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Who were the team - how did they feel?

Let them speak for themselves (and we don't have to wait for Jacqueline now! She has written her report and sent it today, the 31st of May 02007!!!)

Kristina Vaivadaite

About myself:

I have finished Vilnius University and obtained masters degree in psychology last year. Now I work in rather different spheres – there are so many interesting things that I’d like to do. I am project manager in Social and Psychological Aid Foundation, co-ordinator in day care centre for young people using drugs. I also do training for young people, social workers and commercial organisations.

How it was to be a team member of this course:

Hi people from the team!
It's not easy to find words expressing how it was to be with all of you. Generally I can say - it was very special experience for me. Sometimes it was hard, sometimes very comfortable, but always very interesting.In the beginning of the seminar I was in confusion: over there are participants and team, but who am I. Well, I am responsible for all practical things, but I had a feeling that driving, buying food, caring about broken electricity in houses, prevent me from being in team. Not only physically. My mind was occupied with all those practical things, and I remember that sometimes it was difficult to jump into what you were talking about on team meetings.

Then we went hiking and after had a discussion with Dirk and Jacqueline, about which I was very glad. It was very important discussion for me in professional sense. But not only. It was the first time I have had a feeling that we can really listen and understand each other.  Then there was "famous conflict management" as we with Evija call it. I have a feeling that because of the "conflicts" I became closer with all the team and especially with Evija. I found out some things that were important to my work and personal life thanks to the "conflicts" and support, understanding of the team.

Working and being with Bart gave me plenty of space to try and to search for myself. Unbelievably comfortable and safe. Bart opened me possibilities to look at the things in another way.

It was also important for me "to find" Arturas once more.  I knew him quite good before, but it has never been so comfortable with him before. It's just a few moments that come to my mind trying to understand how it was to be with all of you. Finally, working in team I expected to get  many things: knowledge, experience, practise, but I have got even more - stretch of my mind.

Artûras Deltuva
Born in 1970.06.27 in Pakuonis, Lithuania. Clinical psychologist. PhD. Student in Vilnius University. Working as a freelance trainer mostly in youth or other NGO field in national and international level. Doing personality development, social skills training, group dynamic, team building, organisation and project management fields. Director of Social and Psychological Aid Foundation, consultant of National Agency of Youth for Europe in Lithuania, consultant in Council of Europe, Youth Directorate for Long term training course. Member of committee for development of democratic youth structures of European Youth Forum. Member of pool of trainers of European Youth Forum.

Description of my experience

Who could believe - I am a team member with Dirk, Kristina, Evija, Bart and Jacqueline. And even Mark is with us. I am not kidding - for me it is very important and challenging. Mark was one to train me in training for trainer's seminar. It was the first and only training like that for me. So Mark is a bit like guru for me, but at the same time I was very curious what is beyond his funny smile, sarcastic way of talking. I expected to get to know him better. Other people - Evija, Jacqueline, Kristina and especially Dirk - I knew already before. The fact that I already have a lot of experience to work with Dirk made me feel quite comfortable and safe. Real miracle was for me the "coincidence" to work with Bart. I found him as person and professional of very different style from people I met before. And to be honest I was looking for style like that - emotional, very open and sometimes unstructured open for spontaneous things to happen. I felt like he has opened this way or he helped me to use it again, because some time ago it was my favourite way to work. Bart is somebody to let birds to fly.

There were some other miracles for me. Like with Dirk. We were working together already at least like 50 days with something. But it was first time during those 10 days when I started to feel shoulder of him really good - better feeling what he is doing and much better feeling when I do something together with him - much more space for myself. I could call Mark brother and I felt good with it even if he didn't - I didn't ask. I felt much easier to talk or not to talk when it is not necessary with all members of team. Especially with Kristina whom I could call partner and friend at the same time. Generally I could say that we - all of us - met each other on a very personal way. That was the most important for me. I don't know if it fits to protocol - it is more like additional feedback from me. But anyway it is something what I can write for now.

Bart Vertongen

I’m 38 years old, and I live in Mechelen, between Antwerp and Brussels, in a little house with my girlfriend. I have always worked with people. First I became responsible for a youthhouse, then I was involved in a project to prevent hooliganism by the wonderfull footballteam Royal Antwerp Football Club (they’re playing now in second division……). After that I was educator in a center for social disabled and vulnerable youngsters. Then, I did a hike for 4 months with two of these youngsters from Leuven to Santiago de Compostela (yes, I am proud to say we did this 2500 km. by foot !) Then, I was in charge of a team of streetcornerworkers, but finally I became an Outward Bound® trainer. And so I landed in Lithuania. And yes, I loved it !

My personal process in Lithuania as a team member

I remember that I was not really looking forward to going to Lithuania. I was tired and stressed because of other courses I trained and followed as a participant, but mostly I was afraid that I would not fit in the team. I didn’t know if I would be allowed to show the total Bart , which is the only way for me to use my power. I was not convinced of it after our preparation meeting in July. I know that I am a very different person and trainer than Dirk is, and all you people knew Dirk before and so I thought you would expect me to be a trainer as Dirk is, which I can’t be.

But little by little, I got the feeling that I could be the one I am. Especially in the informal moments, and during ‘the real work’, I started to feel comfortable. With Evija, Arturas and Mark during the hike, With Dirk, drinking a beer, preparing the ‘basic theory’. With Christina and Jacqueline during the workshop, during shopping, during hanging on a bridge, trying to cross her from below. And suddenly, I was really a part of the team.
And than there was this bird. This beautiful little bird.
And the question WHY ? And the speed in my brains.
And awareness. A belly on fire.
And Indian stories. And queues of metaphors.
And wonderful people.
It was a gift.

Dirk De Vilder
34 years old, married , father of Laura , I year old
professional life :
* De Wissel : part time job
          Youth care centre for girls between 15 and 18 years old
          project manager
* independent trainer :
   - Outward Bound School : free-lance trainer
   - international training courses for youth workers organised by European Youth Centre, Youth for Europe agencies, training organisations , etc...
Special interests : experiential learning, social exclusion, intercultural learning, teamwork and communication
Hobbies : travelling, having a beer with friends, outdoor activities, ..........

A team member in this course  ...short impression

To work in the team for me was ... challenging, experiential, hard, fun, giving, supportive, satisfactory

Challenging : different experience, different styles, different needs, different ways to express ourselves,......
experiential : we also went through an experiential learning process as a group and as an individual
It made me think a lot about myself, my functioning , to accept myself and to question myself and I’m still going on with that .....
hard : It was sometimes hard to have meetings after a long day working, hard to find a common line, hard to get confronted with yourself and to confront others.....
Fun : It was good to laugh, to drink, to joke and to be serious together
giving : I felt myself often in a giving situation, as a coordinator of the team, as the one who has to support and explain, maybe I took this role too much , who knows ....
supportive : At the other hand I had the feeling that we divided  the tasks quite good, that we helped each other when necessary, not only practical but also emotional......
satisfactory : I 'm very happy with the way we functioned, I’m happy tired and happy sick.

Here some thoughts I found in my book who are for me connected with our team :
"Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee , and just as hard to sleep after "
"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend an acquaintance, or a stranger"
"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out ".

Evija Samsonova

I live in Latvia, in Riga. And I am studying in the University of Latvia, in Faculty of Law. This is my fourth year. But the most of my time I am working in Real Estate company "LATVIJAS NAMI" as a lawyer.

In 1992 I got involved in YWCA/YMCA of Latvia. This organisation has given me really good experience in youth work, as well as, for me personally. At the moment, I am a volunteer and co-ordinator for different projects in YWCA/YMCA of Latvia. And I am 21.


        MICKEY was my first love...
        SAND-PIT was my second love...
        MUSIC was my third love ...
        TANGO was my fourth love...
        ANTONIO BANDERAS, of course, was my fifth love...
        YMCA was my sixth love...
        SAUNA AND COLD WATER AFTERWARDS!!! - was my seventh love..
        RIGA was my eighth love...
        MY LITTLE BROTHER was my ninth love...
        ITALY was my tenth love...
        COWBOYS was my big eleventh love...
        CONTRACT LAW was my twelfth love ...
        TRIPLE CHOCOLATE ICE-CREAM was my thirteenth love...
        MY RUCKSACK was my tender fourteenth love ...
        FROGS was my fifteenth love ...
        DENIS RODMAN was my sixteenth love ...
        MUSHROOMS is my seventeenth love ...
       THIS REPORT is my eighteenth love ...


Now, I have lots of different memories and impressions from the course but before the course, I even could not imagine that I will have so many of them going home.

This was my first time working in international team and I am really glad that I had this opportunity. How was it? It was not easy for me but I have learned a lot. Two "courses of experiential learning" at the same time and completely different roles in each - sometimes it was quite big confusion and many questions in my head - which role to take in certain moment or in which role am I now - team member, trainer or participant or what. The course itself was new experience for me. And being in the team added to course a special meaning for me. Team  meetings late in the evenings made me twice go through each day of the course and every time with another emotions and feelings.

Finally, what I would like to say to the rest of the team is: Arturas, Jacqueline, Dirk, Bart, Kristina and Mark! You know how sometimes we got together and talked and ate and laughed and cried and ate and talked? Can we do that again soon?

Jacqueline Stathi
One day Jacqueline finished the film she was making and then she lived a lot and then one day she decided to write a piece for us here!

Long time no hearing from me and yes I know that I have no excuse for my self. There is although a puzzle piece missing for me at least concerning the “JO-JO HOPLA” Bebrusai training course. Just before I share my reflections on the course and the team; let me congratulate you guys for madzinga excellent job!!!

“Everything that is alive is changing and developing constantly through time and space that it flows”.

It is amazing just to think that how 4 people sitting in the sauna back in 1998 managed to come along with a training course in Lithuania and furthermore as the years went by, more people came along, from different countries with different backgrounds; other courses took place; new experiences…

What can I say…

Kristina, thank you for being always helpful and friendly with a big smile on your face and an excellent hostess giving us so many information about your beautiful country !!!

Evija, (Euboia in greek) the 2nd large island in Greece with both magical forests and wonderful seashores just like Evija with her sense of humor and willing to work and offer; I wish we had another chance to work together!!!

Arturas, he says “vienas” in a different language; I say “enas” and we mean the exact same thing “one”. I wouldn’t expect that two completely different cultures could be so similar by having the same words for the same meaning in their vocabulary. Strange guy at first impression that persuaded me and gave me the opportunity to confront myself by joining the sauna !!!

Bart, the man who gave me “butterflies in my belly” and motivated me to go further with this course although it was the first time I worked in an international team.

Dirk, ok you have a puzzle right? And you are missing just one piece in order to finish it ok? You have looked everywhere but you can’t find it. The thing with Dirk is that he will find it; give it to you BUT just as you think you have already finished the puzzle the very same minute he has convinced you that there are several other ways of making that puzzle and most probably each time a different picture will reveal !!!

Mark, Mr. 3rd eye, Mr. Perfect guy! I have enjoyed our conversations by the lake knowing that Mark was there for all of us both team and participants not only to observe and take notes but to encourage us to go for it and stretch ourselves, our limits in a unique experiential learning process.

Thank you in advance, Kind regards

Zakelina Stathi


"The third eye"
This was the name given to me just after the course had started, otherwise people know me as Mark Taylor. I became a freelance trainer at the beginning of 1993.  Since then I have worked in many European countries for a wide range of organisations, institutions, agencies and businesses. Depending on the needs of the organisers, I may be involved in the planning of course programmes or act as co-ordinator, trainer, supervisor of teams, or general rapporteur. I was not a full member of the team in Bebrusai - I did not give birth to this training course, my role was to be reporter.

How was it to be reporter for this course?

I expected and wanted to learn "things".  This happened, but I got much more.  Working with these people touched me a lot.  Pretending not to be there would have been impossible and I even got the chance to speak sometimes.  The team of Kristina, Dirk, Bart, Jacqueline and Evija gave me the wonderful privilege not only to attend their meetings  but also to give my impressions to them.  With participants I shared many moments of joy, frustration, laughter, conversations, observations - the list goes on and on.  And I learned a hell of a lot about experiential learning from them all - maybe it will be possible for me to make the dream concrete and combine it with intercultural learning in the future!

The day after getting home I wrote this to a great friend of mine.  Maybe some bits of that letter can show what it was like:

"Lithuania was scary/scarey, emotional, huge bouts of joy, tears, frogs and loads of other things too magical to describe now.  (Verena [my wife] told me last night that I looked like I had just come out of a sauna - tired, but good tired, not drained tired as I often look after a training course). A turning point in my life.  That's the scary/scarey part: how to handle it all?....

Will write more when I've been able to rationalise things a bit more.  But here's one part of it:
One of the trainers is a guy from Vilnius I've known since the end of 96 when he attended a training course I was working on near Barcelona.  We felt an immediate connection. His name is Arturas and his nickname is Paukstis which means bird in Lithuanian.  I've wanted to work with him for ages and ages and then this chance to be reporter came up.  (The pay is s§*!, but I knew somehow that I needed to go).

Throughout the course there were all sorts of metaphors / symbols / coincidences / magical stories which together were part of a vibrating atmosphere. All these people living each moment.  Added to this was the place: little huts on the shore of a lake, surrounded by cedars and silver birch.

During the farewell party Arturas called me "my brother" as we said goodbye to each other. All this to tell a little story of the last day: Arturas left before I got up as he had to take the Greek participants to the airport.  Just before the bus was to leave I went to the sandy beach and stood on one of the boats moored to a little jetty.  Lake shining. Ripples gently zooming to the beach.  I look up into the little clouds and blue sky and there is a big bird (maybe a big hawk) circling and circling overhead.  Arturas is saying goodbye again, I think/know.... Once everyone is in the bus, we set off down a potholed road leading to the main road.  Exactly as we arrive at the crossroads, Arturas' car is standing waiting.  He's making sure we're safely gone, I think/know.

Coincidences are maybe only interpretations."

The decision to make a web site out of the ongoing report made my work much much longer and much much happier - receiving so much encouragement from team and participants has been great! And it gave me lots of energy to keep going.

I feel like I'm still the reporter for this course. 

Sometimes I feel a bit like this:



Keep the Roof on fire!

pip pip!

updated: 31 May 02007!!!