The Youth exchange Carpathian Stories brought 30 participants from 6 different countries (Ukraine, Germany, Spain, Belarus, Russia and Poland) together to explore the beauty, diversity and fragility of the Ukrainian Carpathian mountains over a period of 15 days.
The main aim of "Human Stories: Future Glories" is to foster intergenerational and intercultural cooperation Storytelling is the perfect platform upon which to unite youth and elderly. Elderly need storytelling for the purpose of telling their stories for companionship, as well as to preserve their cultural identity. Youth, on the other hand, need to develop their storytelling competences as it is as an essential professional skill for employability.
* to increase knowledge about storytelling (participants learnt the elements of a story, how to become a great oryteller, and how to utilize storytelling in a variety of creative methods)
* to raise the awareness on the importance of intergenerational and intercultural collaboration (by the end of the project they feelt more comfortable interacting with senior citizens & migrants, sharing their stories with others)
* to develop the skills in storytelling (this will be for the purpose of self awareness, increasing job opportunities, as well as preserving cultural and traditional heritage)
When I think about who I used to be, it's hard for me to recognize that person. I feel surprised when I realise where I am now, and think about everything I have done. My memories from that dark and rough period are quite blurry. Suddenly I felt disconnected from my surrounding, from myself. Loneliness. Desperation.
With shame and pain I remember the hours in the room of my mind. Trapped in it, in me. It's so challenging for me to live in society. I'm so exhausted.
I feel obliged to escape this feeling on my own. I try, I really do, but it's impossible for me. Falling down again and again it's so painful.
Just living to survive. So disconnected from everything. The hope, non-existent. I don't believe in anything.
Fortunately, there are days where you feel a slight strength, where I choose a specific atittude or I just let myself flow. And thanks to it I've got the great chance to explore Ukraine in a unique way.
I find it challenging to summarise what it means to participate in 'Carpathian Stories'. Plenty of moments, experiences and stories in 15 days.
We've been carrying lots of kilos in our backs. Sweating a lot. Getting soaked under heavy rain. Learning how to collect wood and to start a fire, and sleeping many days in the ground.
We've also camped in magical places, with stunning views of the mountains. To lay down under the stars. To dance in the middle of the mountain. Spending the night surrounded by cows. Cleaning our plates in the river, and drinking fresh cow milk. Climbing at 2km high mountain - unbelievable.
I could continue to describe thousands of other moments. However, if I had to summarise my 'Carpathian Stories' experience, I would say I am leaving Ukraine with a feeling of trust and hope in life and the people. It has been so fulfilling that 30 unknown people have shared and complete a wonderful path together.
Hope, trust and gratitude towards life, people and our existence. I feel it's more than enough returning back home with this feeling.
Дуже дякую Ukraine. Thank you everyone.