including me stayed at home to take the adventure to hitchhike to the same destination instead of traveling by a comfortable and safe transport. We the 3 adventure seekers (Camilla from Italy, Luka from Georgia and I) found a host on Couchsurfing, bought two tents and after work on Friday, at 3 PM we were off to the road to Estonia. Although it took us around two days to reach Tallinn, we loved the experience and did not really regret that we preferred hitchhiking over going by bus, because while sharing the ride with the drivers we would talk with them and by doing so we learned and heard more about the places were passing by from the natives.
I loved being here, it changed me a little maybe, since I learned many things by observing and communicating/living/sharing with others. I made friends and am quite sure that we will meet each other again at some time in life. Now I am a better team player and individual worker which are going to be really helpful and useful gained qualities in life!

Maka Buchunteli

GYE note: Makas, Sopos and un Lukas hosting organisation in the Latvia was Biedrība “Bērnu un jauniešu mūzikas klubs” , PIC 940071136. The project was about creating interior for Youth Leisure Centre.  Project activities included some repair work, drawing patterns, painting walls, building furniture from creative materials, like wooden boxes, cardboard etc., also some simple renovating. 

24 Jul 2018

Summer in Georgia

Our long term  EVS volunteers spending their summer here in Georgia. They have a possibility to explore nature and travel as much as possible. Check it out their traveling tips and recommendations;

Aga Polish volunteer - "What summer in Caucasus means for me? Well, I’ve never experienced that hot weather for such a long time in my home country (Poland), so have to admit: I love it! And also as it’s my second favorite season and it’s perfect for doing things that I really like, I could say it gives me lots of opportunities to spend time as I really love to. Especially when it comes to Georgian summer. Living in mountain country surrounded by mostly wild, untouched nature is perfect for someone who is really into trekking, hiking and low cost trips. Because Caucasus is very backpacker’s friendly region. People are unexpected and unchangeable helpful and hospitable, and that’s why hitchhiking here is rather easy and fast. And also usually the only way to reach some very remote places, the less touristic and mostly unknown ones. Together with my friends-flatmates we travel every weekend to not to lose any moment of hot sunlight and fresh greenery around us. For me camping somewhere in the woods or at lake together with my friends is the award for whole day of hiking. Cooking at self-made bonfire and chatting meanwhile makes those evenings even more special. To not tell only about outdoor activities and travelling, I will mention how it’s to live almost at the desert where heat is even more noticeable. Yes, because Rustavi was built literally on the area without any forest around, some days it’s quite impossible even to work in the office! But you can easily help yourself buying fresh, juicy melon or watermelon at nearest bazari. And after work just lie on the grass and catch sunbeams or bike around the city, which cools you down. Yeah, strongly recommend. 
Mariusz Polish Volunteer - "It’s already the end of July, so half of the summer in Georgia passed. Weather is good, even extremely good – sun every day and temperatures basically never below 30 degrees, so we are trying to use it as much as possible. Weekdays I’m spending in Rustavi working in organization and trying to survive heat in the city, but for weekends I’m escaping as much as possible. I have already visited seaside and had a chance to tan as well as swim in super warm Black Sea. But lying on the beach is not the thing I enjoy the most, so more often I’m visiting mountains. I already have visited Racha, where we hiked to the Buba glacier. The trek is amazing, although a bit tiring, but views are so great that it’s totally worth to do it. And it’s possible to do it in one day, so you can leave your tent and stuff somewhere (as we did in a remote place in the woods next to the border with Ossetia) and go to explore this region. We also went to Armenia to do hike between Gosh and Dilijan, which is very easy and if you divide it into two days you will not be too tired and have time to enjoy the nature. Moreover, on the way it is possible to camp next to the lake and swim there, which makes the experience even more better.

Of course, summer in Georgia is not only about travelling, but also fruits. We are in the middle of the season and we can enjoy fresh and sweet watermelons, melons,
 peaches, plums and much more. A lot of sun, a lot of fruits – what more one can expect? It’s just a straight way to lead calm, happy life "

Lea French Volunteer - "It's done, the first goal of my to do list: the trail between Mestia and Ushguli! 4 days, 46km to discover part of Svanetia. We finally discovered the famous Svanetian towers.This trail is of an easy level, if there is sun! However, in rainy weather, you have to be careful because the slippery parts are numerous. This trail asks the organization: to plan the meals, because the shops are rare ...
The landscapes are magnificent !"

25 May 2018

Trip to Racha

"On weekend 18-20.05 our Rustavi team decided to have a trip and go to Racha. Friend of our common friend has there a house, where he said we could stay and enjoy the neighborhood. We started our trip on Friday around 9.30 in Rustavi hitchhiking first to Tbilisi, where we met one more friend and then, after splitting into two groups, to Nirkotsminda.  First group arrived just before 17, the second one few minutes later. After checking the house, we went to the nearby lake (Shaori) to touch the water. Next day we did short hiking to the ice cave (where really was a bit of ice at the end) and Udabno monastery. After coming back we realized that we run out of gas, so in order to cook anything we were forced to use the old style oven, where in order to make fire we had to use wood. It took a lot of time to cook anything on it, but it was fun and something unusual. The next day, Sunday, we went to Ambrolauri, where we started our 12 km trail in mountains. It wasn’t very tiring, weather was perfect, views amazing, so nothing more to expect. After all we came back to Nirkotsminda to relax, eat dinner and enjoy our last evening in Racha. Monday morning we started our way to Rustavi, which we reached in the afternoon. The trip was great, Racha is an amazing part of Georgia, even though we saw only a small part of it. Anyway, everybody enjoyed it so much and this weekend only confirm my thoughts that Georgia is amazing country with amazing mountains!"- Mariusz Tomaszuk

24 Apr 2018

Mariusz First month in Georgia

"Thursday, 15 March 2018, 3 am, Warsaw – time to wake up, collect luggage, call taxi and go to the airport. Soon, my life will be completely different to the one I had so far. I am on my way to Rustavi. Georgia to do my EVS. Never heard about Rustavi before, my knowledge about Georgia is not do broad, but decision was made.

After a month of living there I can say it was good decision, so far. During that time I adapted to the new environment, met new people – in my organization, my flat mates as well as other volunteers living in the neighborhood. Just after arrival I participated in the on-arrival training, which gave me chance to think more about my time there, my goals, activities I will be taking part in as well as to meet other volunteers from Georgia and Armenia and exchange thoughts and ideas. Moreover, I participated in one youth exchange with youngsters from Denmark, which was a great time and opportunity to meet new people and spend time on activities, which I had never had time for before. My first month here is also about discovering Georgian culture with amazing supra tradition, super delicious food (so far khinkhali and eggplants with walnuts are my bests), amazing wine, beauty of country and hospitality of locals.
I started on-going job in my organization – helping with events organizing by it, organizing and leading clubs for youngsters as well as organizing other activities aimed on making live in Rustavi more vivid and interesting. They also help to be more integrated with local society, feel like at home and be part of the people living there.
First month passed really quickly and I’m pretty sure this same will happen with the remaining time. I hope it will be as interesting and full of emotions as the past month and at the end I would be able to say: “Wow that was amazing time!” However, right now is time to focus on my time here and enjoy every second of it"-  Mariusz  Long Term EVS Volunteer From Poland