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!
Last Wednesday 30th November, the EVS volunteers Kate and Andrea, developed a dynamic energy quiz in Drumshanbo Youth Café. It was the second session we had with the same group of children between 10-12 years old. The game was based on musical chairs. Instead of being directly out of the game when someone was standing, we gave them the opportunity to continue playing if they answered correctly an energy question.
The purpose of the quiz is learning more about renewable energy and energy saving tips while they have fun playing a game they are familiar with. We found it was an effective approach to mix fun and knowledge. The children were full of energy and inspiration. They answered the questions quickly enough to return to the game. We can say it was a complete success, while playing we heard comments such as: “this is great fun!”, “let’s play again”. We were delighted to share our time with them and to contribute to their non-formal learning.
Art from rubbish
After that, we had our last session with them before Christmas. Our EVS volunteers in cooperation with Drumsanbo local pubs “Conways” and “The Millrace” collected recyclable rubbish to create Christmas decorations.
The idea was to show a simple example of sustainability and recycling through art. GEAI volunteers, Andrea, Kate and Alex went to Drumshanbo’s pubs and asked the staff to keep caps and cans from non alcohol beverage during the weekend. They collected a lot of bottle caps and cans. Using them Kate and Andrea showed the group of children how to create a snowman as an example of Christmas decorations.
Children were excited! They created different kinds of snowmen using cans, caps and other materials.
It was really enjoyable. During the weekend they sold their snowmen on Drumshanbo local Christmas market.
We were delighted to collaborate with Youth Café staff members and we are really thankful to the pubs. We know this weekend was profitable for our sustainable little group.
EVS on-arrival training
From 1st – 4th December, the GEAI volunteers went to Dublin for their EVS on-arrival training, organised by Léargas. This training brings all EVS volunteers in Ireland together and gives them an opportunity to share learning and experiences and to have fun!
Andrea, Kate, and Alex had a great time and connected with the other volunteers living in other parts of Ireland. It was a time to share experiences, learn about other cultures and their organisations. It was also a time to look back and reflect on the EVS experience so far. The three volunteers learned more about planning ahead, Youthpass and even received some advice on problem-solving!
One should not judge people based on stereotypes
Andrea found these four days a great opportunity to reflect on her own experience in a deeper way and to see things through the eyes of different people with different nationalities and cultures. She learned that one should not judge people based on stereotypes and that culture has a major influence in the way of thinking. She discovered that leaving her comfort zone can make her wiser! She met amazing people with whom she hopes to share trips and memories in a near future.
“As well as the non formal learning experience, we had so much fun discovering Dublin with our colleagues and challenging ourselves through a funny race game with different tasks, tasting traditional Irish food in The Brazen Head and getting to know our charming trainers”.
An injection of positive energy
For Alex, this was an injection of positive energy as he feels a renovated momentum to face his next challenges within the workplace and on adaptation to Ireland. Alex really enjoyed meeting volunteers from other parts of Europe and even got to do a little language exchange.
“The Dublin challenge was a fantastic opportunity to get to get to know the city better and learn more about the Irish history and culture. The indoor activities were thrilling as well, and the whole training was coordinated by two very friendly and competent trainers. Having dinner in the oldest pub in Dublin was quite an experience for me!
Art and allegories
Kate, our Belarusian volunteer, was the only participant from a non-EU country. For her, it was a really enjoyable time in an international atmosphere full of creativity and ideas. Speaking about difficulties, challenges, success, disappointments and life using art and allegories is really useful for her.
We did a great job discovering ourselves during 4 days. 21 brave people in the same place is something inspiring!