Like a rollercoster
Btw u can read the newsletter here:
Today I came to the office, Per H. was not there (and I so much wanted to talk to him). Then I had 5 important phonecalls on the list, none of them worked out (no answer, or my request could not be responded because of some technical reasons etc etc etc) Blah.
But yeah - also good things are happening so I am not sittitng here in tears. It is just strange that my work usually gets stuck on some technical problems that I can not do anything about.
I did it =)
Thoughts about my job
Today I am sitting in my room in the office, while the preparation team is preparing the seminar in Reims. It is a nice feeling. The sun is shining outside and I feel that something good is being created. It´s been some time I have been to a seminar. The methods are for sure changing, I am recognizing less and less people in the participants list - and that´s a good sign. That means that the people are changing, new and new are coming, new and new people have chance to experience Active, new and new people are getting involved.
I want to remember this feeling because feelings like this make me like my job even at times when I have to deal with broken computers, not working SIM cards and putting bills into order. Knowing what is behind those bills, phones and other troubles - makes me understand that even such days are meaningful.
A summary of the seminar in Slovakia
The motto of the seminar: One person can make a change. One person is important.
General key words: Cold. Ladybirds (if you wonder why, ask me)
Day by day:
Arrival day - the bus from Bratislava airport to the seminar place got lost. The road disappeared in the field but the bus driver kept on driving until we reached some bushes that would destroy the bus. Then the driver got to believe that it was not the right road and we turned (after 15 minuts of backing first). The food was very good (Unexpectadly. And so it was the whole week.)
First day - Active participation day. Discussions about ways how to change. Does one person matter? It does. We got to know that our expert who was supposed to cover the whole day programme on minorities would not be able to arrive. So prep.team got some extra tasks to do.
Second day - Minorities. We managed. We prepared a great programme. And the movie "Freedom writers" touched us all. Now we know - one person can make a difference.
Third day - Minorities continue. Presentation of the countries. We learned that we ourselves have plenty of prejudices and stereotypes. That eventhough we claim how open-minded and tolerant we are, our behaviuor such small comments or giggling about "cruel" reality prove the opposite. There is a need to work with that a bit more.
Fourth day - Excursion day. Some dissappointment because of the lack of skiing equipment in the rental places in the skiing resort (meaning no skiing) was cured by an alternative programme - small trip to the top of the mountains. Wonderful sunny weather above the clouds, white snow around, greatness and mistery of the mountains made it up for us.
Fifth day - Minorities continue. Discussions on national identity and the question about its neccessity caused some confrontation. Looking now at the evaluations - it served only for the good. Conclusion for myself: it is neccessary to tell if there is something wrong or if one senses a misunderstanding otherwise it can go wrong. As soon as a problem is "cought" in the beginning, it can be easily solved. AND - honesty honesty honesty! Important!!!!!!
Sixth day - Practice of recruitment of new members in the morning. Gender presentation in the evening. Some very obvious things for one person are not at all reflected by another one. There is a need to launch discussions to start the reflection process and sensitize our members.
Seventh day - different workshops. Farewell party.
Eigth day - Departure. Wr could not face more troubles after we left the seminar place as we faced. Cold cold train, loong waiting for food in Bratislava that ended up in three wrong dishes served, being short of time, delayed plane, missed bus home, not the best weather for driving the car in dark. BUT we managed =) We all arrived home, safe and with nice memories from the seminar.
The evening programmes: The most creative evening programmes I have ever taken part in. I am still amazed. All the countries did really well and took care of well prepared activities to entertain the others. THANK YOU all for that!
Feelings afterwards: The preparatory team did a good and responsible job. The participants contributed to the great development of the seminar. Am having several thoughts on my mind (related to the topics). I will share in next entries.
One person can make a change!
Temperance organisations..you´ve got damn lot to do!!!!
My coach, after I told him I would be away for the match so i could not play, knowing that I work for a temperance organisation and I do not drink, told me: "Then u have to come at least and get drunk"
It was such a statement that I lost my words. I just said: "No I do not really need that"
The other "co-trainer" just smiled and said: "It is not your thing, ha?"
"No not really" came my answer. I actually do not know how much of the conversation the girls perceived because they were into criticizing some other personn (who was not present at all).
I do not mind at all that I was involved in such a talk. What I mind is that such a talk can actually appear in sport and that a coach supports it. Those girls are 17 - 22 years old and they do not know that alcohol and sport do not really go together. I know I know atheletes drink as well etc but BEFORE the match?????? It is dangerous. For the players who drink, for their team mates and for the opponents. And a coach working with youth should know that and prevent it.
There is so much to do in this field. As it is said: the best prevention is: high prices, low exposure of alcohol and difficult accessibility. And it is very nice to work on that and make alcohol disappear from the scene. I support it 100% BUT still...people need to know why. And people need to know how to live without it. But by supporting 17 years old to drink - the high prices won´t help. The leaders have to take responsiblity here!!!
Me and my life with the volunteers
Sentence that has impact
When I was some days ago explaining Acitve´s attitude towards alcohol and giving arguments for not drinking, one sentence had especially strong impact (together with a small visual help):
Today´s norm is to drink alcohol. What we are trying to change is to make sobriety a norm.
At the same time I wrote on the board:
NORM TODAY: drinking
OUR NORM: not drinking
Those simple sentences´ve opened a new perspective that many people haven´t so far even consider. So do not think u r boring by telling u r not drinking. And do not forget give ur reasons. Cause as said..today´s norms are not questioned and sometimes to stop for a while and think is enough to change one´s attitude.
When I look back again and focus a bit better I see plenty of wonderful moments. I see all the details. I see our arrival to hot Sofia, I see us waiting for our minibus, I see us worried about the warmth and keeping our drinking regime, I feel bumpy roads to Rila mountains, I see the huge hotel in the middle of the night after 4 hours of traveling. I see Swiss people sitting on the first floor, I see them coming with their hugs and smiles, I see our room, I feel the excitement before everything starts, I feel the sun while playing volleyball, running barefoot, I see new and new people coming, I am laughing when I remember planning of the "magician game" introduction and Vicky trying to reach my cheek (one can say I am a bit taller then she is), I feel amazement by listening to the discussion during the workshop "Make the world a better place", I enjoy again when I go through the "Tobacco policy" workshop planning with Kristiina, I smile when all the masks from the carnival appear on my mind and I have to admit that that´s the first carnival I really enjoyed from the beginnig till the end (eventhough I did not win), I remember all the talks and problem solving that made me think a lot and made my mind heavy several times but still - the great people taking part in this unfrogettable event overshadowed all the "dark sides" and I feel that it´s them I work for and they are worth it. I feel amazement after each Tobacco policy workshop session and I feel proud of myself and Kristiina (pls notice that it is another person and not me) when listening to Alex´s evaluation of the method we have chosen to make the whole group (great and incredibly productive group) write a draft policy paper, I smile rememberting wrestling with Henri, I feel good "listening" to Sofia singing again and again "Funny feeling (from Weird L), I am impressed by the great organisation again and again.
It was a wonderful week. I did not get tanned at all as I planned. Maybe because I spent all together maybe a half a day on the sun but when I look back I feel like sun was shining on me 24/7 - thanks to all who participated.
PS. I hope the slovak team contributed to change of the conception of International evenings.
PS. But just to make things clear .. I still do not like the visa system! !
Volunteers of 2006/2007
Here we are. Me and the three volunteers in the Active office: Tiina, Maik and Maja. They have just started their field work in different parts of Europe and we will meet like this again in May. I am so much looking forward to May!
Back from Estonia
I liked the programme. I really enjoyed having lecture about gender, I liked the other lectures that made me think ( for example language and prejudice). I liked the evening events. I liked dancing with Maik, I liked crazy Santa and Snegurka =), fun Amercan, I liked being Xmas tree and all the spontaneous crazyness which popped up from time to time...
So I want to say THANK YOU all who organized this event and who have been there..I feel I have gained lots of strength to continue and develope our organisations..
See you all in 2007 and have nice New Year´s Eve celebrations =)
Human Rights Day
...I know I enjoyed...
Can that be fun not to remember fun?
At the Bridging the Gap conference there was a research about binge drinking presented. During the presentation we all could hear a quotation of a young girl from UK: "If I am drunk and sick I know I enjoyed myself"
As I see it, people are losing connection with their own self. Not aware of their own feelings. Unable to reflect them. Searching for external sources of happiness which they were just told was happiness.
I know..restrictions, high taxation, age limits etc they work the best in reducing alcohol consumption. But at the same time the reason of consumption is somewhere else. We need to find a way back to ourselves.
Designers of society, designers of future
Brussels Brussels Brussels
My first visit on 2004 was very strange. I came in the night, got lost, then found my way, shared room with a girl I have never met before, the seminar was about smth I have never heard about before.
Second time - the parliament. It was better. Was there with people I knew, doing smth I understood =) But still, Brussels itself did not impressed me.
Third time. Arrival was strange. One airport bus left earlier than supposed and the other should have come in 1,5 hour. Luckily we were many so there was another buss arranged. I was watching the way to town, trying figure out why I was not amazed by Brussel. I know many people who love that city. I found out. There were no lights in the windows. I am so much used to all possible lights in windows in Sweden. It looks cosy. Warm. Welcoming. These widows were just dark. From time to time some lit but not many. Cold. Unfriendly. But when I arrived I met a friend. Very good one. And the city turned into place I suddenly liked. And I felt welcome. And I will come back. Volunteerly =)