lørdag 21. mai 2011

Glimpses from our trip in April - May 2011

Nine students and two teachers headed for Skola Internat no 7 on April 29th. As usual, we went by bus - our favourite bus company Gjerdrum turbil - to Nynäshamn south of Stockholm, and then by ferry to Gdansk, and then bus again, with Andrej, who has taken us safely to Kaliningrad several times. Since we stuck to the rules this time and didn't carry hundreds of bags ands suitcases, passing the border between Poland and Russia went quickly and painlessly. This year's group of students were as excited as all the previous groups, not knowing where and with whom they would live and how the children would receive them. Of course this went very well - the hospitablity of the Russian host families were warming and made our Norwegian youngsters relax, and even though a mutual language to some extent were lacking , the communication seemed to work out quite well.

The orphans received us with some shyness and a lot of eagerness, and the little nervousness that might have been there, vanished rapidly. Since this was our second visit to school no 7, and since some of the kids knew us from earlier years at Skola no 3, the children had some expectations for the days we were going to spend together, and this gave us a flying start. We had a great week, going on excursions, on picnic, took part in classes, played football... all together with the charming children of Skola Internat no 7 and their friendly, helpful, humourus, warm and hardworking staff. Tears were shed on the day of departure, and there is a lot of memorable moments to cherish and nurse.

If you want to see pictures from Kaliningrad, you'd better search google...

On the first day we went for an excursion in the centre of town with children from 5th class, and here we are on one of the bridges that cross the river Pregolja where the old centre of Königsberg was situated before the bombing during the war. Here newly wedded couples "lock their love" and throw the key into the river.
Teutonic Knights outside the old restored church of Königsberg fascinate the boys.

Chernich, the little orphanage dog, loves the children, and they love him.

Refurbished bathrooms! We were happy to see the results of our fund raising. If you look further down on the blog, you can compare....

 Picnic on the seaside with football, "tourist competition", grilling, Uzbekian pilaff. Great fun, great food, great kids, and impressive work by the grown-ups.

Which group can make a camp first?

The school is happy about their psychology room, wchich we have helped decorate. The room is equipped with different games and gadgets that help the children develop coordination, concentration etc.

Keeping the balance... speachless and intense communication between Russian boy and Norwegian girl.

 Vyatcheslav, or Slava, psychology student, volunteered and practiced at the orphanage, and was a good interpreter for us.

 It is necessary to learn to make the famous and tasty Russian pancakes, blinis! 

Jana's beautiful application.

The pancakes are ready! 

We learned to make hearts and ribbon roses. Katja shows us how to do it!

Planting trees!

New playground challenges the boys. Here they can take out some of their energy!

We visited the new neighbouring school, an impressing, well equipped local school for 800 children from 7 to 17. The orphanage benefit from the neighbour as they use the swimmingpool and other facilities.

 Our Elisabeth impressed us by climbing quickly to the top!
The days before Victory Day, which is May 9th, the Baltic fleet and army practiced for the big parade. The sailors were friendly and smiling, and wars of all kinds seemed far away. Nevertheless, Victory day is a demonstration of muscels and power...

In the National Park of Kurskaya Kasa, the long sand tongue that reaches from Kaliningrad to Lithuania, we visited the ornitological station Fringulla, where migrating birds have been ringed for about a hundred years.

In "The dancing wood".

From the sand dunes, the biggest in Europe. View over the lake.

On our way back to Gdansk, we were lucky to get a brief stay in the old town. Like Königsberg, Gdansk was bombed and destroyed 90% during the World War II, but the city has risen from the ashes. Meticulous and patient work with a great sense for details and being true to history, the beautiful Old town tells many stories. It is strange to think about what Kaliningrad could have been... Bresjnev ordered the ruins of Königsberg Castle torn down as it reminded of the Nazis and of Western imperialism...
Now the Kaliningraders take great interest in the story of their region, and take well care of what is left from Königsberg.

Here are some glimpses from Gdansk!

We had a very nice trip, and hopefully new pupils in Lillestrøm high school's IB class will continue the project!

Welcome back!