Summer and camps – EVS blog
Hey! It is me, Verzhinia. The EVS volunteer in Pori, Finland. Time has been flying. In two months, I will be back in Bulgaria. I cannot believe that 10 months have passed since I came to Finland. It has definitely been an adventure. I have travelled so much, met so many people and tried so many new things that I am no longer the same person that I was at the beginning. So, what´s happened since my last blog? Firstly, I went home for two weeks. Honestly, it felt like two days, but what surprised me the most was how much I was missing Finland the whole time. I couldn´t wait to come back here which was a great shock to me. My home city – Sofia, had changed so much in just a few months. I was met with something new at every corner. It was weird to realise how life had continued going on despite me not being there. But it also gave me the desire to enjoy to the fullest the time I still have in Finland.
After I returned, I took a day off. I fixed my luggage, bought whatever I needed and returned to my routine. The next few days, I spend either in the office or in the youth houses. Then, the summer camps started. We had five in total, three of which I went to.
The first camp was for my flat mate. While she was there, I participated in some events that were happening in the youth houses in Lansi Pori and Sampola. We cooked, we dree, we painted and we played board games. I even brought some Bulgarian stuff for the youth to try and I think they really enjoyed them. It was a fast week. I also had to ride the bike for more than 10km per day which turned out to be a great work out.
On 2nd of June we had a graduation party for the students. It was a nice day. There was a lot of heavy lifting and preparations of different stands and events. I was responsible for taking pictures which resulted in me being able to check out everything that the party had to offer. Usually, me and my EVS partner Cristina have our own stand and we never manage to see anything of the parties, but this time we did and thus my last party here in the organization was a success.
Then my camps came. I had three camps in a row. The first two were 2.5 days each and the last one was four days. The camps were situated in Tammi, an extremely serene and beautiful place that was in the forest and next to a lake. I had to sleep in a sleeping bag, which was something completely new to me, but I quickly got used to it. We were fed five time a day. FIVE!!! Can you imagine? Everyone was like – are we eating AGAIN??
The youngsters also swam in the lake. It was an extremely hilarious picture. Me and the youth leader were with long pants and jackets and still cold and the youngsters were in their swimsuits swimming.
The worst thing for me were the mosquitoes. They were so big, like mutants and no matter how much repellant I use they would not leave me alone. I was bitten all over, but in revenge I became a mosquito serial killer. I was like a ninja, killing them before they had the chance to attack me 😀 Not that it helped much.
As for the way the camps went individually: The first camp was with kids aged 8 – 10. Mainly, I interacted with two of them. Maisa, an extremely sweet girl that didn´t know a word of English but would still try to communicate with me. And Eemeli, an 8 years old boy that probably had better English than me. We spoke a lot and I participated in a lot of games with them. It was a good start for the camps, I think.
The second camp was for youth aged 13 -15. What made the biggest impression on me was how big the difference was between the youngsters that were 13 and the ones that were 15. They looked and acted totally different. On this camp, I met this really delightful girl that just as me loved anime and korean dramas. We spoke a lot and even watched some stuff together. She even braided my hair (It was really well done.) She mistook me for 16 year old which was so cute 😀 I still keep in touch with her and I really wish her a lot of luck in the future.
The last camp lasted 4 days. This time the youngsters were aged 10 – 12. I should say that this was probably the camp in which I communicated with the most youngsters. There were 22 girls and 3 boys and they were aged 10 -12. I taught and played a lot of card games with the boys. All three of them had really good English and we would speak about everything and anything. We even played ball and freezbe.
With the girls it was a different story. Most of them didn´t speak English at first but by the end of the camp they at least knew some words. They would constantly hug me. I even got some gifts. They made it into a game to ask me questions all the time. It started with simple ones and by the end of the camp it was philosophical questions and so on. I think, I probably answered more than a 100 questions, but I think it was nice and the girls learned a lot of new stuff in English. In addition, I was even a bandit in one game and chased them with water guns. In return, later they chased me. Being chased by 20 kids with water guns is a scary situation 😀 Also, I read them a bedtime story in Bulgarian and they really enjoyed it. Later, I translated it for them in English. We went fishing and we even had a disco evening. It truly was an amusing and interesting camp and I will definitely remember it for a long time to come.
Now, I am back at the office writing this blog. I am currently preparing for two trips: One to Liverpool to visit two of my closest friends that are studying there and a second one to St. Petersburg as it´s an amazing opportunity to do it from here, much cheaper than from Bulgaria.
Thank you for reading this and following me on my adventure!!! I wish you a great summer filled with laughter and unforgettable experiences!!
– Verzhinia, The EVS volunteer