Some years ago it was fancy to smoke and to drink. Now is fancy to be healthy, to follow lifestyle, go to the gym, to make selfie in gym and in cloakroom, to drink smoothie from eco-cup throw bamboo straw and buy eco products.

In theory. But on practice everything happens in different ways. Not only in Ukraine.

Maybe that’s why in nowadays there are so many international projects on healthy lifestyle topic.

And one of them is project «Challenge? Accepted!» which happen in Georgian village Nokalakevi between 20th and 28th of July. Youth from five European countries tries to understand how healthy lifestyle can looks like, find adequate approach to healthy lifestyle and what stop us from following healthy lifestyle not only in our minds, but in practice. And additional topic of our youth exchange was sport as a tool of inclusion to social life.

Project was implemented with financial support from European Union program – Erasmus+. The program has special focus on youth with fewer opportunities (educational, geographical, social, cultural, physical obstacles). Often in such projects are involved youth from deprived urban or rural areas.

In our case was second choice. One of the most important event of this project was sporty and cultural event for local youth. It was hard to plan when you do not imagine even approximate amount of participants, their age, and the way of communication with locals (coz most of people who came were speaking only local language). And it was hard to implement because of technical problems, not so strong involvement of participants/organizers, shy locals and probably non-understanding why we have to do it. But it’s done! Of course with some mistakes. But! There are phrase: “Person who do not make mistakes, do not do nothing”.

For us as for organization always very important that experience which will get our participants. Maybe it was not the best, but for sure unforgettable 🙂

For us is also important discovering new cultures and we think that this time we goes on level up.

For better understanding of atmosphere of this youth exchange we collect impressions from our participants.

Personal opinion of participant can be the different from the opinion of organization. Spelling is original 🙂

Alina Revenko:

«Challenge!? Accepted. Project in Georgia.

Nokalakevi is small Georgian village. This is a place where our project happens and where I have my first experience of one-week living in camp. To discover one topic here come representatives of different countries. All week we are try to get to know each other, but even in the end of week still have problems with remembering names of all participants. Our topics were healthy lifestyle, inclusion and project management.

We try to do our bests to build at least some relations with locals and on practice monitor some differences and similarities in our cultures. At free time we swim in mountain river, play frisbee and just stay in a shadow. All our working meetings regularly visited by few dogs. From one side its makes our trainings more alive and fun, but from other side trainings become more chaotic and load.

I think that we’re lucky because we have opportunity to visit Tbilisi and Batumi. In Batumi we found one more way of thoughtless waste of money. If you don’t know how to spend 15 lari=150 UAH, so you can go to visit huge botanical garden. The garden is beautiful, but HUGE. To have opportunity to walk around this garden you need to spend at least one day.

And Tbilisi is very beautiful. Nice city with reach history, tasty food and different interesting things. Any way Georgia is a country worth to visit!»

Vadym Yudenko:

«Once upon a time, 36 young minds came to partake in the Ultimate CHALLENGE.

They knew it won`t be easy, but they ACCEPTED it. 5 countries sent their representatives to this wondrous event. So, behold Georgia your competitors!

Spain, Ukraine, Greece, Georgia and Netherlands are all here for the pride and glory. Throughout the week they have to do 7 challenges to earn the final prize…

That`s how I would have started a story about our adventures in Georgia. Yes, and I mean it, everyone contributed to this thrilling experience, henceforth I`ll use ‘us’ not ‘me’. Starting from the vey first day we were chocked by activities, which is good thing.

We engaged in funny energizers from day one. I believe that they played a crucial role in the success of this Youth Exchange (YE), bridging differences and including everyone to action.

Intercultural evenings was another big thing. Each country got to represent themselves in their own special way. Was good to get to know some cool facts about certain country (especially Ukraine, for me). Helped me to better see how unique we all are.

Communicating with Georgians was an unforgettable experience. No russkiy, no angelskiy. ONLY camarjoba! Now, that`s was a real challenge at times. Remember going to pharmacy to get medicine for my sore throat and nose. I had to awaken my inner actor in order to reenact the struggles of a sick boy. Cashier laughed at me but we ended up understanding what I need. That`s an experience.

We all, hopefully, enjoyed the session on ‘Inclusion’. I`d never thought it`s that hard for some people to blend in and be accepted the way they are. Great stuff. Another doze, please.

At the end, I want to say thanks to organizers for making this happen. And to all of you who came and made this project happen. It taught me a lot about differences between people and how to avoid culture-based misunderstandings and smth on healthy lifestyle 😀 »

Filip Alid:

«The youth exchange was fun and hot. I’m sure that getting acquainted with new friends from different countries in Europe will benefit. Most of the youth exchanges I remembered the learned Georgian culture (cuisine, customs, lovely corners of Georgia, behaviour, language), as well as with the cultures of the countries from which the participants arrived. The only minus is a small amount of thematic load. I would like more discussions on the topic, meetings with experts, leaders of public opinion, professionals of this sphere..»

Olya Glazkova:

«From July 19 to July 30, 2018, I took part in the Erasmus + youth exchange program on the theme: “Sport and Healthy Lifestyle”, which was held in Georgia. This topic is close to me as I professionally engaged in volleyball for 8 years, but now I’m trying to keep myself in shape with the help of physical exertion or nutrition, which of course I do not always get. So I wanted to know what the guys from other countries will tell you about this, find out for themselves what’s new or not to know, meet new people or meet old friends from other projects, and of course look, get acquainted with Georgia.

For myself on the project in terms of theory, I did not learn anything new, except that coriander is the upper part of coriander. But there were a lot of interesting and fun energy-enthusiasts, games, exercises. It was interesting to listen to guys from other countries as they perceive this topic as people and what they do for this and how. It was also very pleasant that the organizers of the project tried to get to know us with their culture, food and localities, allocating time for trips to the canyon, thermal waters and Batumi. Well, the biggest bonus was 2 days off in Tbilisi after the project.

In fact, you can paint for a long time as it was good and what you liked and what did not. And it’s even better to fill in the forms for taking part in such exchanges yourself and go see, get acquainted and learn something new. »

Yaroslav Lepiavko:

«Puta malaka!

Where is my chicken?

Gaumarjos!

Triascia!

 

A healthy lifestyle is:

– life in nature;

– natural food;

– partying up to midnight;

– daces till you drop;

– tasting of food and drinks from different countries every day.

That`s all?

No.

An indispensable component – a friendly company of thirty like-minded people from 5 countries. This is exactly how I spent the youth exchange programme “Challenge?” Accepted!” Nokalakevi, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Georgia, July 20-27, 2018. An intensive week.

First impressions: who are all these people?

Sleepy and tired. Greeks, Spaniards, Georgians, Ukrainians, international team from the Netherlands: Togo, Tanzania, Japan and Bangladesh. Tent camp in the yard. There is a small house, grass and many trees. Communication starts immediately. Because you need to set up tents and find out who is last in the queue for the shower.

 

What is your name?

– …ji.

– Fuji?

– No! …ji!

– Fiji?

– No! Juji!

– Oh! Juji, ok! Nice to meet you!

– And your name?

– Yaroslav.

– Sorry, what?

– Okay, I`m Slava.

Exercises for the acquaintance and trust. Salome tells us what purpose we are here. We write our expectations, fears, and what contribution can we do to the project. White dog Ema spins around our legs. After some sports exercises and energy fun activity, we are ready to perceive the information. Even when there is such heat. Fortunately, we have a canopy against a burning sun.

Erasmus plus. Big program till 2020. Many opportunities for youth. We talk about what qualities can be developed, what skills can be pumped up. Someone already has the experience of participating in such programs. Most have not. But everyone is quickly turned on. Educational blocks are fun, plain and interesting. Each country has prepared something. Ukraine conducted sessions during one day. The themes were: the general idea of a healthy lifestyle, healthy eating, myths and misconceptions, sport as a tool for social inclusion … We compared the experience of different countries and discussed common problems, tried to find the solution. And when we get tired – a break for fruits. Actually, watermelon and apples.

If you practice English only during reading articles and watching some videos on TED, the live communication become a challenge. You realize that your active and passive vocabulary differs ten times. There is no dictionary at hand, “Grammarly” or other helping tools. But there are gestures, facial expressions, live eyes, curiosity, and openness.

River, mountains, sea.

It seemed to be not a bad idea. It’s so interesting to wander along a mountain river. Why I have to bypass, on the shore, overland if there is a straight way? The river is knee-deep, the flow is knocking your down, the river bottom is of the stones… You painfully hit your knees on stones, but try to keep on it, otherwise, the flow will take you…

There is the Tekhuri River in Nokalakevi, we swim there. The village itself is small, but once there was a city-fortress. The remnants of the walls are slowly restored and reconstructed; archaeologists, builders work. Not far from the village are thermal springs. Source flows out from the ground with boiling water. Special contrast to the cold water of the mountain river. You can sit near the waterfall and catch hot splashes …

Our group went to the Batumi. The resort town is actively being built, and Georgia actively advertises in order to make a tourist resort. Offer to buy apartments in Batumi starts to haunt me from the advertisement in the Kyiv Metro. The magazine on the plane, advertisements at the Tbilisi Airport offer apartments “turnkey” for 35 thousand dollars only. Why not buy … Center is beautiful, the quay is picturesque. Huge magnificent botanical garden. In two hours we have passed only a small part of it and saw very little. Before leaving Batumi, we decided to ride on a review wheel. Admire the landscape. “Oh! Victor goes! Victor! Viiiiiiktoooor!!!” Shortly the whole street is staring at us. Besides “Victor”. Because that’s not our Spanish friend, but some unfamiliar dude.

Cultural Evenings.

Take the apple – eat the apple – throw the apple.

Sirtaki and Kolomyjky, flamenco and lezginka, African dances. Bonfire. Delicious food and drinks. But before that – the country’s presentation. How the Spanish sunflower seeds different from the Ukrainian ones? What are the bad words in Greek? What is tastier – khinkali or khachapuri? In fact, we learned a lot. And gave information about Ukraine. Not everyone even knows that we have a war. And do not imagine its scope. But Ukrainian dances are now well known to everyone who was on this programme.

Tbilisi

Here our journey began and ended. Ropeways, hydrogen sulfide baths, ancient churches, incredible views. Say goodbye, wish something. Ilia jokes about the chicken. His favorite meal. He is ready for almost everything to get it.

Nice to meet you! Welcome to Ukraine!

Healthy lifestyle… Healthy impressions and emotions. Great time with wonderful people 😊»

Kateryna Tretiakova:

«After the project ” Challenge? Accept it” in Georgia the week has already passed. I think, it was worth for reflection to wait for a while.

I always try to say, i dont have expectations about upcoming events, but i have diverse curiosity.

So, the topic of our project was healthy life style. I was feeling extremely exited to engage myself more in sport activities (as i seem  having lack of company), finally to make sense out of counting calories, surely to see nearby sightseeings of Georgia.

On the first day of project the half of the participants were drunk, some of them even were high. One of ideas of the project was about to engage locals. I think,  the locals had done engaged us first. The problem of small georgian village is unemployment. The majority of people have garden, draw wells, domestic animals and a great amount of free time. Here was the first point of ours to get aquinted with georgian culture. Marijuana was offered. ( “Challenge? Accept it”)

Unfortunately, some of the stereotypes about georgian man are still alive.Its difficult not to notice people staring at you at the beach, hearing some feedback about you, but directed to a close standing friend . In Batumi, for instance,  was announced, the enterance on a boat was free for children & lonely girls. ( “Challenge? Accept it?”)

Sometimes i felt some people on the project came just to have fun. I dont know, maybe weather conditions ( +40°C) have influenced us, but we didnt really do sports and talk about healthy stuff( exept of one day. it was in charge of ukrainian team, so i dont really count it). And all the time then it was so complicated to get social attention.I felt a little bit disapointed then.not a little bit. (“Challenge? Accept it”)

Another remarkable thing was to stay longer in Batumi after a project for our own expenses. I didnt like Batumi while visiting it on a project, so going there through the half of the country seemed for me as a waste of time. For my team as well. So we were supposed to pay 1800 UAH fee for cancellation of our booking. The thing happened, that i ve booked the apartment, so i turned to be a person who  sticked to a phone, when we were out in Tbilisii. I was trying to cancell booking, to apologize to an owner, to help georgian participants to move in to our  already cancelled apartments, to renew our status, to figure out money question and simultaneously looking for a b-day present for a new hostel – aquintance from Iran. (“Сhallenge? Accept it” even after the project)

Now i keep in touch with some participants & the locals. I need to say i miss them and our wild conditions without mirrors, sleeping in the tents with some insects in, wich seemed to be disgusting at first.

Now ive realised that the moto of the project was fully accomplished. I can feel a step forward to my personal growth. I can confidenty say, i saw more of Georgia than i had planned, ive challenged more than i had planned, i knew myself more, i didnt even plan that.

I am so grateful to all the people, who were around me. I fell in love with Georgia. Its true.»

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