As a part of the project "Growing leaders, growing change: Green city youth “, we had three unforgettable weeks at Suderbyn. Suderbyn is an intentional community, ecovillage and NGO involving open-minded people from various countries and cultures, located on the island Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea, working internationally for environmental and social regeneration.
It’s impossible to go to Astrid Lindgren’s world and not have your trip look like a fairytale. It all started at Tbilisi International Airport. The plane which was waiting for us was colorfully painted. Flying was full of emotions, because it was our first flight.
After a long flight we arrived at Arlanda Airport near Stockholm at noon. There we met our mentor Lars. We had a long trip ahead from the main land to Gotland. Since our ferry was in the evening, we had some hours left for museums and sightseeing.
Stockholm is a very interesting place for us. We met Krishna prayers, they were singing and dancing in the street. After walking through the old town Gamla Stan, we ended up in the Medieval Museum. An underground museum showing everyday life in Medieval Stockholm. Second, the Museum of Mediterranean culture. Here we enjoyed the treasures of ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. Interestingly, these museums were free for tourists. The most pleasant was an organ concert in the Saint Clara church. In the evening, we had the ferry trip to Gotland, where our Suderbynian family members were waiting for us.
It’s hard to describe these three unforgettable weeks. There were people from all over the world. They were connected as open-mind beings. During this phase, we got new experiences, knowledge and relationships. Here is a short summary of our journey.
First week was about getting to know Suderbinians and Suderbyn. To know our self, our place in this community. On Friday, we had a Georgian traditional evening with music, food and dancing, a good opportunity to introduce our self and our culture.
From the first Monday we took part in daily activities and workshops. Monday is a special day at Suderbyn. During the Monday morning meeting Suderbynians plan
their whole week. The meeting starts with sharing their feelings. In what mood they are, why they are feeling the way they do. Family matter is also important. They go over what is left from past week and what kind of work has to be done during this week. This is work such as: the building of a green house, gardening, social projects, office work and organization management. Then, these areas are divided into responsibilities according to competences. Every working day there is at least one person responsible for the lunch which takes place around noon. In the weekends this is less organized although every Sunday morning start with a delicious breakfast with pancakes and jam.
During our stay in Gotland, the first excursion was to Visby. It is a very nice town from the medieval era with colorful houses and modern shops. We visited Astrid Lindgren’s House Museum, where the story about Pippi Longstocking was born. We made a trip to the Gotland Museum and saw the fantastic exhibitions and history of Gotland. At the end of the day we visited our family member Ingrid and had a delicious dinner at her apartment.
The next week was full of adventures. We were challenged to ride a bicycle and a skate board. We experienced a night out in Visby, feeling the rhythm of Visby nightlife. On Sunday we decided to go to Visby hitchhiking. It seems that Swedish drivers are not as easy going as Georgian drivers, but still we made it. We took some photos and closed the day attending a concert in the Almedalen library.
During these three weeks we have been actively involved in the community life. Taking part in organic farming and green house management were new experiences to us. We gained knowledge on composting and about recycling, upcycling, workshops and vegan cooking. Pati hosted an Acro-Yoga workshop. And we improved our skills in English, project management and many informal guidelines, that will be helpful for the implementation of our project.
These three weeks are a bit like the growing of tomatoes, which we have planted here. It was sprouted and has enhanced the desire of growing and improving skills.
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