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.