“Real cultural diversity results from the interchange of ideas, products, and influences, not from the insular development of a single national style.”
– Tyler Cowen
Our experience in Liepaja was a joyous trip with a sad end, because the moment in which we had to leave there, was when we wish we could stay more. The city is filled with very marvelous sight-seeing post and we couldn’t complete visiting all of them but our encounter with the locals also gave us a sense of belonging to this wonderful city. During this experience, we had all the individual support we needed in the project from both the internal and the external organizations.
We arrived in Liepaja on a Monday dawn, so on our first day we had to rest. On the second day, which was a Tuesday, we had a general meeting with other volunteers and the association members. We had a general briefing and training of our on-going project. In this day, we also met our mentors and they were very happy to be mentoring us. We had to work five days (i.e. from Tuesday to Saturday) and our free days were Sundays and Mondays.
Our project involved working in the youth house, bicycle self-services shop and animal shelter. On our first day, we started with the youth house (House of Hope) where we use to meet teenagers and age mates. For us, it wasn’t a new experience coming from the part of Europe we live, so it wasn’t so hard to cooperate with them. The only difficulty we could say we had was the language barrier (some of them understood English but had little speaking ability, whereas most of them spoke either in Russian or Latvian). It also helped us to learn a new language. In the youth house we helped in systemizing the place, playing games with the teenagers, helped in cooking and etc. We also learnt how to make creative arts such as rope bracelets, playing instruments and creating a Japanese night event. One of the best times we had in Liepaja was in the youth house and we are grateful to the authorities of this wonderful organization for their hospitality and their cooperation.
In the bicycle self-service shops, we had to repair bicycles and also we made some arts from some parts of unused bicycles. We also helped in organizing a bicycle marathon which was successful at the end. We had locals and also foreigners to join, we had a live broadcast of this marathon in effect inviting more people to join us. “A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke”, Johan Museeuw, former pro rider, twice world champion. We also rode some freak bikes after our general cleaning in the old garage and office.
On our weekends, we had plans to travel to other places but we couldn’t because we were so tired to travel. We spent most of our times in Liepaja but in one of the best places you can be. We met more locals over there and had more knowledge about the people and the city Liepaja. Also we had the opportunity to educate people about our origins in Africa. As said by Thomas Paine “The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark”.
With the help of our mentors as well, we were able to find ourselves through this project in terms of our strengths and weaknesses. We are very grateful for both Sending and Receiving Organization for this wonderful experience and opportunity.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Mahammed Kijera & Joseph Dennis Appiah