7th August by Wonderful Vaho & Lovely Liene

Here we are. Last day of our wonderful days in this cosy place. Love to be in Latvia and love to be in this small village. All days was running so quick and hard to believe that is already last day and soon we will say good-bye to each other.

All morning was heavy rain, but in our guest house was warm and lovely. As introduction of day we were watching short movie about deforestration done by youth exchange «Green Alternative for Caucasus» participants in Georgia. It was good example how creative young people can be during such a project period. After that, we had workshops about forest. We were divided into national groups and we made presentations about forest meaning in our local rural community. Second workshop was about mushrooms. We were divided into international teams and we were sharing to each other what kind of mushrooms we have in our countries and how we are using them :)

Lelde and Andris made big surprise for us, they bring full bucket with freshly pick-uped chanterelles and our great Maltese chef Emvin prepared from it very delicious supper – soup and mashroom salats.

At the evening we had GREEN carneval. Each of us were dressed up in different roles of nature characters. We also had our own party organisers – Ruth, Pati and Julia. They done very good their job. It was so much fun. :)

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6th August by Victory Vaho & Ruth

Morning of sixth august began as some other days in this project. We had to go out for half of day. Project members should see local region’s workers to find out how they are doing their job and share their experience with us.

First we sow the place, where one family have their own business of water lilies. One or two people were all time near their little pond to protect area where they growing water lilies. They invited us to feed fishes by our hands. They were eating the bread, and it seemed like spa therapy on the hands. They explained us how water lilies are growing. It need no more one meter deep water, at the bottom there should be ground. They were selling lilies only in Latvia, because transporting the flowers depends on many things, it needs environment as their usual pond has. Lilies can stay live only 3 days without its home. It is used only for decoration of little ponds but flowers are not usable separately. This job for them was something like family tradition. Father left this business for two daughters after death, and they decided to continue fathers work.

After water lilies we saw man who had honey business. He had many bee houses and he was working alone with them. He explained us how to work with bees. It was very interesting, and we found out many new things about bees. After ten years of working he and his wife learned by themselves many new things about carrying of bees. There we saw a lot of electrical equipment to work easier with bees. He also showed us how he was working earlier times, which was more familiar for us. Carrying bees is very hard work, but honey gets you money, as this guy told us. He was talking English which he learned in school. Especially I was really happy for seeing beekeeper and learn his experience which I think I will use in the future.

We also saw one of our project member’s family farm, where they were growing cows for meat. There are different kinds of cows growing in Latvia – for milk and for meat. The meat cows where bigger sized then others. All of them had yellow paper pinned on their ears with unique number, depended on their family, like a passport. These cows were for selling after several months, when they would get sized owners sell them. This family, like other families in Latvia had big yard and little wooden buildings in there. Sauna as well, old dry grass keeper and so on… we also saw tractor which is making round dry grass roulons.

In the middle of the day we were in one Lutheran church of Vecpiebalga, there we tried to play on huge organ, but unexpectedly! :D . This village as I found out is based on river Balga, there are two villages named Vecpiebalga and Jaunpiebalga, first means old Piebalga (Near balga), and second one means new Piebalga. In Vecpiebalga we eat our lunch and went home.

Vecpiebalga Local Municipality project manager Inese Asarite explained us how to write business plan and divided us to groups. We wrote our very interesting plans. For example my group had great idea of coffee kiosks and by our business we would became billionaires in few years.

This was the day when I was in the key group, I should work and help them to clean everything, but other project member helped me in this job, I was doing my important business plan work.

And finally, evening was also as usual, we had our dinner, dances, enjoying ourselves and lots of fun. Later it started to rain, but it didn’t disturb our fun. Some of girls tried sauna, we went to sleep happily, as usually in Latvia we had.

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5th August by Lara, Emvin & Lazy Liene

“Each moment is a new experience”.  Since my trip to Latvia till today it has been never ending journey of new experiences. Today 5th August, is another day in Latvia. This time however I will be in charge of the daily chores and also will be taking part in the evening event, as it is the Maltese Night.

∞  CV

The day started off with a presentation regarding how to make a CV. After the demonstration was over everyone initiated to create a CV of his own.

∞  Post-Card Making

The day continued by post card making. Each of us was paired in groups and chooses a Latvian, Georgian or Maltese pictures that we previously have taken. By using a selection of materials, each group created a unique setting to the photo chosen.

∞  Maltese Night

It was than time for the Maltese Night. Being a Maltese myself I had to do preparations, unlike the other nationalities that have some free time. It all started at 7pm, with some traditional Maltese games, along with some typical Maltese appetizers; galletti, bigilla, gbejniet, etc. Few more hours later, traditional Maltese food started to be served. Meanwhile a slide show of pictures taken in Malta was shown together with Maltese folk song which was playing in the background. After all the food was served, the Maltese including myself danced with a Maltese traditional song. All the audience joined in and continued dancing for the rest of the evening.

∞  Conclusion

To sum up, like previous days, such day was a memorable one :)

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4th August by Pati, Iana & Norville

Day six started like other days of exchange – with breakfast. Everybody was informed about that day, but it was more than culture tour. We really explored Latvian culture, art, history, fantastic nature and etc.

Our first stop was very interesting caves in Ligatne and old paper factory nearby.  Of course there were traditional funny photos during the day. After this we move to the some specific private natural Vienkocu Park, where we had possibility to see interesting exhibition of iron and one piece wood details art. Through the forest we found amazing things. All these small or big details were described Latvian history, symbols and traditions. And it gave good ideas about future rural business plan making. Also for Georgians it was big surprise to find Georgian letters and friendship between two parks.

Culmination of the day was Soviet Union’s one of the biggest bunker in Ligatne Rehabilitation centre what was underground in 9 meters. The story guide was telling to us was just amazing, little bit scary, but very impressive. All the secrets of the soviet Latvia came out. Many things were much clearer then it was before. In the end we had chance to feel ourselves like real soviet people, we ate in the bunker kitchen 100 gr. pelmeni.:)

Last stop of our culture tour we had in the Ligatnes Nature Park full with various animals and birds. All the team had possibility to explore in wild nature and again to learn so many new things about rural tourism possibilities.

Tired, but happy we came back to the guesthouse. Everybody was tired with this wonderful day. Only  Malta’s  group had power to sing all the way to home . More, they even were having “beforeparty” before “after party” “Leilah dahna”:D

Day six was just unforgettable for everyone. 

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3rd August by Lorna, Linda & Davis

Today it was our turn to give a helping hand in the daily chores and so we had to wake up earlier than usual. We started by helping in the preparation for breakfast. Together we washed and rinsed the dishes and put everything back in its place. We enjoyed working together as a group as we really cooperated together.  Afterwards, we went to spend all day in local farm.  We learned how to make cheese, cottage cheese, souvenir cream and butter. It was something new and interesting to see someone doing such a process. There was a nearby pond and some of participants went fishing. Then, we had self-prepared lunch with freshly made fish, cottage cheese and honey cake and everything was extremely delicious. A little bit further there were some different sort of cows and we had the opportunity to look at them closely. We were extremely tired once we arrived home, it was such a wonderful day and we enjoyed it to the full. 

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2nd August by Julia, Nadia & Dark Davis

Today we woke up early because it was our day to help with the washing of the plates and prepare breakfast. Today we did some activities regarding recycling. We watched presentation with interesting ideas how to recycle things and used different used materials by ourselves, like cardboard, papers, plastic bottles and clothes, to do pigs for saving money and mobile phone covers. After lunch we had a little bit free time so we did our best to stay outside in the sun relaxing. It was a beautiful sunny day.

The Georgian group was prepared for us some games where we had to run after each other and it was some good exercise with lots of fun.

Tonight it was Georgian night. They prepared us some Georgian food which was very tasty. The Georgians did a presentation about their country, the pictures where simply beautiful. After that some of Georgians danced typical Georgian dances which were very interesting to watch because it is something unique, impossible to repeat and traditional to the Georgian culture. Inspired by Georgians, everyone danced all evening.

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1st August by Tornike & Tako

After the breakfast, the day started with daily evaluation, introduction of the day. Then we did creative exercise: drawing our rural realities – future action platform, there were divided 5 groups with 4-5 participants from different countries. Then there was shining star where we wrote similarities and singularities in our rural areas. Then there was statement exercise regarding rural challenges and linking international projects to local needs. We discussed which one opinions we agreed or not agreed.

After lunch time we were visiting head of Vecpiebalga municipality,

then we surveyed porcelain factory in Inesi and learn how to paint porcelain cups and how to create rural souvenirs in very simple way.

At the end of day we had BBQ’s party at the lake Inesi. It was amazing day :)

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31st July by Santa & Andris

It was a beautiful first morning in Latvia. After a rainy night, a warm sun rose in the sky and it didn’t leave us for a whole day. After devouring a delicious breakfast, the activities commenced. The first part of the day’s main objective was to get to know each other more by playing different games. After lunch we played team building games. These games were not only fun, but they also improved our team building skills and allowed us to relate to the other team members.

The games were followed by the Latvian national evening. A Latvian folk group joined us and taught the whole group some traditional Latvian songs, dances and games. We also tasted some exquisite traditional food and after that everyone was DAHNA!

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