I’m Sanem. On March 26 I came from Turkey to Latvia with Solis Tuvak project. This is my first Evs Project and also I’ve never been abroad before this Project. So I was a little scared. A pretty young Latvian woman – Skaidrīte - whom I met on a plane convinced me that I was thrown into a very beautiful adventure. It is the beginning of the story from where I got different experience for me.
During the first three months of Evs I participated in various activities in different locations and different institutions. I have been many times at the Kekava Youth Initative Center. While I was there, I helped to make materials that would appeal to young people and children.
In April I with my mentor went to Kegums for on-arrival training with other volunteers from different projects in Latvia. We learned about the Evs projects and learned how it contributes us personally. This training was also a meaningful and valuable experience for me, since it shows how people from different countries and cultures can live under the same roof.
In April is the Easter holiday in Latvia, which is considered the beginning of spring and celebrated with various events. We also prepared various ornaments for these celebrations at the Kekava Youth Initative Center and put these ornaments on the trees we chosed. We tied the ribbons to the Easter rabbits. In addition to these, we played multi-lingual games this month aimed at overcoming the language barriers with other EVS volunteers have participated in.
May is a month which begins with Independence celebrations of Latvia. Since independence week is very important for Latvia, many events that include both traditional and modern lifestyle items are being celebrated with participants coming from other cities of the country. I tried to attend these celebrations as I am one of them. On the ongoing days of the month I attended Solis Tuvak meetings and met with the other members of the organization. I joined as a volunteer to help with activities for children in the ongoing youth and sports activities at Kekava. I participated in the '' European and national identity '' conference organized by Kekava Youth Initative center. Here I met people who have worked voluntarily in different parts of the world and have developed and implemented their own projects. I admired the work they did and the things they succeeded. Everything that they did to think, to care and strive shows that they are heroes. Everything they succeeded made me believe that I have to be more courageous and I could do something to raise awareness.
During all this time I continued attend Latvian language courses. I met there some people that came from other countries for different purposes and we became friends. I learned a few basic Latvian sentences. I am using the sentences that I learned in daily life and I see that it makes people happy to speak their language to a stranger.
In June I helped to prepare materials for the youth festival at the Kekava Youth Initative Center. This festival continued for two weeks with young people's concerts, sports activities and games. In second and fourth week of June I was at Solis Tuvak summer camps. I learned a lot of new things with the children here. I went with them to a bee farm and an observatory. I have seen science experiments where flames, smoke, and plenty of foam. These were the things I had not seen before. It was a different experience to share these excitement with them. I did not know the Latvian, they did not speak English, but nevertheless we found the way to communicate. It showed me that Im being able to deal with people beyond language.
When I look back, trying to identify a new language and culture, to engage in creative activities, to develop hand skills and most importantly, to learn to communicate with the children in the three months that I spent here. it was an experience beyond my expectations. In particular, my coordinator's informing and helping me in all matters was very important and crucial to me during my integration process.
I hope I will continue to explore and learn at the time I'm staying here. This opportunity, which provides all kinds of professional and personal development, has been very effective and continues to gain experience. I look forward to next month. I like to volunteer and love EVS. I hope we meet again…