Not all the destinations are glorious and cut out of the best travel magazines. Sometimes the best stories are made in places where nobody would think of going or taking a photo – because those places are too usual, too regular. This post is about a spot just like that.
Mažeikiai is a small city in northwestern Lithuania. It was one of the stops during Roadtrip Lithuania – a 6-weeks social project, organized by AIESEC Lithuania. In short, Roadtrip Lithuania was a 6-weeks long, meaningful adventure across the country. Being part of the international group of 6 volunteers was a dream come true as the project was a pure definition of what I call ‘awesome’. We were packed in a small hippie bus with a mission to travel around Lithuania, give presentations about our culture in local educational and social institutions, get to know Lithuanian traditions, places and people, and document everything like true travel journalists.
To find full content simply go to roadtriplithuania14.blogspot.com. Photo and video credits belong to Rogelio Robledo, Kamia Fernandez, Li Wu, Caterina Falvo and Zé Vieira Lopes.
Back to Mažeikiai. The reason why we stopped there was to spend a weekend in a summer camp (called Virvytė) organized for kids between 6 and 16 years old. Accommodated in a small cabin in the middle of the forest, our job was to mingle with the children, entertain them, show them our cultures and make some awesome journalist materials in the meantime.
Simple as this and very refreshing – just playing volleyball with the kids, singing their songs after the afternoon tea and joining the evening bonfire storytelling. Simple – but with its reflection moments, especially the time when I realized that a Chinese guy showing some karate moves or Mexican friend in a sombrero, offering chillis, were the most exciting and exotic moments of the whole camp. Also, we experienced quite a shock when one of the supervisors refused to use the word 'tequila' while translating the Mexican presentation from English. Instead, she translated it to 'lemonade', putting all our Roadtrip crew in a state of deep shock and light amusement 🙂
Here’s a short report of that experience. Enjoy the video and a brief interview with a 12-year old Tadas, who made a huge impression on us by speaking excellent, fluent English.
Stop number 2: Virvytė Camp, where WIND BLOWS on a calm, bonfire storytelling night in the forest.
The next destination of our journey was a summer camp called Virvytė in Mažeikiai. The children who participate in it are from 6 to 16 years old, and a lot of them come here every holiday for the past few years. The minute we arrived, we realized that the atmosphere is really warm and nice, and the kids are very open and eager to talk with us. Welcome to Virvytė!
We would like to describe the camp from one of the participant’s point of view. Tadas is 12 years old, he speaks fluent English and he agreed to answer few questions for us. Here is the summer camp story, seen through his eyes.
Karolina: Could you tell us something about yourself and the reason why are you here?
Tadas Ceckauskas: My name is Tadas and I’m 12 years old. I came here because my mom found this summer camp on a website. It looked really fun, so she suggested I should come here, and that’s why I am here now.
K.W.: Are you planning to come here also next year?
T.C.: Yes, I think I’m gonna come here next summer.
K.W.: And why would you like to come back?
T.C.: Because it’s a lot of fun here! The supervisors are really nice; they create funny games, like the auction for example.
K.W.: How does your usual day look like?
T.C.: We get up at 7.55 am, we do the morning routine at 8.10 am, and then we clean up our room do everything we need, and then we eat. This is the morning. Then you can choose what you would like to do – football, baseball, basketball. In the mornings I prefer yoga. In the afternoon, when everything ends, we can do all the activities again, and
after this, we have free time.
K.W.: Which activities are the most attractive for you?
T.C.: Actually, I really like all of them.
K.W.: How do you feel about people here? Do you keep in touch with them after the camp too?
T.C.: Yes, one of the kids from here was actually my friend already. It was a coincidence, that he was in the same room as me!
K.W.: So what was the most attractive for you so far, what was the best moment?
T.C.: When I met all of these people I guess, when I met the supervisors that speak English. I enjoyed that a lot.
K.W.: Here you are around people all the time. So do you feel that this type of community is good for kids like you?
T.C.: I think it’s very good, because you improve your communication skills, you make more friends, and you are not that shy any more. For example when I came here I was very shy, because I knew that it will be more than 50 people. But it turned out to be really nice; I have met a lot of people and became friends with them.
K.W.: Here you have a lot of foreign supervisors who speak English. Do you think it’s a good idea for a camp like this to hire international staff?
T.C.: Yes, that’s a very good idea! Foreign supervisors bring something more than Lithuanian ones, for example games, activities. But they also bring something new from their own countries.
K.W.: How would you recommend this camp to your friends?
T.C.: I would say that you have to come, it’s really fun, and you will meet cool people and nice supervisors. You will never regret coming here.