Almost 5 months of living in Liepaja I have to say that my favourite place is, without any doubt, Karosta; more specifically, a Youth Center, named “Karosta Kids”, where I work everyday.
Almost 5 months of working there I have that feeling of “belonging” with my Karosta Kids. But I think I need to tell you more about them in order to tell you more about my EVS.
They have criminal familiar backgrounds which is the polite way to say “someone close to them did bad things and hurted them really deeply”. Worse, some are still hurting them.
At the age of 15 when everything is naturally difficult (because you are a teenager and that’s tough), having so many bad roles next to you could end up really bad; and, personally, that’s what makes my Karosta Kids so special for me. Instead of living criminal lives – like so many people next to them -, they choose everyday to live a creative life. And by “creative”, I mean:
– Preparing lunch everyday;
– Learning german on monday;
– Debating about important topics on tuesday;
– Making soap on wednesday;
– Learning english on thursday;
– Watching a movie on friday.
For me it has been a honour to participate and/or plan these daily activities that take place in the Youth Center.It’s a pleasure to see the youngsters choose the right path and be a part of the Youth Center which supports their good decision. More than that, it’s awesome to be a part of the Youth Center where these teenagers spend most of their days improving the life skills that, hopefully, in the future, will allow them to end the poverty cycle that’s taking place in one of the most beautiful places of Liepaja: Karosta.
Still, talking about Karosta Kids is not possible without talking about the region itself.In Karosta you can see what happens when the elegance of a russian Tsar meets the sovietic militarism. So, the feeling of entering in Karosta is paradoxal: the architecture makes you feel inside an old movie; the nature makes you feel inside paradise.
How can I resume my mixed feelings? I’ll use a metaphor. It’s like my heart is a hotel and in each room there is a Karosta Kid living. Every week it grows bigger and bigger… because it’s awesome to help kids like these but, more than that, it’s awesome to help kids who know how to say thank you. And these kids know: I assure you!