Organized by European Fellowship from 24-31st March 2013.
This week has definitely left an impact on the way I perceive the world around me. How little I know and how much there is to discover and learn about! During this Easter Course I can say that we were lucky enough to experience numerous things, namely, we got to taste shark, get into caves, form friendships with amazing people all over Europe, plan all-night activities for teenagers, witness the Aurora Borealis, and renew our faith in God.
Another fascinating experience was that on Good Friday, we had some time to reflect on the Easter story. We could visit several stations, each focusing on a particular aspect, which helped us reflect more on our life and well-being.
I was really moved by the way some people perceive God and even though we were all coming from different cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs, somehow we felt united. Every morning after playing some incredible games, we used to meet for ‘Easter live’. Here we used to gather as a whole group, read a passage or two from the bible and with the help of some songs and activities, reflect upon different aspects.
We were also divided into smaller multicultural groups, each directed by one of the leaders. In these ‘Me, Myself and God’ groups, we could open-up more comfortably, and share our thoughts and feelings about God. Thanks to these groups, we became conscious and aware of the faith and beliefs each one of us cherished. Also, a special bond was built between us since we understood each other better.
The theme behind this year’s Easter course opened my eyes to the situation of immigration around Europe. Even though the situation is different in every country and to me it might seem that some countries have less discrimination than others, I have realized that I must put things into context and step into the shoes of the people. I have learned that people from Romania and Hungary encounter a lot of discrimination with the Roma people (the gypsies) and people from Iceland discriminate against immigrants from Poland and Asia among other countries that live in a particular neighbourhood. Every country has some sort of ‘ghetto’ where discriminated people live.
Discrimination was also tackled from the perspective of stereotypes; stereotypes of countries, of people, of environments in general. Various workshops were carried out during the week to bring light to these situations in various countries. From one particular exercise for example it resulted that the most discriminated people were dark coloured women who had immigrated to a country for shelter. These women had no jobs, no security and it is very hard for them to fit into the society.
In Easter course we had to tell our experience within our organization, and therefore, we got to know more about each other and their organizations. We shared dances and some fantastic games that we can now use in our youth groups. We also took part in a group treasure hunt around the city of Reykjavik, which taught us many interesting facts about Iceland and its historical places. It was an enjoyable experience where youths with different nationalities worked together to complete the tasks.
Another amazing activity which we had to plan was the all-night activity, where we were divided into groups and each group was in charge of a particular activity, such as crafts, active games, cooking, competition … Therefore, each group had to plan and organize activities for teenagers for the night. Through the night we also had four 30 minute sessions of prayers and reflections. Although most of us were very tired we all had a great time in this activity and it was a wonderful experience which we won’t forget.
Who ever thought that one week could leave such an impact on our lives?
But it did, and we plan to pass on all that we have learned on this course to other youths.
Anthea Caruana, Annushka Falzon and Ryan Delia