Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Finnish Sponsors' trip

Part of the Finnish (Fida) project is a Child Sponsorship Program which Ljilja (my housemate) is responsible for here in Banja Luka. Fida organises a trip every year to one of the countries that are supported by the Finns, so that the sponsors who want to, have an opportunity to visit the country that their child is from and also meet up with their sponsored child. This year, Bosnia and Albania were the destinations for the sponsor trip. Ljilja was responsible for organising the Bosnian leg of the trip and did a fantastic job!

My responsibility was to take the sponsors around Banja Luka and show them the sights and give them the history of the city, etc... so on Monday afternoon I played tour guide to the group of 16 Finns. I used to do this tour with all my teams, but most young people get bored after the first 3 sights, so I started doing a "scavenger hunt" for them, which meant they went around town finding out about the history from passersby, and thus doing their own tour...and they all enjoy this MUCH more. But this group (who being able to sponsor children means they are generally older) was really interested and loved hearing all the details, so my years of practice at doing this came in handy :) Here we are in front of the fortress Kastel:
On Tuesday, after saying goodbye to the Ukrainians in the morning it was all systems go for the program for the sponsors. The sponsored children were all invited, even though not all of their sponsors were there. Here are the sponsors seated in front of Ihtus, and enjoying the program:
And what a program... Ljilja managed to organise a local traditional dancing group to come and show the sponsors their stuff. They were so cute:
 Dancing...
 And singing...
We took them out for ice-cream afterwards and they were so happy - should have got a photo of that :) 

For the rest of the program, the sponsored children sang some songs, did a presentation and individual children did poetry reading or accordion playing... Here are the children singing:
At the end we did a group picture with everyone and the games that the sponsors helped to pay for, that we will use on camp. It really was a great morning!
The sponsors are now continuing on their way around Bosnia and onto Albania...

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