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PS20 - The Group

Here we are in Wabrzezno preparing for a presentation.

After we gave the presentation, we split up and went into different classrooms to talk about what we were doing.

en route to the activity centre, Marcin follows in his car.

Here we are at the activity centre, where Ashley and Dima worked. They had us over there for a mini-concert, a tour, and dancing. These people really knew how to have fun. The attitudes at this place were very positive and encouraging. Here, Ashley is leading a rendition of "Hewwo, Goodbye." =)

And here we are in the crafts lab...

Woah. This thing had my attention for quite some time. You know how much I like maps...

I think Cedrick did something the whole group had been wanting to do whenever they saw my camera. =)

This dance was loads of fun.

We were once asked to draw an idealized Polish city (as Yulia once remarked when we were making idealized communities in Grande Prairie using paper plates and raw pasta, "if I told my friends in Ostroh what I was doing today, they wouldn't believe me."), so this is my half-finished result. The circles are roundabouts and the thin dotted line around the middle of the centre of the town is an ancient wall. It's still standing, so there are only a limited number of ways in our out, etc.. etc.. Hmm. This is a drawing I probably could have spent a lot more time with, but time was limited then.

Ashley said, "Dude, you seriously missed your calling," which led me to rectify my educational path a little bit. I probably won't ever be a bona-fide designer of any sort under the sun, but I really should be pursuing a passion. I don't know; I'm kind of ambivalent about all this right now.

That design is totally fanciful; if the land is as flat as the lie of the ring road makes it look, the city walls would have been razed by invading forces long ago. This problem facing the Slavic nations is not unique to my little drawing. =)

And here we are at the Rink-Weis disco in Wieldzadz, a very hip and very infamous disco, for it was built in an old church. For my Nova Scotian readers, imagine a disco in, say, Stewiacke, that people would come from all over the province to go to. That's sort of what this is like.

We took this picture, printed it, and put it on a poster in exchange for free cover. T'was much appreciated, thanks.

The disco itself was something else. It was enormous, like the Dome, but with style and without central heating. (When you go to church in Poland, you keep your coats on!) We had our own private room and everything.

It felt... different.

One day we had a food-bank CAD*:

(* - Community Activity Day)

One of the problems in rural Poland is high unemployment, which is at least partially the result of the collapse of the large communist farms. Large apartment buildings like these were built in the countryside so that many people could live and work on the farms. It's easy to imagine they put too many people out here, though, because now that the farms are privately owned, they employ like a hundredeth of the people that were employed before. So now you've got massive rural unemployment and underemployment, and the kids seem to be moving to the cities. It's to solve this problem that the Rual Development Foundation exists. They recognize that most of the economy is in small-to-medium size businesses and they try to encourage entrepreneurship whereever they can.

I found this calendar inside the local work club. This is the gas station in Pluznica, which for Canada wouldn't be remarkable, except that in Poland the gas stations sell alcohol and have rooms where you can smoke and socialize. Since we were never inside, I can't tell you anything more than that.

Here we are transferring a load of powdered milk from another van into our van.

A street in one of these rural communities.

A horse stable and paddock, shot through a rainy van window.

A mural on the community centre a few kilometres south of Pluznica.

Here we are enjoying some kind of educational activity. I think this room is permanently seared in my memory.

Monika and Justyna, Marcin's sister.

We even hosted the Canadian Ambassador to Poland! That's him in the centre of the back row.

One day we went around to nearby communities to take a survey:

These two dogs should have their own cartoon show. The one on the left would run around in circles at the end of its chain. It looked too stupid to be worth worrying about. But the one on the right would periodically and instantly lunge to the end of its chain and bark at me at a pitch normally reserved for earthquakes.

As a guidebook said, "Poles are very fond of their dogs and some are meaner and uglier than others."

But I never had a problem with dogs, because there were fences. By that I mean I was never bitten; I was scared shitless every day by this huge german-shepherd-like beast that lived on our street that liked to silently watch me in the dark until I was right in front of him and then bark and leap and basically make me feel welcome on the street, but I was never bitten. =)

The fields are just goregous here. And the soil is practically black, it's so fertile.

Our survey took us into another one of the farm communities - here's the local work club and convienience store.

One of the aforementioned farms.

We went to the Lisewo gymnasium on the day before Valentine's Day to attend a benefit concert; we watched Polish dancers, Love Actually, and then the concert. It was a lot of fun.

Announcing Roma, Live At Lisewo!

I think we're acting something out, but I'm not sure what.

As you can see, we had group time up the wazoo, which made us much more appreciative of the time we could spend alone or with our families. Actually, I got that in spades when I was sick. =)

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