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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Helen 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.
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
On Wednesday 9th November our EVS volunteers, Kate and Andrea, visited the Youth Café in Drumshanbo to develop an activity programme on Renewable Energy with a group of kids between 10-12 years old.
The purpose of the programme is to understand what children know about the environment and what they are interested in. Our final goal is to arouse their interest in environmental protection and to recognise how we can protect the planet.
We organised different activities: first an icebreaker to get familiar with our group and try to have fun and know each other. After, a game to understand how important land is and the impact of climate change (floods, droughts, hurricanes) on those who lose their land. Finally we used different pictures related to pollution, recycling, energy, wildlife, and we discussed them. For Kate it was really interesting to explain to them what a hydroelectric power station is and how it works.
The children were full of energy and creativity, really engaged with the activities and we understand that they would like to have more sessions with us! We had great support from youth’s centre workers who helped us with all the activities.
It was our first experience with the group and we have found it a perfect combination of learning and fun! It was really interesting to see how all of them began thinking in a different way. We are looking forward to working with them again!