Volunteers take part in Tony McGowan run in Drumshanbo

Our volunteers Nino Rizzo and Sasha Peralaika took part in the 7th Annual Tony McGowan Run on Sunday the 17th Feb 2019.


Photo by Mark Kelly

Here are their impressions.


Sasha: “I did the 10K distance. I never thought I could run 10 kilometres! I’ve always struggled with running, I was probably the worst in my class at school. I’ve been running more or less consistently since last October, so it took me about 4 months to get ready for this run. My finishing time was 01:00:57. And of course I took advantage of the “home field” because I was familiar with the place. I feel like it’s a big accomplishment and I’ll be training for half marathon in the nearest months”.


Nino: “I was pleased to take part in the marathon. It was a nice time to enjoy the landscape around Drumshanbo in a different way and with new people. There were actually a lot of people, more than I was expecting. The town is often so quiet, so I was happy to see a bit of crowd! Now I would like to train for the next one!”

Our Climate Change song is out!

Check out the Climate Change song created and performed by Transition Year students of Mohill Community college! This song was made during the GEAI Climate Action Days initiative.



Irish Halloween for our EVS volunteers


Volunteers with their Halloween pumpkin

Nino, Sarah and Siri with their Halloween pumpkin

Halloween is an important part of the Irish culture as it is an original Irish festival, marking the time when the bright summer and autumn moves into the darkness of winter. We, the EVS volunteers, were delighted to enjoy Halloween this year!


Over the past few weeks, we saw the shops and houses decorated with skeletons, pumpkins, spiders and their webs, bats and all the scary stuffs you can imagine.

Nightmare on Highstreet in Drumshanbo

The Haunted House in Drumshanbo

We also enjoyed decorating our home with spiders, bats, a black cat and obviously, a magnificent Halloween pumpkin proudly carved by ourselves!


A lot of Halloween events took place in County Leitrim and we enjoyed a Halloween party in a pub in Carrick-on-Shannon. Finally we went to the “Haunted House” in Drumshanbo during Halloween night. In the darkness of the labyrinth, people dressed up like monsters and creepy creatures emerged from nowhere, with frightening noises and screams. What a creepy experience!

Even the weather on Halloween night seemed to be in a scary mood, with fog, yellow moon and frost!

 Now we can say that we have had the creepiest and best Halloween in our lives!



The Belarusians are coming!

Our Advanced Planned Visit started on Wednesday November 7th 2018, when Del picked us up from the airport. Two of us came on an APV: me, Sasha, a volunteer whose year-long EVS project was about to start, and Alisa, volunteer coordinator of Fialta, my sending organization. The first thing Alisa did was to get into the driver’s seat, which wasn’t surprising for Del, though – it seems like everyone needs time to adjust to differences when they’re in Ireland for the first time and driving on the different side of the road is one of those things.

Our first encounter with Leitrim was when we stopped for lunch at a nice little café, the food was good, the people – really friendly and looking genuinely interested in what these new people are here for, which was nice. Since then I have been impressed by general friendliness and that is one of the things that helped me settle in faster.  After lunch I had a chance to drop my bags at volunteers’ house and have a quick look, then we headed straight to the office of GEAI in Ballinaglera Community Hall. We went straight into planning my upcoming EVS, both sending and hosting organizations had to make sure I understood volunteer’s role, was familiar with aims, objectives and main ideas of the project, knew what was expected of me and could ask about important aspects before the project started. In the evening we enjoyed a homemade dinner with the representatives of GEAI and had a chance to get to know each other in a less formal way. Also, that night we visited a local pub where a music session was happening, that was something I’ve never seen before and I was greatly impressed. Although by the end of the night I was falling asleep right there, because by that time we had been up for about 22 hours (there is a 3-hour difference with Belarus and we had an early flight).

Next day we were planning Climate Action Days for school together, and it was great to start participating actively straight away.  And in the first couple of days we were able to see a few totally different types of Irish weather – from a bright sunny day to lashing rain, which also gave me an idea of what is waiting for me in the coming year. The next dinner we had was cooked by the volunteers, each one made a national dish and it was absolutely delicious. For us it was great to have two homemade vegetarian dinners in the row, we were taken great care of.

So this Advanced Planned Visit happened to be a very important step before the start of the project, gave the two organizations opportunity to discuss important issues and helped me, the volunteer, settle in easier and get ready for the project.


Cool Planet Experience

Calculating our carbon footprint

Sarah and Siri, GEAI volunteers, visited yesterday the Cool Planet Experience in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow! Together with our previous volunteer, Francesca, the Cool Planet Champion from Co. Leitrim, we wondered in this unique, interactive climate change experience. Our journey started with calculating our personal carbon footprint, which was much higher than expected!

Then we continued in the disaster room, where we saw the devastating effects of our actions on our planet, and the consequences we are going to face if we will not chanCool Planet Experience braceletsge. Flooding, famine, and complete dystopia. A scary scenario but real nevertheless! With this bad feeling about our planet we entered the globe room, where we were informed about the science behind the climate change and what we can do to tackle the problem. After that, we continued to the ‘Race to 2050’ room. In a series of funny video games, we managed to save a city from the brink of destruction. We built wind farms, insulated homes and put solar panels on the roofs, fixed water leakages and recycled tonnes of plastic and metal! Sarah was the absolute winner, as she managed to have the highest score in all the games! What a climate agent! She absolutely saved the city!Cool Planet Experience Enniskerry

But our success doesn’t stop there! In the quiz room we got the highest score of the week, answering right most of the questions. Did you know that 40 000 cows are slaughtered every week in Ireland? We did, but were as disturbed by the fact, as you are!

And off to the Forest of Hope where we could finally relax and have our hopes restored. If we all act now and stop self-destructive practices, we can save our future. In the room of Brighter Futures we pledged to reduce meat consumption, use our cars less and make our houses environmentally friendly.

As a result we will manage to reduce our carbon footprint significantly.Cool Planet Experience Small changes in our everyday life that can make a huge difference. A roller coaster of an experience! We started terrified but went out full of hope and promises to act now! Why don’t you too?







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