I arrived in Ropazi in October 11th, Wednesday, with a Baltic Air flight from Milano Malpensa. During the first 2 weeks I spent my time just settling in my new life. So I met the people with whom I would work and also I visited all the multifunctional centers of Ropazu Novads. I applied for a Latvian identity card and SIM card for my mobile phone. In the end of the month I partecipated with my roommate, Tamara Fernandez Gonzales, and our mentors, Martins Svitka and Valentina Svotska at On Arrival Training provided, with other EVS volunteers in Latvia. During those days we learnt something more about our duties and goals, unformal education and volunteering. From November our project really started.
Tamara and I (from now on, “we”) started our Latvian language lessons with Anna, twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, from 10 to 11 o’clock, in the Ropazi library. We received a grammar book and particular papers for studying. We had to create a presentation about ourself and our homelands for youngsters in Ropazi and Zakumuiza schools. To explain this stuff I created a game called: “Who wants to be Italian?”, made with a powerpoint animation, based on the famous TV show “Who wants to be a millionaire?”; this game proposed some questions about Italy. The students, divided in teams, had to guess the right answers. After every question, my job was to comment a little bit the topic the question was talkin’ about. This presentation was directed to students from 10 to 18 years old. Almost every Thursday we help Ilvars Ievins (our referent) during his archery lab with children (8 – 11 years old) in Ropazi school. We started to visit periodically the multifunctional centers of Tumsupe, Silakroogs, Kakciems and Mucenieki. In Tumsupe we were doing games with little children (6 – 10 years old). In Silakroogs we were doing kitchen lab with old people: one we cooked a Spanish dish, “Tortilla de patata”. The activity was ruled by Tamara. In Kakciems we spent time with teenagers (11 – 14 years old), doing games and unformal education activities to know better each other (“Draw and like” activity). In Mucienieki we did the same activity and also kitchen lab. Once we prepared “Pasta all’amatriciana”, typical Italian dish. In the same site we organized an “Art and craft” afternoon with the children from Refugees Center. This workshop was about Christmas: we prepared a Christmas tree with toilet paper tube and bristol cardboards. I joined the local floorball team, coached by Martins, for keeping fir and making friends with the local youngsters. We have trainments twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday. Since October, we are helping Martins and Ilvars to lead the weekly “Youth Evening”, every Friday. In these occasions we organize games and make relations with the youngsters. On November the 21st, we participated in a team-building day with an expert and some teenagers of Ropazu Novads. Goal of the day was to create a team work for organizing in future events for youngsters. During this day my team (composed by Tamara, Martins and me) proposed a project for the summer, called “EuRopazi”, an European festival. From the end of the month the Art and Creative team work of Ropazi started to organize Christmas Festival.
First, we presented ourselves to Ropazu Novads Coucils and Municipality workers. We created a powerpoint animation about Italy and Spain and we did a little game similar to the one we did with the students. During this month we continued our activities in multifunctional centers, especially in Tumsupe and Mucenieki, because these are the most crowded. In particular, we had a Christmas workshop and games evening in both of them, with the help of Ilvars. During these occasions our goal was not simply having fun and entertaining, but creating a team spirit between all the teenagers form the different parts of Ropazu Novads. In the first day of Advent, I sang with Ilvars’ family some Christmas songs during the Opening Lighting Tree Event in Ropazi. I also spoke a little bit about myself and my volunteer activity to the audience. On December 12th and 19th, we started a project in Ropazi and Zakumuiza schools: Italian and Spanish lessons for students. These lessons took place on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. With the Active and Creative team, we organized the Christmas Festival. It was settled in Zakumuiza Youth Club on December 22nd. For this event we prepared a quiz game about Christmas and helped the other people with the decorations and all the organizing part.
From 3rd to 6th we joined the Christian camp “Merki” in Norkalni. It was ruled by Ilvars and Martins. We helped the staff in game activities. Since January 12th, I started my own project “Riga Continua” (you can find the link in the comments), an Italian podcast in wich I talk about Latvia. For every episode I treat one particulat theme: the main goal is sharing my knowledge experience about Latvian culture with Italian people. For the editing and sharing part I use Audacity pc programme and social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Istagram, Mixcloud). To build a youngsters community in Ropazi, I thought about this “Ropazi Cup”, a monthly competition between different teams (formed by teenagers). Once in a month there will be a game day where we, all together, play a big game organized by us, with the help of Martins and Ilvars. The project started in February. I started my Italian lessons project in Zakumuiza and Ropazi schools. In these lessons I talk about Italian regions, culture and language, using powerpoint animation, youtube videos and my personal skills.
In this month we started, on the 2nd, the “Ropazi Cup”, organizing and playing a live-action version of the famous board game “Clue”. Kids enjoyed the game and we are trustful for the next times. I continued my Italian lessons with the youngsters of Ropazi High School; unfortunately in Zakumuiza school the project ended because there were no people interested. So we started to do lessons twice a week in Ropazi, on Wednesday and Thursday. The kids who are partecipating are in total 10. By myself I started doing Italian language and culture lessons with the adults of Ropazi, in the public library. At the moment 7 people have joined the initiative. Me and Tamara continued our job in multifunctional centers: we organized Youth Evening also in Mucenieki, Tumsupe and Kakciems. We are quite satisfied about the result, especially in Kakciems, a place that usually is not so crowded and were the youngsters are not so involved with this kind of activities. On 19th February we also started together Russian language class, with Elena Suveizda, a local teacher. I continued my podcast project about Latvia. I improved it creating new profiles on Spreaker, Telegram and iTunes, investing 6 euros per month to have a better sharing. During this month Tamara and I were also more involved in the organisation of Youth Evening in Ropazi. Since this month our job is to create a new game for every week. We created some particular games for St. Valentine’s day. On 6th February we had a speech about EVS and volunteer life in a class in Ropazi school. The children were 10 – 11 years old.