Who is on Your Back?

The game

On Wednesday 26th April, EVS volunteers leaded a biodiversity game in Youth Café Drumshanbo. The name of the game is «Who’s on Your Back?». The concept was reviewing Irish wildlife through team communication.

Rules of the game

We prepared sticky labels with the names of well-known animals on it. For instance: whale, rabbit, snake and so on. Then we stuck the labels on everyone’s back without letting them know «who they were». Each member had to find out who was on their back by asking questions to the others in the team. Questions were asked in such a way that the answers could be just «Yes» or «No». The player could ask no more than two questions then it was other’s player turn. Once they found out who they were they could play again with another animal on their backs.

The result

It was an useful game to develop children’s communication skills and attention. They were listening to each other carefully and with interest. The environmental outcome of the game  showed that children are really curious about Irish wild life and they  guessed the answers very quickly. It was great craic!

Musical chairs recycling game

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Yesterday, 22th March, EVS volunteers organised a recycling game in Youth Café Drumshanbo. It was based on musical chairs but the aim was learning more about good recycling habits.

We had developed this game before with an energy quiz and it was a complete success that’s why we decided to do it again. The main idea was dancing around while the music was playing and try to find a chair when it stopped. The kid who was standing because he/she wasn’t able to find an available chair, had to answer a recycling question. A correct answer meant the kid could continue playing, however an incorrect answer meant he/she was out of the game. It was great! They took their time to think and they chose their answers carefully. At the end we concluded that our previous recycling workshops were effective because they have pretty clear what a good recycling habit is. We will see them next week!

Informal learning: hopscotch water quiz!

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Yesterday, 15th February, GEAI EVS volunteers coordinated an informal learning activity about water in Youth Café Drumshanbo. It consisted on a combination between a fun game and a water quiz. The kids had fun and learned at the same time.

Hopscotch game

Based on Hopscotch game we put paper sheets on the floor with numbers from 1-11. The group of kids was divided into two teams. The first team chose a member to start  throwing the die. They should answer the water question associated with the number that the die just showed. All the questions were related to the water topic.  To get to the number they hoped and scotched. If they answered correctly they continued playing, if not the other team played. The purpose of the game was that all team members reached the “end” paper sheet to be the winner team.

Learning together

While playing, we found out that they paid attention to every answer, just in case the question could be repeated again. They were engaged with the game, trying to do their best. They have learned that the energy generated from water is called hydroelectric, that almost 80% of the Earth is covered by water however, less than 1% of it is available to drink. It was great to develop the activity with them! They would like to play hopscotch again! It is amazing to see how a popular game mixed with a learning activity can amuse them.

We still remember Christmas

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Our EVS volunteers, Kate and Andrea, experienced Christmas time in different locations: Leitrim and Vigo (Spain).

Christmas holiday in Leitrim

Christmas is over but this magic time full of lights, Christmas trees, decorations, gifts is still in our memory.

What does Christmas  look like in  rural Leitrim? Kate spent Christmas with a Ballinaglera family  and experienced a traditional irish festival.

Christmas Eve began with Christmas Mass in Saint Hugh’s Catholic Church. Maybe you already know that in Ballinaglera each person is in some way a musician. The choir at Mass consisted of local ordinary people and for sure you could not see the difference between this and a professional one. Famous «Hallelujah» and «We wish you a Merry Christmas» bonded everybody.

After mass but before the children went to bed, the family put milk and cookies for Santa in front of the chimney and carrot for reindeers. Our family really takes care of Santa.

Christmas day started with cheerful shouts and screaming not only from children, everybody was delighted to see what Santa brought for them (including earrings for Kate!). The cookies and carrots had disappeared as you might have guessed.

Christmas dinner or lunch is the next part of enjoyment. The table groaned under the food: duck with gravy, bacon, all kinds of vegetables and Christmas pudding at the end. Thank God everybody survived – it was delicious!

Christmas holiday in Spain

Christmas is an important event in Spain, not just because of the religious connotation but also family gatherings. December 24th evening is the most important celebration. Families have dinner together enjoying a wide range of delicious meals: seafood, smoked salmon and salad for starters following by roasted lamb with gravy or steamed cod with cauliflower. For dessert different choices are available on the table: cheesecake, apple pie, turron, raisins and dates. During the meal we share our memories and usually speak about our lives and politics.

New Year’s Eve is an important celebration too. It’s not as intimate and quiet as Christmas Eve but there’s one important tradition. Twelve seconds before 12.00 am we sit around the table and eat  twelve grapes. Each grape symbolizes each month of the year and they have to be eaten with every clock stroke. The tradition started in 1909 due to a grape harvest surplus in Alicante. It’s a way to say goodbye to the previous year and start the new one with the best of luck!

The night of 5th of January is the most important celebration for kids! We commemorate the  time when, according to Christian religion, The three Wise Men brought presents to Jesus. That night, presents appear under the Christmas tree and the day after all family enjoy together their new gifts.

Christmas is a period of joy and social events.  It’s about spending time with important people in your life and sharing your food and time with them!

EVS icebreaker in County Galway

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On Friday 18th November we, the GEAI EVS volunteers, visited Youth Work Ireland Galway (YWIG) in Ballinasloe. There, we had the opportunity to learn more about the EVS programme and we met the YWIG volunteers and participate in some team building activities with them.

15182520_1801069043501774_583424784_oHelen Butler, who is the work coordinator in Ballinasloe Centre, organised a ”Reflection on EVS” Workshop in which we shared our experiences, expectations and points of view. During the workshop we answered such important questions: “Who was I before EVS and who will I be after my EVS?” or “How can we bridge the gap between EVS volunteer and hosting organization workers?”

It was really good for us to hear how volunteers from another organisation are working and planning their free time and to learn more about the dynamics of mentorship. It helped to get a new perspective on EVS life.

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We really enjoyed the collaboration with the YWIG volunteers and we are really thankful for their hospitality. On Friday they treated us to a delicious curry chicken meal and invited us to stay at their place for the weekend. On Saturday they showed us around the Town where they are living – Ballinasloe, and we ended up going to a local pub to enjoy the “craic”. On Sunday we visited Galway and, even despite the fog, we had an amazing experience and fell in love with this picturesque town. Some of the things that particularly amazed us were the Christmas Market, the Spanish Arch, the Riverside Walk and Galway Cathedral.

In sum, the sympathy of the YWIG volunteers combined with the charming atmosphere of Galway made it a fabulous visit and one of the best weekends that we have had in our EVS! We left Galway with a feeling of amusement and a wish to come back soon

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