Bryan Contreras, a volunteer from Spain sharing his experience of spending the day with Roma children from Imaginatorium alternative education centre in Gracanica. Some 30 kids and relatives come to join on the second day of BREfest – Sharr is more than snow – nature gathering in Brezovica ski resort, Kosovo. 

Picture to remember the moment of BREfest 2017. Photo credit: Polina Raynova

On the second day of BREfest we had a „Do-it-yourself“ workshops, which involved a printing press machine, a sewing activity, recycling art, and mask painting. We, the EVS volunteers, were preparing these calm, relaxing and quiet activities, when all of a sudden, an earthquake-tsunami-volcano sound erupted: Roma children from „Imaginatorium“ had arrived to BREfest.

Photo credit: Aleksandra Hiltmann

At first, I was worried that I would not be able to interact with them, or find a way to approach them, but I discovered that my fears were unfounded: they started interacting with us and approaching us. They introduced themselves, wanted to know our names, what we were doing, and wanted to play with us.

Bryan and the children… Photo credit: Polina Raynova

After a while, what had been just a loud gaggle began to be a group formed by different and unique children: a small shy kid who loved being at BREfest with his brother; a strong and cheerful girl with her funny and inseparable companion; a little cute troublesome kid; a clownish boy; a lovely, cute, smiley little girl; a grown mature little man who was really talented at singing. I could go on, they were all so unique.

Imagination is everything; Photo credit: Polina Raynova

They brought a lot of happiness, passion and joy to BREfest: although we were worried about their energy, we didn’t expect it to be as huge as it was. We tried our best to keep up with their rhythm, and helped them to have a great time at BREfest, but we also had the magic word „Polako, polako“, in case we needed to calm them down.

Who has the most energy? Photo credit: Polina Raynova

During the preceding days we were preparing different activities for the kids, but it turned out that they have too much energy so not everything went according to plan. We had to improvise a lot but liked going with the flow.

Sewing workshop. Photo credit: Polina Raynova

When the evening came, everyone’s face was painted and new friends were made: we prepared a little scenario for listening to music and dancing in a circle with them, sharing a last beautiful moment to end a long and fulfilling day. The moment everyone didn’t want to come, finally arrived: time to say goodbye. Tears in our eyes while they were screaming our names. Handshakes, kisses and hugs were exchanged to finally wrap up the gift these Roma childen brought us by coming to BREfest.

Kids experiencing the music and art of Capoeira Angola; photo credit: Aleksandra Hiltmann

Bryan and 17 other young people from around Europe joined a short-term EVS “All colours of Sharr mountain”, part of Thinking like a mountain… project, financially supported by Erasmus+ programme of the EU.