Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bauska summer

PHOTODONATION: Santa Spilberga


I’d like to start my telling about the camp with few quotes from the letters written by the kids:

“This camp was ideal! It was the coolest week of my life. I can't believe it went by so quickly. It will be difficult to say goodbye to my new friends...” Elīna

“It was a cool week that I spent with cool people. J I will never forget this week, only it could have lasted longer. I’ve never been at such a great camp...” Gatis

“I liked everything about this camp because we always had cool surprises! J... The camp could have lasted at least 2 weeks because I think all participants wanted to stay here longer!.....” Zane

And that’s exactly how it was – the five days at the camp went by in an instant and every single day was filled with new emotions, knowledge, fun and laughter.

Every day was full of adventure and different events.

12 young people, mostly from Bauska, took part in the camp. Three girls had travelled as far as from Lauciena parish, Talsi district, and one girl came from Riga. Each day two kids from “Ezerkrasti” social care centre and their teacher were guests at the camp.

On the first day, we all had jitters (we – camp leader Ineta and I - too), felt a bit confused and were eager to find out how will this go? After the very first class when we were drawing self-portraits and talking to a psychologist I felt that the kids are open and want to collaborate. Following the tasty lunch at cafe “Velana” in Bauska we headed to the mini zoo “Dobuļi”. After we had seen all the small animals and birds we had a picnic with grilled sausages and got to know each other a little better. I think the picnic was a great chance for everyone to have a laugh and make friends. Kids from Bauska headed home while the four “guest” girls spent the night in Ineta’s barn. And so the evenings were spent in girly chitchat, playing ping pong, guitar and football, as well as swimming in the Memele River.

The second day was special for after the morning chat we were waiting for our guests – adornment making artists Līva and Ginta from Riga’s „Žagatu bode” shop - to arrive. Of course, most girls were all excited the moment different pearls, gemstones and trinkets were put on the table yet Klinta and Gatis announced such things are not for them. They managed to keep their front up for about two hours and then, of course, gave in! And you can see for yourself in our photo story what beautiful adornments we made. Baibiņa was so into the process that she didn’t want it to end even after five hours of making adornments!

The third day arrived with excitement and great expectations. In the morning, we had a hygiene class, following which everyone got a sweet smelling gift – soap from “Stenders” and toothpaste from “Colgate”. For a chance to get some fresh air and to work up our appetite we went for a walk in Bauska castle ruins where we had a great time laughing and relaxing. Upon our return after the tasty lunch, a crew from TV program “Panorama” and reporter Aija Kinca were already waiting for us. They had come to visit us and see how we were doing as well as to talk with the kids. The main event of that day – a visit from a hairstylist and a make-up artist - was still to come but first there was one other thing we had to do. We had to make a collage called “my dream” using old magazines. Camp leader warned me this will be a very emotional event, and she was right, I was unable to fight back tears as I saw dreams of some of the kids and knew for sure – those dreams will not come true…

The kids were a little confused and maybe quieter than usual. Maybe it was due to the cameraman walking around filming them or maybe due to the visit of two amazing ladies - hairstylist Tamara and make-up artist Linda. At first everyone looked kind of scared and probably thought of all the possible things that might start happening now. Tamara gave a short insight into the latest hairstyle trends and, unbelievable as it was - offered to cut one girl’s hair right on the spot and another girl was given an evening hairstyle! Other girls were very interested to hear Linda’s tips on how to best use make-up and were eager to get a make-up from a professional make-up artist. At the end of this day 8 girls had a new hairstyle!!! And every girl, who so desired, got a model-worthy make-up. Later the girls wrote they were very surprised to receive all the make-up as a gift. In addition to that girls received new hats made by the knitters in Sweden and participated in a “before and after” photo shoot. The day was fantastic and the girls were glowing as they headed home and only one girl was ready to go for the traditional evening’s swim (other girls refused, and I’ve strong suspicions it was due to the new hairstyles and make-up).

Early Thursday morning we headed in Liepāja direction. Our first stop was at the “Druviena” ice-cream makers where we found out how the cool treat is made and had a chance to taste it too. After that we headed to “Cīruļi”, the Kalvene branch of the Riga Zoo. We had a great walk in the amazingly beautiful place and saw the blue cows, the newborn bobcat cubs, lamas, as well as animals typical to our country – nutria and big hogs. Some were even lucky enough to spot a wolf. The grilled sausages, vegetables and “Danone” yoghurts we had after the long walk disappeared in an instant. And then after the final attraction – swings that fly very high – we embarked on our fun way home.

The final day had a little hint of sadness to it but it was long awaited due to the expected guest, singer Liene Šomase. So after the morning round we go to the main task of the day – making a common collage called “My camp – Bauska summer”. The collage had it all – emotions about the “cool” time spent together as well as information about what we had done, gained and learned. Everyone made their own little exhibition so that we could see all the adornments and drawings together. After lunch, we had our usual treats from “Rīgas Piensaimnieks” and “Laima”. The bus was already waiting to take us to the camp closing event - picnic by the Memele River. We were blessed with great weather all week and the last day was no exception - the sun was shining, and it was so warm that the first thing the kids tried to do was to enjoy the cool water of Memele River. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting, recalling the most memorable events and hoping this was not our last meeting.

Also our guest Liene had arrived, and it was time for the real fun. We all talked about what we do, what we dream about, what we want to achieve. We sang, played games and munched on the friendship pretzel. I think the camp’s closing culmination – when kids received diplomas and gifts from “Amigo” - was especially heartfelt and lovely. While we were playing the camp’s “top” game “What’s the time, grandma?” the sky went all dark all of a sudden, and it started to rain in cats and dogs! We were slightly confused and thought the rain was about to end in a moment and we will be able to continue to enjoy our feast but that was not exactly what the rain had in mind. It had decided to soak us to the bone, so by the time when we finally figured that hiding in the cars was the right thing to do, the rain’s goal was well achieved. But then the sun came out again for just enough time to allow us to say goodbye to Liene and take pictures with her (and I think that was a great adventure for many), and also to say goodbye to the new friends and to us – the leaders and organizers of this camp. I think I was not the only one who had a lump in their throat at that moment. Thanks to all of you for this amazing week!!!

A special thank you goes to:

Ineta and Indulis for the ideal organization of the camp and for being such wonderful hosts

Bauska City Hall for their support

Cafe “Velana” and Sveta for the tasty lunch

Tamara and Linda for the unforgettable “style day”

“Žagatu bode” for teaching us the art of making adornments

Anastasija and Solvita - the girls who gave a ride to kids from “Ezerkrasti”

Santa Spilberga and Ēriks Meinarts – our photographers

Skuja family for the provided transportation and vegetables

Hēlija for the tasty tomatoes

Of course, we thank everyone who made donations: Marija, Iveta Lause, Linda Dzalba, Ilona Babre, Līga Meija, Ilva Utāne, Santa Strautmane, Zita Ruņģe, Līga Meinarte, Santa Rancāne, Anita Gaile, Anda Vīgante, Natalja Toršina, Tatjana Ļesovaja, Katrina Lidere, Diāna Jeremejeva, Nora Kirta, Līga Kohtanena, Aija Jansone, Rita Pedāne, Iveta Andruce, Maruta Noveičuka, Gundega Saulīte, Sandra Rieksta, Olga Trojecka, Aigars Rozentāls,Ģirts Jankovskis, Evija Graumane

Thanks to our partners:

Colgate – Palmolive




Kraukļa fonds

Rīgas Piensaimnieks

P.s we still are 164 LVL short on paying all bills. This event was worth it and there is very very little left...

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