Training Course in Ivory Coast

Training Course Ivory Coast_1
The journey takes 3 planes to make. 4 countries. 22 hours. 30 minutes for luggage arrival. 15 minutes police station 4 visa. It is 5.37am. 10 minutes to get to minibus. 5.58am checkpoint. 5.59am all I see is shacks, shacks, shacks. 6.18am arrival at residence. 6.19am trainer greets us. 6.27am setting up peppi’s mosquito net. Sleep. Tomorrow it continues. 1 training seminar. 7 days in Ivory Coast left.

The sound of bird chirping knock me from dreaming into reality. My eyes open up slowly to a view that takes me back to India. For a moment I picture children with bright black eyes and a smile that melts your heart. I stop myself from dreaming again and tell myself that it’s time to get ready. But I stay in bed and think of the night before I started the journey. I find myself dreaming of Malta. I stop myself and make an effort to get my feet moving. I open up the window and again think of India. It is so similar. That breath taking view, the palm trees, the greenery, the soil. I pinch myself and reiterate Ivory Coast, Cote D’Ivoire, Ivory Coast.

Car Wash in Aid of SPYS Ghana Projects

Car Wash 2009_16
On Saturday 25 July, six volunteers going to Ghana through SPYS this summer coordinated a car wash at the GS Superstore in Naxxar whereby the nice sum of €791 was collected to support projects that will be held in Ashaiman-Tema and in Sunyani.

Avoiding the grueling heat outside with the carwash organized at the GS Carpark, the spirit and enthusiasm of the whole SPYS team was evident and made the event a successful one.

Belgian Playgrounds: An Unforgettable Two Weeks

Group EVS Belgium 2009_6
Going to Belgium was truly an amazing experience. Bernard Briffa and I worked at the Belgian playgrounds for 2 weeks and it is an experience which, I’m sure, we will keep in our hearts forever. We first met with some other international volunteers along with Belgian trainers to spend a weekend together in order to be introduced to the playgrounds. We got to learn some Belgian games, the Dutch language and traditions along with some sessions in order for us to be familiar with Belgian playgrounds.

After that weekend all together, we got sent to our playgrounds to start off the week. Bernard and I went to Oud Heverlee in Leuven; a beautiful and well-kept playground. The animators were very welcoming and helpful. They tried to speak English as much as they can and, if that was not possible, we always had someone to translate for us.

Summer Camp in Slovakia: A Remarkable Experience

Slovakia Camp 2009 1
Visiting Slovakia was a remarkable experience for me mostly because I was alone visiting a country where English language is still a barrier. The team of animators in Slovakia were fully prepared and very organized for the Summer Camp which took place in the Salesian Oratory in Mamateyca.

On arrival I was already greeted by my host family and immediately visited the oratory where I met most of the team already. Everyone at the salesians was very welcoming and so they made me feel at home immediately. From my end I made efforts to give my support in every activitity even if cleaning floor, windows or simply cheering up the children during games.

Group EVS: Great IDEA took a very hot start

Group Photo
During the hot weekend of 3 to 5 July, the welcoming weekend for the volunteers of the Group EVS Great IDEA took place in Belgium. Volunteers from 5 countries out of the network arrived after many delays safe and sound in the Oase center in Groot-Bijgaarden. Nadine Borg and Bernard Briffa are amongst the volunteers.

The weekend was organised to give all volunteers an introduction with Belgium and with Salesian playgrounds in Flanders. Next to the traditional food (chocolats, fries, ...), the volunteers were also introduced in the typical Belgian playground games and the Dutch language.

After an amazing weekend together, on sunday all volunteers were brought two by two to the playgrounds where they are involved during the next two weeks. Next weekend there will be a more relaxing and cultural weekend in Brussels together with the volunteers of Jeugddienst Don Bosco and during the last weekend July 17-18, there will be a final evaluation with the volunteers & a concluding evening in Leuven.

SPYS & Friends: Kick-Off Summer BBQ

SPYS & Friends kicked-off summer 2009 with their Annual BBQ on the 3rd of July. Around 50 youth joined in the activity which was based on the theme of friendship. The evening started off with some ice-breaking activities and was followed by a reflection moment on the beach, where those in attendance had time reflect on the friendships they have and be thankful for them. Part of the reflection consisted of a touching story which brought to reality that not every one may have friends & we should help those who don’t.

SPYS.int: Send Off Activity

Send Off_4
1 July saw SPYS.int's preparation sessions for the 2009 volunteering projects come to a fitting end with the traditional send off activity. The group of volunteers, together with close family members, friends, and fellow SPYS and SPYS.int members, met in Selmun, where Mass was celebrated by Fr Paul and animated by members of the Footsteps group. A video presentation of the journey covered in the preparation sessions was shown, and each of the volunteers was presented with a symbolic cross and a postcard of Sieger Köder's The Puppeteer painting of Don Bosco.

Induction Course April 2009

SPYS Induction 2009_5
Being a dynamic group of young volunteers, SPYS keeps growing slowly but steadily. Throughout the past year, several individuals have offered their help in organizing and being part of activities organized by the SPYS team. After having seen and felt the enthusiasm brought in by the same individuals, a preparatory course was held for those interested in being part of the team, and to get a clearer picture of how the organization works.

SPYS on u30

Prepared to Volunteer?

Already in it's fourth year running, SPYS.int is the visionary international arm of SPYS which continues to develop, grow and shape, offering young people the opportunity to do something meaningful through volunteering abroad. SPYS' core belief is "from youths to youths" and SPYS.int does exactly that - young people promoting a holistic experience to other young people through various preparation sessons spread over six months, during which the volunteers receive the necessary formation which prepares them for their Salesian volunteering experience in various countries around the world.