Ahoj everybody!

Welcome to the life of two EVS-volunteers, working in Stara Lubovna!

We would like to inform you about our life, our work, our experiences and feelings during one year abroad, during one year living in an unknown country.
We are two volunteers, from Germany and Belgium, who are working at the CVC in Stara Lubovna. We are here since September 2007 and stay here for one year, till August 2008.
Sophie is from Grimma in the Eastern part of Germany, is 19 years old and finished gymnasium. Ingrid is from Anzegem in the West of Belgium, is 22 years old and finished university.

First Impressions

10th of September. The three volunteers arrive, each with different transport. By car, plane and train, each with different expectations but with the same goal. The three volunteers, that are Marjolein from the Netherlands and we. We met each other in the flat that would be our home for one year.

The first month was a month full of new experiences flying all together in one big cloud to our head. We met a lot of new people, the staff from the centre, our language teacher, other volunteers and so on. The CVC was not opened yet for the children, so we had a lot of language lessons and a lot of time for discovering the city. In the second week, we had the On-Arrivaltraining in a little village called Terchova where we stayed during one week together with eleven other volunteers from Germany, Italy and Brazil. We learned more about the country, about problem-solving, teambuilding and we had a fantastic time. In October, then CVC opened the doors for the children and youth and we started with our first work. We helped in the swimming lessons, teached English and German. Besides that, we spent a lot of time in the internetroom and the playroom.

Free time

Stara Lubovna is a little town in the Northeast of Slovakia. It is small, but cozy. There is a swimming pool, a sports hall and fitness centre. The hrad or castle looks over the city from a hill. We have a lot of free time, but are actually never bored. In the weekend we are free and we travel a lot around Slovakia and neighbor countries. For example Krakow, Bratislava, Trencin, Zilina, Kosice, Vysoke Tatry and we are planning to go to Budapest, Kiev,... Also in our free time we look DVDs, go swimming and looking for icehockeygames, go to parties and give parties for the other volunteers who are kind of our family here. Especially with them we have a great time!! In December, we had a second meeting with our group of volunteers in another little village Spania Dolina where we talked more about our project and how we felt in the project, about our problems, the language and culture.

Our project

Not really a lot has changed since we started our project here in October. Every week we go to the swimming pool where we look for the children. Besides that we have an English and German club where we teach, or actually just talk, with the students. Very often you can find us in the playroom and the internet room where we look for the children and play with them tablefootball and tabletennis or billiard. We wanted to start our own projects with for example a youthmovement and a guitarclass, but the youth is very uninterested and passive here, so they were not really enthusiastic. But we don't want to give up and are thinking about other things. Yesterday we were in the club for Romachildren. They had to write Valentineletters and we helped them with drawing flowers and hearts and with writing. We had a lot of fun and want to organize more activities for them. Also we help by some special days and activities from the CVC, for example the running competition by the castle, the Mikulas day and so on.

Six months later...

June 2008... We are now six months later and our project will almost end in August. So many things happened in such a little time! Time has been flying...
After our first visit in the Romaclub, we were full of new ideas and motivation to organize more activities with them. We made easy bracelets with them, created musical instruments, played team games with them and gave a goodbye party with juice cocktails. During a bigger activity, "Romatalent", organized by Tereza from the Centre, we had to be jury and judge which Roma(group) had the best talent. They danced breakdance, a typical Romadance, sang and played keyboard. We had also a busy week during Spring Holidays because the Centre organized every day a special activity, for example making bracelets, fantasy objects with wire and paper, and internet and playroom were for free. Also our regular clubs such as English conversation and swimming, continued.
In April, there was a big celebration for the 40est birthday from the Centre of Leisure time activities. We helped also with other activities which the Centre organized. We made pictures from the athletic and orientation competition and Childrens Day. One of the bigger activities was Kluc od pevnosti or Key to the Fortress. Youth between 15 and 19 years old from the whole of Slovakia have to compete in twelve disciplines such as living carpet, running with a heavy bag, going up to the tower and domino. In June, the clubs ended, so we have now more time to travel and discover more from Central-Europe. In the first week of July we will participate and help in the biggest activity from the year, the international family rafting trip where more than 150 people from Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia make a rafting-trip on the river Poprad from Stara Lubovna till Nowy Sacz. And as the final event in our project, we both make an exchange. Sophie will go with a group of Romas to Germany and Ingrid with a group of youngsters to Hungary.

Free time...

As we were planning, we made our big travel to Ukraine (Kiev and Lviv). It was really exciting, we were surprised about the difference between Central-European countries and the more Eastern country. From the moment we crossed the border, we arrived in a different time. But we had a great time in the Ukrainian trains and in the huge capital Kiev where we were overwhelmed by the big buildings and orthodox churches. We travelled also to Budapest, a really modern and beautiful city. In Slovakia we visited Bojnice-castle (our favourite), Cicmany (a village with traditional wooden houses), Spissky Hrad (the biggest castle in Central-Europe), Levoca, Bardejov, Oravsky Hrad, Trnava and Strbske Pleso in the High Tatras.
And then... in the end of August comes the end... Than we pack and say goodbye to our great life as a volunteer in Slovakia. We thank everybody with who we worked together and everybody we met here and helped us to make this year one of the best of our lives and never to forget. And now...we enjoy our last months here as much as possible!!!