It's exciting to know the problems and the daily life of children from other countries, it's a pleasure to be a part of a festival and to take part in its events. Minsk YMCA is speaking about participating in Oslo's festival.

The festival in Norway has already finished but beautiful and warm emotions have still been warming the hearts of our team, thousands of photos have still been shining in recent photos. Minsk YMCA’s youngsters who represented our country at the long hoped-for holiday of youth,songs and colour have shared their impression from participating in Teen sing festival in Oslo.

Julia Kamyak, a member of the team, who prepared a number confessed that she was mostly interested in participating in the discussion on the topics of Global warming, situations in Palestine and Kenya, ‘We were living in school classrooms and sleeping in living bags. There wasn't a big variety of food: same sandwiches three times a day, hot meal once a day but no delegator could eat it as it was very spicy. Oslo is a beautiful and unusual city but, as for me, it's too urban. I would rather have visited the west part of Norway and seen its famous fiords.’

Julia thinks that everyone liked Minsk YMCA’s performance because it was lively and bright. ‘Difficulty in preparing for the performance was in guys’ living in different parts of Belarus. We couldn’t have met before the trip, but internet was helping us to connect. Preparation for the performance was a pure pleasure and something unreal for me. We were making an educational dance video on the pier of a lake at the crack of dawn, rehearsing songs in the night planetarium and doing a lot of other things.’

A girl is sure that such events are useful, ‘They broaden your horisons and help to see the world from the different perspectives. This always means leaving a comfort zone which helps to refine yourself.’

Alexander Trushnikov, a chairman of the Minsk local department, mentioned that he liked an opening concert most, ‘There was a great performance at an opening day. We were living in classrooms, sleeping in napsacks and on matrasses we had brought with us. The food was poor [only sandwiches and porige]. During the festival I had time to drive around Norway: I could climb the Troll’s tongue [a trip of 30 km], the eastern part of Norway, Oslo. Of course, I would also want to visit Europe, namely its north part [at glaciers]. I must notice that everyone liked our performance. Though we were first, we performed with dignity.’

‘In a festival program I liked morning and evening shows which united all the festival participants,’ says Maria Medvedeva, a chairman of the National Belarus YMCA organisation and a coordinator of our country at the festival. ‘Speaking of food and living, the factors of age and family weren’t taken into account. A belarusian family with a baby had been settled in the kitchen but after bargaining they were moved to a separate classroom. Weather changes weren’t counted too: we were not allowed to stay in school not only during the rain but also from 11 am till 8 pm.’

Maria emphasized that food is a separate topic, ‘Sandwiches in the morning, same sandwiches for lunch were brought from breakfast. Dinner was always being spicy. Though it must be noticed that the performance of our team was pointed out by everyone and admitted as one of the best. We want to express our deep gratitude to a team which took part in creating the number. Taking part in such events is essential as it is the exchange of experience and communicating with other countries where YMCA exists. No doubt, this is also sustaining a positive brand image of our YMCA.’

‘I would rather have appeared at the other side of Norway,’ added Maria, ‘Where seas, fiords and other things.’

Igor Lobkov is sure that it’s desirable to attend such events as an organisation because it’ll help to get to know each other better, ‘The whole busload of visitors was riding. During the road we’ve got acquainted and become friends. We could participate in all the program, although bad weather made us correct our plans. We were walking along Oslo the whole day, opening the North country for ourselves. Our performance differed from others as chalk and cheese. I think, that’s the reason why other countries liked us. YMCA is the the biggest world’s organisation with various activities. It is worth attending them to find out more about YMCA and its friends.’

Inessa Volochko who is in charge of a program and YMCA’s performance told that the main group had been preparing for few months and the rest had been rehearsing in mornings and evenings:

‘Two repetitions and we were on stage as we were first in the program. That ended up nicely: we performed, and later, without any worries about failing to learn some moves and words, we enjoyed the rest of the time of the festival. Many people liked our number. They were approaching and saying that we were clever cookies. That’s pleasant taking all the hardships into account. And above all, as participants we loved it.’

In the festival program, the participants liked most of all meeting with old friends and getting to know new people from different countries:

- Oslo is a great city, but we got to see far from everything that we wanted, and therefore it is worth it to go there again. Oslo by night is something else entirely, very specific and ???. I would not want to find myself in the area around the main station again, but one time was interesting (thanks to the drivers who left us at the highway outside the city where there were no footpaths, bridges or crossings). As for the life at the festival - housing - it was as expected and everything was fine; everyone felt that the food was not spicy enough and no requests to fix it were followed until the last day, when mega spicy dishes were served. I already told someone that the main chef is probably an indian who has lived in Mexico for a long time, or vice versa. The girl thinks that one needs to take part in similar projects if one finds such a format interesting. “It is interesting to learn about the problems of everyday life for guys from other countries, and to be part of the festival and take part in its activities. If this is not for you, then it is better to go to Norway on your own and plan your trip without consideration for any external factors. This is my advice for some”. Inessa added:

- I want to thank everybody who was involved with the performance. Not only on the stage. Your support and readiness to perform was very important to me. And everything went well! It was very cool, but with such a team it could not be otherwise. You are wonderful! I embrace you all.

Ruslan Ananyev liked the Norwegian tensingers’ performance very much. Especially those who sang immediately after YMCA Belarus’ performance.

It turned out that the Norwegians are professional in their work; “they reveal the talent of the most diverse of students, regardless of their proximity to the ideals of beauty”. “You watch a performance and you understand that tensing is not a goal in itself, but a means of developing creative potential” Ruslan argues. “We went to a great art museum in Oslo. I saw the original “Scream” of Edvard Munch, and I changed my view of this painting. In it is not horror, but surprise, and many bright and cheerful colours. Where were very impressed with the high-tech building of the new opera. A visit to the museum of ??? brought a lot interesting discoveries. There are many more buildings there than at our own Strochitsy. Employees, wearing folk costumes from different regions, can answer questions and even arrange small concerts with songs and dances.

Me and my wife Nadia spent about 4-5 hours at the art museum and about 6 hours at Skansen. Ruslan admits that if they would have had the opportunity, they would have stayed there even longer. The guys would like to visit Norway again in order to tour the museums of Oslo, see an opera performance and visit different regions of the country.

- Why take part in such an event?

- New experiences, and getting to know the traditions and nature of the country. You can also see the pros and cons in the organization of large event such as this, and take this into account when organizing events in Belarus. The Tensing festival set an artistic landmark for the development of Tensing in Belarus. For the preparation we need to plan more time and to make the program more national, more Belarusian.

The man shared his impressions about the trip.

- In Riga, they are still restoring the historical city centre and implementing new art projects. The tourist infrastructure in Belarus should also develop constantly. In Stockholm the historical museum presents the history of the country in an interesting way. They do not simply list dates and events, but invites one to reflect on how they influenced life in the present. Norway is a country with high prices in the stores, great attention to ecology (for instance, about 70 % of the urban area of Oslo is forested), and respect for folk traditions and the past (in Skansen in Oslo, much is devoted to the history of the second half of the 20th century).

Valentina Dorofeeva had mixed impressions about the festival, which she shared:

- I liked the ferry, because it was a new experience for me. The first day of the festival was fine, but the rest of them were virtually the same, which was not very cool. I liked some elements about Norway itself. For example the attitude towards nature, and the standards of living there. I did not like the poor weather with eternal rain, cold and boredom.

In Oslo, the guys had time to walk around the city and along the coast, go for a swim in the North Sea, and go to a pub:

- We went shopping, but the prices in the stores made us speechless and we left the stores, as a rule, without buying anything. As for the performance, we did not prepare for long. A day and a half in total, but it turned out well. The Muscovites even supported us very actively. For the other countries I cannot say, but a quite a lot of people listened to us. Probably because we were the first to perform that day.

- Why is it important to participate?

- In order to see the world, expand one’s horizons and gain some experience. True, they fed us poorly here. Morning and evening the same sandwiches, and for lunch some vegan dish of stewed vegetables which was very spicy. I wouldn’t say that I went in vain, but I won’t say I’m particularly impressed by the event either.

But Ksenia Borokhovskaya thinks that everything was fine.

- We did not just sit in one place all the time. If we were not at the festival, we found entertainment in the city. - the girl recalls. - We ???, went on a boat trip, saw almost all the sights, swam in the North Sea, attended a hip-hop master class and several interesting lectures on important topics, and, of course, went to concerts and performed our own concert.

Ksenia says that the performance was successful, everyone was satisfied and happy:

- Before the concert we thought that everything was lost, because we had never rehearsed together before, and the very next morning the day after we arrived we had to perform. Inessa took everything into her own hands and everything went as it should; we rehearsed and modified our performances. As a result, the audience was satisfied, and there were quite a lot of them. We were later told that our performance was very good, although it did not contain many numbers. People who made songs and dances made a good effort. The festival turned out great in general. I think everyone gained a lot of positive emotions.

Anastasiia Bobrovskaya

Translated by Mathias Nikolai Arnesen and Veronika Kostyuk

Leave a comment

© YMCA Minsk, 2015