Second and third day of our project

Другий шалений день нашої подорожі
6 June 2017
Третій день – знайомство з JugendSozialwerk Nordhausen e.V.
7 June 2017
I was supposed to write a blog yesterday, but on our way to Nordhausen, we had a spontaneous change of plans 🙂
We decided to visit a National Park Sächsische Schweiz, that is located just 50 minutes drive from the Polish border.
We were moving to the opposite side of the Elbe River, and after a short distance, we reached a small village called the resort of Rathen. The most interesting thing is that the entrance to the village, except residents and employees, is prohibited.
And what can I say about the park? It is such a beauty that one has to see with own eyes. It is just not nature, but some atmosphere of the park, that makes you think of old fairy tales…
Around is the stunning beauty. The cleanest air. The views are fascinating.
And so, after admiring the local beauties and taking a little breath, we decided to reach the Bastai bridge. As it turned out, there was a staircase next to it, with many many (did I say many? yes, many!) steps. Then the ladder went on into an ordinary forest path with a lot of turns and steep ascents. I do not know how many kilometers we went up, though my fitness tracker showed around 15 km for the whole day, but step by step; we were getting closer to our goal!
Surprisingly, at this altitude, there was no wind even with the cloudy weather. There were absolute silence and calmness, except for a separate, short-term singing of birds. Looking beyond the horizon, you begin to merge with nature. There is some detachment from the outside world, and you forget about everything. I could spend hours meditating, looking into the distance, into infinity and not think about anything there.
Being frank, I did not want to leave these places. And if there is an opportunity, I will return here. Because it is worth it to see again and again.
But staying there took us more time that we intended, and we arrived very late to our hotel with getting some adventures with keys and internet on our way to the room 🙂
Today morning was also an interesting one. We planned to arrive at the meeting with International Department of JugendSozialwerk Nordhausen e.V. sharp at 10 and left our hotel half an hour before that. But due to navigator` freak out (and mine too), we got a little run around the neighborhood. I hate getting late, especially for important meeting like this, so it is a crucial lesson for me – in the foreign country, where you don’t know the road – go ahead not 30, but 45 minutes before.
After our wonderful host Katrin picked us up – we arrived at JugendSozialwerk Nordhausen e.V. and started our meeting. I have to tell more about the organization because their scope of work is incredible and there around 1,200 people working there! It is something that Ukrainian NGO’s (even in the biggest cities) can only dream of now, but it also started with a small team, 25 years ago. The work of non-governmental organizations in Germany is supported by the local government, but this organization is not stopping only on that. They have a great variety of projects, concerning youth education, kids and their families leisure time, day care for the elderly, association for migrants and much much more.
We got to see the premises where the organization work, hear the happy kids laughter when they arrived at the youth hostel to spend time there with their teachers and not only to get some vacation but also to learn and to engage in social activities. We saw a circus that is integrated into work with young people (how amazing is that!) and met with the entire International Department.
After that, we got a chance to explore the beautiful old city of Nordhausen and hear some interesting stories about it.
I must say, that we have the most wonderful hosts that one can ask for: Katrin and Innes, are very open, friendly, ready to listen to all our thoughts and ideas, and doing their work perfectly. And I just admire Katrin, who is an example for me, as of working mother, active in social life and doing the best in her job, studying at the same time. I think that women like that must be a role model for everyone.
After our tour around the city, we went to the headquarters of JugendSozialwerk Nordhausen e.V. and got a chance to talk with the employees, look more into history and discuss our possible future cooperation. The atmosphere in the office is something incredible. Everyone is smiling, and joking, enjoying what they are doing and interested in that.
And our evening was finished in a nice restaurant “Felix,” with Katrin, who devoted her free time to get to know us and we exchanged our traveling stories and tried to guess on the photos on the wall, why girls also have “Felix” name 🙂
It was a long day but filled with valuable information and meeting with great people. After all, I always believe that not just the project is important, but people who make it.
Now, I am going to get some rest, and I hope that tomorrow will bring new emotions and wonderful stories.
Best wishes,
Mariia.
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