Unification News for April 2002

Hungary: IRFF Youth Service Project

by Agnès Gravrand and Anthea 'Micimacko' Dixon.

This was the first IRFF project for both of us. The group that met in Hungary, March 25-30, 2002, was quite international, with people from 12 different nations - Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, France, England, Germany, Holland, Austria, Korea, Norway, Portugal and Saudi Arabia. We are all from very different cultures and backgrounds, some of the Hungarians on the team were also gypsies, which made the experience even more interesting and some of us were also here representing Service for Peace (www.serviceforpeace.org)

The first day was spent getting to know each other through orientation games and activities. First we had to learn each others names off by heart. We broke the ice by doing some games in small teams, such as making posters about our expectations of the project, and learning to listen to each other. The last activity involved discovering different characters by comparing ourselves to one of three different animals: a "cool green fox," a "hot red lion" or a "warm blue St. Bernard." It turned out to be surprisingly accurate. At the end of the day were divided into four teams of about six people.

So now we all knew each other (or at least better than before anyway), we could get down to the work. For the first project we were all set to different locations. Two teams were given the task of cleaning up the garden of a local organization, Fa'ag Baràh Kör. A "circle of friends" which looks after children. We had to rake leaves, remove dead and unwanted bushes and trees, and improve the general appearance of the garden. It was very rewarding to finish and look back over the garden. The results of our work could clearly be seen, and it was very satisfying to see that we had done a good job.

The other two teams stayed back at the hostel to repaint the main hall, the bedrooms and the bathrooms. It wasn't such an easy job, because all the furniture had to be moved, and there wasn't so much extra space, but we were all motivated to finish the job before dinner, because otherwise we would have to finish it before going to sleep. So everybody really worked hard. Also people always found something to do without being asked. At the end everything looked really white, and really new, and we could benefit from our work for the rest of the project.

For the next three days we went to work in a nature park. Our job consisted of removing, piling and burning overgrown and unwanted bushed, therefore making the area more clear and pleasant.

On our second day we also had the privilege of planting new trees by the river. The mayor of Pécs also came to see what was going on, and helped by planting a tree.

On the third day we worked on the river - making it wider so the water could flow more easily. At the end of the day people were getting really muddy, but still enjoying the work.

On the last day of the project we went to a different site, and picked up rubbish on tourist trails and picnic areas on a mountain, meanwhile enjoying the nature and beautiful weather. Once we got started it was difficult to stop. A few of us still carried on after lunch, not stopping until it was time to go back on the bus.

Every evening we had different cultural activities connected to the project. We got to know the Hungarian and gypsy culture better through dance and music, we all had a chance to learn some Hungarian dance moves.

On other evenings we had presentations about IRFF, by Massimo, Service for Peace, by Agnès and about Fa'ag by Kriszta, because these were the three main organizations involved in the project. Other presentations were more general, about the city, and about the nature.

The last afternoon was dedicated to closing the project. We had to reflect about the project. The general feeling that came out was that the project should have been longer. It also enabled the organizers of the project to get appreciate for their work, which was well deserved.

The final program on the schedule was a 'cultural evening', in which all the teams performed a sketch or song, which we had spent many hours practicing and preparing for. The general atmosphere of this evening reflected the feeling of the whole project by it's simplicity but strong effects, and of course everybody received a certificate as a memory of the whole project.

We would like to conclude by acknowledging Agi, and Sonny the IRFF Hungary directors for their hard work and dedication, and Massimo Trombin the IRFF international field director for his contributions in this project, and of course all the participants that made it happen.

The sponsoring organizations were: IIFWP, IRFF, Mecsek -Kenyér Rt Pécsi Sütoüzem, TESCO Global Áruházak Rt Pécs

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