evs @ erfolg

A multilingual blog about the life as a volunteer in the Latvian organisation Erfolg

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One Year in Latvia

I didn’t know almost anything about Latvia before I came for my EVS here. Latvia is a nice small country with small towns full of tradition and cultural habits. The most beautiful here is a nature. Fifty percent of forest and so many lakes made me happy during all my year. The hardest part was a winter. At the beginning of my EVS it was summer, I had a good time being in Latvia, I spent it with kids, in the forest, swimming in the lake. But after summer the weather become cold and also some time past and I stopped beIng excited about new place and new project. I started to see problems that I had with my organisation. The kids’ holidays finished and the camp for them too. So there was nothing to do in my organization. It gave me big impulse to connect with other volunteers around Latvia. I started to help with evets in other towns and spent time with other volunteers. I am so happy I met them and I hope I will see them again after my EVS finishes. We made together really nice events about Erasmus+, painting, cooking, happiness and much more. My year was full of experience, some was bad and some was good. For sure I developped myself and that is really important thing at this program. I met really interesting people who made me happy also I know not all people are good…

Now is time to change and go for a new adventure.

Monika Křivánková

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My last week in Daugavpils

It is already my last week in Daugavpils.

A year is already gone.

I have good and bad memories about this period in Latvia, but it’s absolutely normal when you can call a place “home”: what was really strange and different at the beginning of my journey– because the real journey starts when you’re in a new Country, not when you’re on the plane- is now ordinary and familiar.

Except for pizza and coffee.

About my activities here, I can say that I’m really happy about my Italian and English courses, because the partakers are happy. It has been a really good experience, since I had the opportunity to manage everything by myself.

Our lessons took place twice per week; we talked, discussed about grammar and learned vocabulary in a good atmosphere, with a great relationship.

During this year, I have participated in workshops for children and in projects for youth exchanges, which has given the opportunity to plan and lead different activities- further pieces of information are available in the specific articles.

I’m not grateful only about it, Erasmus in general is really a great chance not only to know a different Country and to get acquaintance with people with a different background, but even to live these differences, to make them yours, which helps you to understand that it’s really stupid to compare different cultures and different values- or at least, one is supposed to understand which instruments may help to estimate these peculiarities, without judging them as better or worse.

Cultures could be really terrible, sometimes: if we’re not aware about their artificiality and their reasons, it is a trap for our brain, and it releases us in a box- or at least in our personal dimension, where we welcome what is ordinary and we fear and definitely cannot tolerate what is new, not ordinary, and “different”.

I had the chance to meet many people during these months; I get the acquaintance with some of them and had the chance to build a good relationship, while with somebody else it was absolutely impossible to deal with.

Erasmus allows you to undertake something similar to a secondary journey, invisible and more personal, which let you to discover more about yourself: so I say thank to the people I’ve met so far and the places I’ve seen. If I cannot claim to be a better person, I can say, at least, that I’m an awarer person.

It can be good or not, but if you don’t risk you’ll never know: just try, be a volunteer, but have the awareness that you should live that experience; be curious, explore, speak with the local people, find different pieces of information about the place you’re living in.

Liels paldies, спасибо большое.


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4 Monate Daugavpils

Mein Name ist Daniel und ich komme aus Oesterreich, genauer gesagt aus oberoesterreich in Eferding. Ich bin am 6. Jaenner  in Lettland angekommen,  In der ersten Woche konnte ich schon viele Eindrücke von der Stadt und den Menschen sammeln und habe viele EVS  Leute kennen Gelernt. Was auch sehr Interessant war fuer mich.Da mein Heimatort eher klein ist, kommt mir Daugavpils recht groß vor. Ich hab immer noch Orientierungsprobleme, verlaufe mich noch ziemlich oft und das Tramfahren  stellt für mich keine Herausforderung da. Aber von Anfang an wurde ich hier von allen unterstützt, was mit den anfangs schwierigen Start in dieser neuer Stadt deutlich erleichtert hat.Die Leute sind auch sehr Hiflsbereit auch wen das Verstaendigen schwer fehlt und sie sind auch sehr offen gegen ueber andere Menschen. Mir ist gleich aufgefallen, dass die Stadt sehr grün ist, was vielleicht auch daran liegt, dass ich direkt neben dem Zentralpark wohne. Außerdem kann man hier viele schöne, alte Gebäude entdecken. Nach dieser kurzen Zeit ist mir aber auch eines klar, ich muss ganz dringend russisch lernen, auch wenn das sicher schwierig wird, da ich bisher erst wenige Worte weiß.

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Painting the walls of Ligzda’s stairway


My friend working at Ligzda society wants to bring together creative-minded people who are open to new ideas and are not afraid to exercise them. The workers and volunteers decided to make the entrance to the organisation more beautiful and welcoming. They planned to paint the walls of the stairway. At the end there will be the map of Europe and some mosaics of colour to continue like evolution to garden with a lot of flowers and big parrot. We could choose what we wanted to paint. We painted the flowers. There were also the kids from Tukums painting with us and they painted the mosaics. We enjoyed the afternoon together and did a good job at the wall. The stairs to the centre will look much nicer and friendlier after the paint is finished. It is still a lot of work but I am glad we helped them to have nice place.








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Portuguese Lunch in Latvian city Sigulda

To taste Portuguese culture and food in Sigulda where tree Portuguese people are living was really pleasure for me. Two of them made Portuguese lunch. The cooking for more than twenty people is not easy so they invited us to help them with the food preparation. They were cooking two days – first day they baked the cakes. The second day we came and prepared Rissóis de Carne and Pastéis de Bacaihau. So I had a chance not only to taste the Portuguese food but also to learn how to cook it. In the morning, before the lunch we prepared a lot of potatoes and other stuff for the main dish Bacaihau á Brás. We prepared main dish and tasted Portuguese wine, we also looked at the photographs and we spoke about the country with Portuguese people and others who lived there or just visited this beautiful country. I want to visit the Portugal soon.


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Rujiena “Open space” and Creative workshops “Think. Write. Draw.”

On Friday 3rd February we presented Erasmus + and non- formal education with other volunteers in the youth center in Rujiena. This open space had two parts. The first part was a presentation of Erasmus+ program, our EVS projects and our country.  Each group of tree volunteers was in one class for one study hour. I was together with volunteers from France and Turkey. We spoke with kids about their dream travels. We asked them what they know about our countries. We explained what Erasmus + program is and what we do in Latvia. We spoke about our impressions of Latvia, about languages and difficulties to learn a new language.


The second part was open space for the students.  It took place all around the school. We created seven places with activities and workshops – logical and math workshop, face painting workshop, Georgian draw name workshop, stereotype game about Europe countries, tasks game about European countries, dancing workshop and video skills workshop. I was at face/hand painting where the kids had chance to paint on each other.

On Saturday two of our volunteer friends had a great idea and made creativity workshop for other volunteers. During the workshop we discussed the dreams and tried to find the possibilities how to transform them into reality. We created one story together and also everyone his own story. We drew the illustration and created the comics together. It was really amazing. There were about twenty volunteers and we really enjoyed to be together, to create new ideas and to learn from each other.


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My merry Christmas and “Pasaku pasaulē” kid’s holiday’s school

I had awesome Christmas in Latvia. I decided to stay for Christmas in Latvia. Thank you to Volunteers from Rūjiena, which hosted us in their place. 23th of December we spend Christmas with seniors in seniors centre in Rūjiena. We made Italian tiramisu, had a cup of tea and some other cakes. We were listening and singing Christmas songs. It was lovely time to try to make bit happy some seniors. Next day more volunteers came and we prepared a big Christmas dinner and enjoyed Christmas together with a lot of fun and happiness.


The Christmas school holiday at Erfolg was with the spirit of fairytales. Christmas time is beautiful time with the smell of the Christmas tree and Christmas cookies.  We made also gingerbread cookies during the camp. We learned together the German Christmas song and sang the other Christmas songs what we know. We visited the Christmas market at the Main Square and the culture centre where we made arts and crafts – the lollipop reindeer and the Christmas cards.

The topic of the holiday’s school was the fairytales, in each day we concentrated to fairytales from a different country. We started with Latvian and continued with German and Russian. The kids had individual paper works and quiz together. They were collecting the sticker like the points for the competitions.

We did the theatre about the enormous turnip story and made the video. We made also video about how the superhero saves the Christmas. All the kids were amazing actors and we wished the happy New Year you to everyone.


I wish you Happy New Year!


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Six months in Latvia, I am in a half of my year here!

Time to go to Mid-term meeting

After six months spent in Latvia I had a chance to come back to Rāmavas muižā where I had spent 5 days on the on-arrival training. I am grateful how EVS is organized. In the middle of each project there is a meeting with other volunteers again, on the mid-term training. During this training volunteers have time to discuss how they have spent their time on EVS, how their projects have been going, how they feel about their experience and also if there are any problems or difficulties. Part of the training is the time to think what will happen when the EVS project finishes… It is the big question for everybody and it’s coming soon, if we want to or not.


In the beginning of December it has already been one month of winter in Latvia. Most of us aren’t used to such a long and cold winter. Both days we had a common feeling. We all miss the sun.


Most of us were at the same on-arrival training. We know each other and our projects. This time there were few more people coming that I didn’t know. We introduced ourselves and our projects and quickly got known each other and also the trainers.


We spent together three days with many activities that were prepared for us by really great trainers. The meeting was about all of us.  We returned in our mind to the beginning of our projects and we thought about the best and the worst moments during our projects. We were sharing the feelings and the problems and helping each other to find the view from the other side.  It has been three days with really emotional moments with a lot of fun and the most importantly a feeling of each other’s support.


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My EVS continues and I organised the Czech evening

My EVS continues and I organised the Czech evening

The 28th October 2016 is a bank holiday in the Czech Republic as it’s a day to remember the formation of the first Czechoslovakia Republic. I was glad to invite people for cultural Czech evening.  I was really happy a lot of local people came and also a lot of Czechs. I was lucky two Czech families were visiting Daugavpils the same time.


I wanted to present the part of Czech culture in my organization. I hope everybody who was there got to know something new about my country. I made a quiz about the Czech Republic. I asked about important facts from my country. Everybody now knows the famous Czech cartoons Bob and Bobek, Rakosníček and others… Also Czech famous people.

The same day there was a famous Czech sportsman Josef Zimovčák in Daugavpils. He rides velocipede and brought it with him to show us and also let the volunteer to try it. He has been racing on it and has also created endowment fund “Na kole dětem” to support oncology children patients.  I was happy he came and he presented himself and his achievements.


I prepares Czech food Hozovy buchty, Salty sticks, pomazánka, and brought Lázeňské oplatky. Visitors could also taste Czech beer and Becherovka, Czech spirit from Karlovy Vary.dsc07171

All evening was really nice, I was happy to see the people are interest in my country and our culture.


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The Youth Exchange project “Europe through all senses” took place in Daugavpils from the 3rd to the 12th of November 2016 in Daugavpils; the participants came from Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Portugal.

It was a pleasure for me to cooperate with Edgar, the head of the project, who allowed me to handle some of the activities: it was not easy, but I’m really satisfied about it, especially about the discussion club concerning different topics nowadays important in Europe and a workshop about painting and music.

The partakers affirmed that they liked, in particular, the city game and the tour by a private tram, which let them discover Daugavpils, the ice-breaking activities, the visit to the local museum of regional history and to the clay center and the theatrical realization of Lāčplēsis, the “bear slayer”, the poem wrote by Andrejs Pumpurs at the end of the XIXth century. I really enjoyed such activities myself; in my opinion, really important were the cultural evening: the participants had the chance to present their own Countries with videos, food, dances, quizzes and so on, which gave them the chance to share their own culture and to discover new ones, so it was an important opportunity to meet new people with different backgrounds.

Really important was also the Lāčplēša diena, or “the day of Lāčplēsis”, a national event which is celebrated every year on the 11th of November in all Latvia with a torch walk which carries on the name of the national hero who fought for the Country and actually with the purpose to memorialize the soldiers who fought in the war which burst out the following year against the Western Russian army (“Bermontians”) – so it’s not a commemoration for the end of World War I, but for the freedom of Latvia.

Further activities concerning the use of senses were planned, for example the taste and smell of different food with the eyes blindfolded. Much space was given to the participants to prepare their activities and to organize the farewell party, with the help of the “animal party” from each of the participating Countries; at the same time they all received their Youthpass certificate, then we had pizza, drinking games and a lot of fun together.

Gabriele Gerardi