One per day.One per week.One per year.

During all the activities we are doing in our project, in one of the first evaluation meetings we got the task “ONE PER DAY”, witch means we had to do something for 30 days every day and that should describe our day. Either taking pictures, writing  down quotes, collecting things or drawing, we needed to challenge our selves to not forget about the task and do it every day.

So i decided to draw. I call my project ” 30×30 NOTHING”. Why nothing? At the beginning i thought that it would be cool, because i heard about a lot of artists doing this, that they draw one picture per day for whole year. Well, I admire their patience, because i was too lazy, to that every day. That is  why my project ended like something of nothing or nothing of something.

This was first drawing i made. That was 8th of October and it was first time, when we, volunteers, took some several  bus stops before our stop and had a little walk. Some strange man started to talk with us, that the moon is in the stage, when you can wish something and it will happen. Or maybe he sad something else, I am not sure, because that time my Russian language skills was just at the beginning.

But most of the days in my project where like this:

But some of the days I was not so lazy. Click on the pictures and read description to understand, why exactly  i draw  those things you can see in them.

And the one, witch others liked the most. I just had a picture with empty trolley and i decided that it is no true. There are no empty trolleys or buses in Donetsk. They are always full. And i corrected this picture with my super-cool PAINT skills!

I think one day i will try to do again “One per day” drawing, because it is interesting after that to look back and see if there is any changes. But lets be truth – i don’t think i can do that, although my drawings will never also be just one per year. One per inspiration.


With love,


Intergeneration Dialogue – Part 2: Four weeks in Ukraine


All six foreign volunteers from the project survived the first four weeks in Donetsk. And yes, I wrote four weeks and not one month on purpose. Many things can still happen before we manage to be alive and breathing the whole first month in this God-forsaken land.

I kid you, dear readers, of course. Donetsk is actually a very nice city. I cannot talk for my five colleagues, but I can surely say that I expected that my adaptation to this foreign land, so different from Portugal, my home country, would be much more difficult. The local people seem much nicer than I expected. What I can tell from my experience so far is that if you approach them on the streets, even if you can’t speak very well (or nothing at all) the local language, they will still strive to try to explain what you want to know. All in Russian, of course. And if you understand absolutely nothing of what they are saying, there is no problem. They will explain it in a different way. Still in Russian. Or in Ukrainian. Which is also not very helpful. There are also some cases when the person that makes the approach is one of the locals. In many cases, several minutes after you told them the magic sentence “я не понимаю” (I don’t understand), they are still rambling about something. In general, Donetsk locals are very pleasant people. Unless… you get into a full bus with them. In that case, for example, that nice old lady on the streets transforms herself into a fat lump of grumpiness and dispair. That cute gril that smiled when you winked at her on the bus stop becomes the most cruel-looking and cold woman you ever saw in your life. And she also seems to like to hurt everybody arround her with her pointy elbows. The fat guy. Oh, don’t get me started on the random fat guy that always walks into the crowded bus with us or is already there… waiting for us. He just occupies a LOT of space in the bus. And he steps on your toes. Way too many times. Like everybody else.

But no harm done. So far we’ve survived the bus trips and it is worth it. With more or less complications, we are starting to work on our projects, we are getting each passing day more acquainted with the local environment and the local people. Sometimes we meet other volunteers, foreign and local ones, from DYDC and even another organizations. We are starting to build our social life in Donetsk. And, most importantly, we know that when we have serious problems, caused by some outside source or even when we simply screw up very badly, we have our extremely nice mentors to guide and help us in any complicated situation. ^^

In conclusion: we are still alive Donetsk! And we are ready to experience everything you have planned for us!

Do your worst!

(Don’t do your worst… please…)






A Ukrainian insight: Odessa, Lvov and Donetsk

Кто лучше и красивейшая в мире?

I heard this sentence in Odessa, or better say that I caught it from a not so much incomprehensible speech as expected. And no, it was not in the street. It was stated by the evil character in a White Snow performance for children. At the Opera House. Definitely, Odessa is a cool and cultural city, perhaps the most one in Ukraine. Its singular history is very noticeable for those curious people that wonder about the names of the streets. Founded by Tsarina Catherine the Great in 1794 as a way to open the Russian Empire to new naval routes in the Mediterranean Sea through the Black Sea, the old quarter of the city pays tribute to some of the most famous governors it had. Jos? de Ribas and Richelieu have commemorative streets in the city centre, being especially crowded Deribasovskaya street, full of caf?s, restaurants and shops.

The Catacombs are considered the largest in Europe, with more than 2000 kilometres of not always connected tunnels under the city. They were greatly helpful to the brave Soviet soldiers who decided to fight the Nazi invasion of the country during the Second World War. Before that, they were used by smugglers to make pass prohibited products through the severe laws of the time. Many people still think that when catacombs were fiercely closed after 2nd WW, many treasures remained all along them, encouraging the bravest adventurers to secretly enter them with the promise of a better living thanks to its discovering.

However, perhaps the most beautiful city in Ukraine is Lvov. Its fascinating history confers a special status to this city. It was once possession of Poland, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russia, which is clearly visible in its buildings and urban design. Just walking along its paved streets is a gift for everyone’s eyes, and the most relaxed attitude of its inhabitants incites to a long stop at any of its endless amount of cheap caf?s to admire the beauty of its panorama and the easy-going walking of people.

Cultural and beautiful cities, so, that cannot, however, beat ours. Donetsk, with almost no cultural offer in comparison to Odessa, and far away from Lvov’s beauty, nice avenues and parks, means a totally different thing. City of miners, working people live here, so the attitude of its inhabitants is more rushing, faster, with no time to stop and gaze at the particularly charming places it offers. A totally different philosophy about how life should be, stereotypes about the rudeness of its people are just so, stereotypes. Everyone who has ever worked in Raduga, schools or Shiroki knows that you can also find nice people here, where marshrutkas’ drivers seem to be aggressive, feeling that they are doing a favour to you when they yell the name of your bus stop, can also be very cooperative, helpful and polite when asking kindly for 50 kopeks to make giving your change when paying much easier. For our new volunteers coming this week, whom I will introduce to you very soon, I would recommend to enjoy the diversity of Ukraine to better understand the differences of its people, and to let that the rhythm of the city traps them to understand why everything is moving so fast. Only then you will be able to enjoy the stops.

Bye for now,



Тренинг в Баку “The story of story” закончился, мы вернулись довольные, счастливые и одухотворенные! Было мало!:)

Азербайджан! “The Lend of Fire!” Совершенно невероятная страна!

Проект подарил нам незабываемую неделю сентября, полную общения, приключений, новых знаний и открытий. Так, что. пожалуй, все впечатления не уложишь в один короткий рассказ. Однозначно это было здорово!

Ниже – моя десятка небольших наблюдений, которые я, надеюсь, сумеют хотя бы немного приоткрыть занавес “тонкой” восточной жизни, или мои рендомные зарисовки. Итак…

Бакинская 10-ка
1. В Баку все довольно-таки дорого (1 манат = 1 евро).
2. Планы меняются каждые две минуты – просто расслабься и получай удовольствие! Ты в Азербайджане! Для многих понятия «быть вовремя» просто не существует – и это нормально.
3. Быть женщиной в Баку все еще приятно – вам уступят место в транспорте, помогут донести тяжелую сумку, откроют входную дверь и т.д. Мы уже отвыкли от такого отношения к себе, поэтому чаще всего шарахаемся в ожидании подвоха.
4. Правила дорожного движения – это sucks, это для слабаков. Здесь ты едешь, как хочешь и как можешь! Поэтому городской трафик – это взрыв мозга.
5. Соседство старых совдеповских зданий с супер навороченными архитектурными шедеврами «аля Дубаи» порождает когнитивный диссонанс. Иногда кажется что это все просто too much!
6. 300 гостей – бедненькая свадьба.
7. В Баку никто не любит котиков:( Это вам не Стамбул. Да и вообще домашних животных мало кто держит, относятся к ним достаточно прохладно.
8. Тут можно быть сказочно богатым, но чаще ты сказочно беден (как и у нас, в принципе). Уровень коррупции очень родной и понятный всем нам.
9. Много контрастов, много всего внахлест, но при этом город живет размеренной флегматичной жизнью. Все повторяется по одному и тому же сценарию каждый день и день ото дня – и это норма жизни.
10. Да и вообще! Баку это город из серии – не попробуешь, не узнаешь:)

 Понамарева Ольга, участник тренинга “The Story of Story” (Baku, Azerbaijan, 03-10/09/2013).



Photo Exhibition

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera”. The quote is from Dorothea Lange, an American photographer and journalist. She is famous for her influential Depression-era work. Her photographs showed the consequences, at a human level, of the Great Depression in the United States.

Photography is also interesting to Debate Centre. The idea came up to Aija’s mind, our Latvian volunteer. In her words: “I’m happy that we could carry out this idea. For me the biggest challenge was, and still is, communication in Russian language with people interested in this event. I’ve already lived in Donetsk for 8 months, and I think that this city has soul. So I thought it could be a good idea to show it through pictures, but the truth is that I’m not good at photography, so we decided to ask help to those people who can do it better”.

We decided to establish a deadline for people interested to send their photos on the topic “One Donetsk, different generations”. After deadline, we uploaded all the pictures we received to our Facebook and VKontakte profiles, so that people could vote for their favourite ones. After this deadline was met, Aija and Monika selected the 35 most-voted photos, printed them and, after dealing with local council to get permission and were allowed to, they began real photo exhibition.

From Thursday to Sunday, in three consecutive weeks, photos are available for everyone interested in different places in Donetsk. From 15th to 19th August they were in Park Shervakova. Last week Bulvar Pushkina was the chosen place. And this week you can still visit us in the Park of Metal Figures from 29th August to 1st September. Together with photo exhibition, we are also organizing other activities, as origami and painting sessions (feel free to join us tomorrow), and Polish language, whose lessons have moved, every Saturday, to the place photo exhibition is showed that week.

I visited myself exhibition last 24th August, precisely on the Day of Independence of Ukraine, so there were also extra activities organized by city council, I guess. I walked along all Bulvar Pushkina while I was waiting for Aija and Monika. At some point I gazed at Pushkin’s bust, which seemed to solemnly observe the cheerful crowd walking around its place. The innocent passing-by of people, who wandered round the endless amount of food, cold drinks and handicraft stands, was enlivened by the joy of many children, singing and dancing under a harsh sun. They were performing traditional Ukrainian dances worn in typical Ukrainian costumes, and coordinated by a tense, sharp-featured woman. You could feel that if performance was successful, it will only depend on her.

Ten minutes later Aija and Monika finally came round there, and began to hang photos. Even within the process of doing so, some people already got interested and approached us to better examine some of the pictures. Maybe we did not use camera as an instrument to teach us how to see without it, nor participants in our exhibition did, but we tried, and are successful, to get people involved in the important self-reflection process of re-considering the city we live in to re-think it and re-discover it. Maybe this way nothing ever ends…

Bye for now,


On-arrival training!

Hi everyone once again. Today Paula, one of the new Polish volunteers, wants to tell you about their experience at on-arrival training. Here’s her story:

Walking through Kiev…

For us on-arrival training was a really great adventure. The first amazing thing is a place of it – Slavske. It’s a little town hidden in Carpathian Mountains. This place is about 1300 km far from Donetsk, so we spent amazing 24 hours in the train. We were travelling at night and during the day we stopped in Kiev to sightsee. We found the city center really beautiful and rich. We’ve seen two monasters and Olimpic stadium. Wanted to see the Museum of Great Patriotic War but by accident we’ve seen the flower exhibition of the anniversary of christianization of Kievan Rus. Poor one! Really. Don’t go there and don’t waste 25 UAH. Then another 12 hours in train and we got out in Slavske.

The training lasted 5 days. We started with introducing ourselves and presenting our projects by painting the flags. We talked about AXA’s insurance and problems with visa. The training contained also workshops about intercultural learning and conflict solving. After the last one we actually found out that in fact we have no problem with our project and organization because we had nothing to talk about during this workshop while the other volunteers had really tough issues. There was also time for our own classes. Even Ola conducted one about dividing into groups.

We really enjoyed the training in Slavske. All the trainers were very nice and opened for our needs. We can’t forget about a food because there was a lot of it. Have to say that it was delicious one; ) The other thing that we are really grateful for was a trip to mountains. Going by railway for some volunteers was a very tough one. Particularly for these who are scared of hight. Last but not least, we like all or almost all volunteers that we met in Slavske. They are great people doing their EVS mainly in Ukraine but also in Belarus and Moldova. Greetings to all!

Then during the rainy night we got into the train to Odessa to see this beautiful city and to finally after two days of journey set ourfoots on Donetsk soil….

The wasted time

Summer is sometimes called a time for resting, enjoying and relaxing. Life seems to stop. Suddenly we cannot remember the day of the week, and yesterday, today and tomorrow lack sense. We have to concentrate if we got some rain in the last days and check in Internet, 21st century’s compass, to somehow guess which day we are living today.

For those who study at University, doing final exams is the last and most unpleasant contribution to their studies every year. After having been exposed to everyday routines for at least 9 months, we can see summer as Paradise, where astonishingly all our desires come true. After 2 or 3 weeks, however, the lack of routine, paradoxically, sinks us more and more into a dizzy state of confusion and boredom.

We promise ourselves that we will start something new. We swear that from tomorrow we will show interest in any cool stuff, just to kill endless, hot daylight hours. But our oath falls on deaf ears, and we keep not doing the same things. Tedium, emptiness are filling our lives, as cypress branch shadow casting over the bright pond that, only few weeks before, reflected our smiling countenance, full of hope and brilliant plans.

If you feel a little bit like that, we have the perfect cure… come to Debate Centre! Learn Polish, Spanish, enjoy films in movie night and participate in Discussion club while practicing English. Come into contact with our foreign volunteers, open yourself to new experiences: enjoy an international summer!

Break your routine of not having routine by attending our fixed activities:

-          Spanish course for beginners every Monday at 6:30 pm.

-          Discussion club, conducted by Aija, our nice Latvian volunteer, where nowadays and controversial topics are discussed every Wednesday at 6:30 pm.

-          Movie night, already a tradition in Debate Centre, is held every Thursday at 6 pm. Come and enjoy every kind of films, often linked by a common subject.

-          Speaking club in Spanish for advanced learners. Come and practice the language of Cervantes every Saturday at midday.

-          Summer course of Polish language, where you can meet our new volunteers, taking turns to teach you this beautifully complicated language.

Apart from this, we organize temporary activities, like Documentary movie night at local bars in Donetsk, or Photo Exhibition. Of course, you are very welcome to propose something interesting to our volunteers.

Bye for now,


New volunteers

Hi again!

As promised, in this entry we would like to briefly introduce new volunteers to you. “Intergeneration Dialogue” team is definitely gone, but only 1 or 2 days after, new volunteers, all from Poland, arrived to Donetsk, where they will deal with children in playgrounds and continue somehow with previous work in Raduga and Polish Community.

Their arrival to Donetsk was not perfect. Jorge and Aija, apart from some mentors, went to the airport to pick them up, not without waiting 45 minutes for lovely 73a bus. In a rainy and windy day, our delay was not important in the end, because flight from Kiev was also delayed. Once at the airport, we waited for them at the entrance, where mentors were standing, eager to meet them and offer typical Ukrainian hospitality: sharing bread and salt, and drinking a shot of vodka. Then Aija lead some Polish to Kirova and Jorge to Karpinskogo.

In all, they are six volunteers, and here they go:


Kuba                      Oleksandra              Paula


Sylwia                        Alan                   Sebastian

After this first, busy day and a deserved rest either in Kirova or Karpinskogo, they all came to office last Tuesday, where they were introduced to flat rules and were asked their objective or aim for the project. In the afternoon, Axel started a basic but indispensable Russian workshop on how to survive in Donetsk. This included how to manage when in marshutka, how to make them stop or how to survive in the supermarket. 

On Wednesday they had to overcome street game so that they could know more about Donetsk and get used to the city and its peculiarities, but we will check how they managed in the next entry: we had too much excitement for today!

Bye for now,


Farewell Party

Hi again!

It is almost two weeks that our lovely and sadly already former volunteers from Intergeneration Dialogue project started leaving Ukraine, but before we had time to say goodbye to them in “Home, sweet Home”, a chic caf? in Donetsk. 

Previously our volunteers had to overcome a series of individual challenging proofs within a street game that our staying volunteers and coordinators prepared to make them active before relaxing in the caf?. These proofs included asking for a postcard in post office, which was funny because it involved checking Russian language skills to survive to not very nice staff. We also made them pass a Spanish tongue twister, order some food in Ukrainian at Liverpool, take a picture with a dog and give random people a massage in Bulvar Pushkina. The situations were especially planned for those of our volunteers who had more difficulties to deal with them, so we had a very good time observing how they tried to overcome these funny moments.

Then we went to “Home, sweet home”, where coordinators, mentors, Russian teachers and friends of Debate Centre were already waiting for us. After a cooling, tasteful iced tea and a piece of cake, Axel, especially dressed for this cause in a fashionable suit, and Aija, the only Intergeneration Dialogue volunteer who will be with us during the summer, conducted a remarkable soir?e where our leaving volunteers had to show their talent. Some of them showed how good they were at speaking Russian, some of them sang and danced, or made a nice speech to thank for the moments and experience that are, unfortunately, already gone.

At the end of the meeting, coordinators gave presents to volunteers – commemorative t-shirts on surviving EVS in Ukraine, and to mentors. 

But life goes on, and last Monday our group of 6 new volunteers arrived from Poland. We will introduce them to you very soon.

Bye for now,


Origami street action

After our previous and successful street actions delivering origami (hearts on14th of February and tulips on 8th of March), last 6th of June some of our volunteers did it again with paper elephants from all over Бульвар Пушкина on the way to Крытый Рынок. It was for a good reason: Children’s Day. This day is celebrated every 1st of June in Ukraine, and it began in 1954 as a way of drawing attention and promoting welfare of the world’s children.

Origami was not such important as the reason why we decided to remind people about this day. We think that Children’s Day is important because most of us work with kids or teenagers at school, and we see that in some of them, conditions are not good enough to provide students with a nice environment to study and develop their skills. Qualified education is non-negotiable when dealing with breaking stereotypes, developing critical thinking and letting people decide for themselves; and to us these three things are absolutely essential.

Streets were not so much crowded because it was hot outside, but still we could find some people from Donetsk enjoying spring weather, walking or having a drink to refresh. Some of the pedestrians accepted this symbolic present, some of them were quite surprised of being “hounded” by our volunteers when the only thing they were doing (for God’s sake) was walking! But anyway very few of them refused the origami, and we achieved our goal: attract people’s attention for a good cause. We also chose elephants because in Asian culture it symbolizes happiness, longevity and good luck – what we also wanted to wish to the 66 lucky people that got one of our origami last 6th June.

 By delivering these elephants we also wanted to make people aware of the possibility to spend time with our international volunteers as well as local people who collaborate with us; which means a great chance to be in contact with other ways of living and thinking within a non-formal education environment.

Bye for now.