Silent night, holy night...

>> joi, 29 decembrie 2011

After  weeks  full of work, responsibilities and concerns, Christmas becomes like a fresh sweet shower that has the main aim to fulfill our souls with positive energy, hope, love, trust and the power to go further, knowing that we have good support at every step (people that love and care about us). The beauty of this holiday is that it manages to gather families all together: members of the family that we haven`t seen for a long time, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.  that makes us better, and more empathetic as well. 

This year, I decided to experience my first Christmas away from home, inside a wonderful Polish family from Warsaw, near whom I felt the power of love, solidarity and local Christmas traditions. I was very happy and touched when my friend Hanka invited me to spend this saint holiday with them (this happened some weeks before Christmas). At the beginning I thought that I would probably feel like an intruder” during the evening (because I didn’t know all her family members, I had met only her mother once), but my friend’s family behaved with me as if I had been their member for a long time, I felt so comfortable and positive (especially when I spoke with the Hanka’s grandmothers, a fact that increased my hankering after my own grandparents and so I called them laterJ).

They put a lot of soul and passion in preparing the house and the table for this special event: there was a nicely decorated Christmas tree (with sweetsJ), there you could hear beautiful carols and smell good food.

Regarding their Christmas food I can say that we ate in that evening a lot, they had so many types of food like: barszcz z uszkami (a traditional red soup), bigos (cabbage and mushrooms), pierogi z grzybami i kapustą, filety z dorsza (cod fillets), śledź w oleju (herring in oil), szprotki (a kind of fish), sałatka warzywna (salad from vegetables), kompot z suszu (boiled fruits with water);  for sweets they prepared: makowiec, sernik, piernik, rafaello, pierniczki. I also prepared a Moldavian traditional food for Christmas – sarmale – 
J (it gave me lots of troubles, but in the end I managed to cook it).

This holy evening had many good surprises for everyone of us. You could feel the delight from far away, everyone was happy (even their cat and dog). Of course, I missed my family a lot in those moments, but I didn’t regret at all that I decided to taste this year from the Christmas Polish culture.  
PS: Thank you very much Louis Phillippe.


Polish Evening in Warsaw

>> marți, 20 decembrie 2011

It’s amazing how the winter holidays arrival can make people happier, more empathic, creative and full of good energy with the will to endow the light of hope in others hearts and minds. Last week, on Saturday, I met two of these energetic persons (who managed to spread their good mood and enthusiasm) - Justyna Frydrych and Kamil Rzepecki. They implemented a small but very nice project with the name “Lately Polish your Polish”, having as beneficiaries current and past EVS volunteers from abroad and from Poland (one of those lucky persons was MEJ). The aim of this project was to gather present and past volunteers who are working/ have worked in Poland and create for them good conditions to share some practices and knowledge; also to let them taste from the Polish culture once again.

The activity took part inside a nice peaceful place, but one that was quite well hidden through the buildings, not far from the metro station Gdansk, in Warsaw, of course. It took some time to find it, even for Sergiu Brovinski - the best “map specialist”:P. Although most of the invited persons got a bit lost, in the end, all of them arrived safely at the destination point – Herba Thea (I was asking in the street about this place, and the people thought that I was trying to buy some tea and I was searching for a supermarket

At this event I met with volunteers that I`d already known before, having met them during some other activities, also I met new friends nearby with whom I had enjoyed the whole evening.

One of the most interesting parts, that I liked the most, was the fascinating performance of the Warsaw School of Economics folk group. It was really great! They were dressed in a Polish traditional outfit, singing and dancing some works from their traditions; and also they involved all of us in their program. I liked a lot dancing in a “Polish way”. After the performance we savoured a traditional Polish meal with “barszcz” and “pierogi” and had a long talk, then after that, we went out clubbingJ.

That evening was great; it represented the beginning of a new period full of nice surprises and the start of a good news week.

PS: Special thanks for Phillippe Louis from UK :)


A beautiful example discovered during the Young Citizen's Assembly

>> marți, 13 decembrie 2011

In the period 7-11 December (this year), in Brussels, inside the Hotel of Waterman, took place the Young Citizen's Assembly that gathered more than 40 active youth from all over the world. This activity was organized by the Bureau International Jeunesse and DG Education and Culture of the European Commission, program “Youth in Action” (National Agency). This activity allowed me to meet many interesting youth (with whom we shared our experience from our working fields); to discuss more on the “human rights” issue in a creative way; to rediscover the Belgium food and drinks; to speak in the same time French, English, Russian, Romanian and Polish :P.

Hela :)
One of the wonderful youth that I met there is Hela Ben Salem from Tunisia with whom I had a talk about her experience and successes in the organization where she works.

Hela, as a Law student and an activist, stressed the importance of being active and involved in as many social networks as possible a fact that will allow to all the Tunisian citizens to live in a democratic society. She would like to build a career in the social field, to be active and useful for her country. So far, Hela is a member of some feminist and youth organizations; as well being a member of the national youth committee and of the Tunisian association of ONU (recently created ).

After the Tunisian uprising, a lot of organizations have appeared (representing the civil society) that are helping Tunisia to be more democratic. Their aim is to sensitize the youth and integrate them in many social networks (to make them active). Although the civil society has other roles, one of them is to represent the link between the citizen of the country and the government. Now Tunisians have the possibility to make their voice be heard without putting their lives in danger.

Recently, Hela has been involved in a big project regarding women`s empowerment in politics. The project aim was to encourage the participation of the women in the political field. Before the project implementation there was a big gap regarding the rapport of the women and men’s participation in politics. The most important steps for achieving the aim of this project were to discuss (before the elections) with the Tunisian Parties to integrate women in their election lists on the electable places. It was not that simple. They had to put some pressure on the national parties, and make obligatory the presence of women within the government. One of the positive results of this project is that after the elections women represented 24% of the government. Of course, this percentage is very low; but they will struggle till they (will) reach the 50/50. It will take a lot of time of course to change the human’s mentality regarding the involvement of the women in politics.

At present, Hela’s organization objective is to sensitize all the women to participate as candidate at the future elections, to be powerful, to make a career of it, etc.

Hela is very happy to say that after the implementation of their project, the women became more interested and active in the public field; they fight with courage for their rights, they think that the public field is also important to be represented by the women. She said me that the women’s situation in Tunisia is better than that of other Muslim countries. Tunisians have already prohibited the polygamy; there the gender discrimination is less now. Of course, other good results will come with time.

Concerning the future of her country, my friend is sure that they will not
go back to a dictator regime, the civil society being very vigilant for reaching the democracy in every field. During their history they didn’t have a good democratic situation being colonized by other world big powers; so this is a good chance to start to live on their own. For her, the future seems to be just brilliant.

As I 
have said so many times that with such active and peaceful young people, our life on this earth will improve day by day. It is only a matter of time and to trust in a better life…


The art therapy class at Helenow

>> vineri, 2 decembrie 2011

It’s amazing how some specific activities can change one’s life for the better, especially when it is about something desired and understood by the subjects.  Some of these activities happen to have a kind of therapeutic influence on the humans’ lifestyle, personality, thinking, etc. that`s why,with time,they received the name of "therapy". As I have mentioned in my previous posts, there are many types of therapies and today I chose to speak about the art therapy, which represents the focus on the psychotherapeutic transference process between the therapist and the person who makes art. At Helenow the art therapy is very much loved by students, not only because they have the chance to create and communicate something through their works, but also due to the contact with the most energetic, open minded, lovely, friendly and professional therapist – Liliana Zalewska – with whom I am going to talk further to this article.

Me: Since when have you worked at Helenow as an art therapist?
Liliana: I started my work inside of the Helenow Rehabilitation Center in 2008, but as an art therapist I have worked since this September.

Me: Of what consists the art therapy activity organized by you?
Liliana: During the art therapy children are doing different kinds of activities that help them to exercise their hands muscles such as: drawing, painting, building, breaking, cutting, etc. Students also create objects of different forms, showing up their creativity. When the class ends we have very nice works the children are proud of. Every class has a specific theme of activity that invites the students to explore new topics, new styles of art, pleasure and fun.

Me: what are the advantages of this therapy?
Liliana: First of all, during this activity we are creating good conditions for a better communication between child and therapist. This activity helps our beneficiaries to process their emotions and feelings, to take a decision, to improve various mental and physical symptoms including, but not limited to, reducing pain, anxiety, and tension.  Students are exercising their hands, and they practice their ability to catch. Also they can easily differentiate the colours, the shapes, the materials from what they create. And why not, they have a lot of fun during the lesson.

Me: How many students are typically coming to each session?
Liliana: Depends on the day, but in general, the art therapy activity is attended by 4-8 students.

Me: What are the final works done by children at this activity?
Liliana: They are creating postcards for holidays (for Christmas, Easter), flowers, frames for pictures, animals, original boxes, jewelries, angels, Christmas trees, different objects (for contests).At present they are creating some works for our sponsors who are helping our centre.

Me: What are your wishes for the readers for the coming saint holidays?
Liliana: I wish that all you have peace in your souls; that your smiling never ends, a lot of patience, and everything you wish to come true. Also I wish you have enough snow to make possible the coming of Santa ClausJ.

Me: Thank you very much!


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