Arts Lab 5.0: Dajana Zharassov, Germany - Month 5

Hello again! Welcome to my fifth report here in Romania. It was an exciting month and it started with us celebrating Hassan's birthday and organizing some workshops.

We also finally had our exhibition for the Jewish open-air museum. As I mentioned in my last report, me and Aliye collaborated for this and we created an audiobook with the help of Cosmin, a student in the Moldova High-school. The audiobook consists of a poem and the story which tells the storyline of the pogrom in Iași. By editing sound effects into it we created an immersive audio experience. For the interactive part of the workshop for the exhibition the people needed to listen to the audiobook. While listening they could draw illustrations or write messages on a big paper on how it made them feel. After listening to the poem and the story, they could write into the book on how it made them feel. The story of the audiobook has an open ending so in the third book people could write how they imagine the story could have ended based on what they know now about the Iași pogrom and the second world war in general. When the Jewish museum will be finished people will be able to listen to it while walking through it.

After this, we traveled to Bucharest for the midterm which everyone felt very excited about. The working days of the midterm were from the 22nd to the 24th January, where we had to attend meetings from 10am to 6pm. Overall I really liked this experience because I have met a lot of new people, it was nice to have a room for oneself and unlimited hot water again haha and we talked about some important things in the midterm such as our growth and personal goals, the Youthpass etc. I have to say though that I didn't like the way of teaching sometimes because even though it was non-formal it did feel a bit too childish sometimes like cutting out stick figures. I liked that they gave us a lot of options to talk to each other in the sessions and the mission on the first day was a good way to make us talk and work together I think. I also really liked the day when we had time to go out a little and explore Bucharest by completing tasks around the city even though at the time we complained a lot because it was really cold. It indeed was awfully cold but looking back I have a lot of pictures as memories now from this day. We visited the Cărturești Carusel library which was absolutely breathtaking and I loved it there. I also liked the workshop activities organized by other volunteers on the last day and I think they should include more of this. What I really didn't like was the fact that our facilitators had only given us like 15 minutes to work on the book and then demanded us to finish it in our free time even though the meeting ends at 6pm and dinner is at 7pm. When should we have time to explore Bucharest? In contrast to that other groups didn't have the task to finish it. While having the midterm we went out sometimes in the evening to a cool cafe named Van Gogh cafe or to bars.

After the midterm ended me, Ahmed, Sena, and Hassan booked a place and stayed a few days longer in Bucharest. We ate some amazing Lebanese food and went to the Bucharest mall. My most favorite day is when we went to the Therme. Really if any future volunteers are reading this, you have to visit it. It was so beautiful there, the food and drinks are really good and it felt great to relax there. One day Ahmed and I went to another mall in Bucharest where we played some games at the arcade and he taught me how to play Billiard. On the last day me, Ahmed and Carla explored Bucharest a bit more and went to visit the Romanian Ateneu. We also visited the national museum of art of Romania which absolutely stunning and visited the Crețulescu church next to it. After this we came back to Târgu Frumos but I have to say that I really liked the amazing historical areas and buildings in Bucharest.

Some other things that happened this month were that we learned some Romanian dances including the Brașoveanca. I really liked this day. We visited a famous naive painter and we also went to a meeting in Iași with teachers from different European countries to present our project and the European Solidarity Corps.

We also had the Bolivian, Turkish, Ukrainian, and English night this month. Everyone worked hard and it was amazing to see everyone present their culture. We met Raph's Scottish grandfather and her mother that had traveled here which was exciting because before that I had never met a Scottish person. It was amazing to see him in traditional Scottish clothes.

In this month, we also had our Rroma art residency at the Ion Creangă School. For this art residency I created an escape room with the children. We made different challenges and quizzes connected to the Rroma traditions and culture so that people could learn more about the Rroma through fun. The objective of the escape room would be to find all the tarot cards hidden to escape. The fastest group to escape gets a price. We made codes on bracelets that people would need to decipher crossword games with the Roma language, designed tarot cards, created quizzes based on Roma culture and so on. Overall I really liked this art residency because some children were really motivated and the end product turned out really well I think but I have to say that the fact that the groups changed every day except the 2 days was a bit not helpful. It takes time for them to open up, to explain to them and for them to come up with good ideas. It's hard to do all of that in 2 hours considering also that it's a big group of like 28 children and one volunteer. I didn't have any teachers because I managed well through the help of my two amazing translators. I think that there would have been much more chaos if they wouldn't have been so nice and helped me manage the kids and translate as much as they did. I mean, I think it's good that we were pushed out of our comfort zone, but we only had 5 days to produce something good with the children for the exhibition.

I can't believe that it's already the fifth month. We are slowly starting to talk about departing ways and booking our flights back home. Thinking about this, the stress of my responsibilities back in Germany, going back to my old routine and not having these 10 amazing people around me all the time and the cute silly meetings that we have in this house makes me really sad.

I will truly miss the people that I have met here, the places I visited, the new things that I tried and I will cherish these memories that I made in Romania forever. I might write my next report from home and not from this ACT house here in Târgu Frumos on my bed next to my roommate Raph. I will enjoy my last few weeks here to the fullest.

See you next time!

Dajana Zharassov is from Germany, and she is participating in a six-month volunteering program within Arts Lab 5.0, a project co-funded by the European Union through the European Solidarity Corps. 


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