" /> Weekly Report August 21-23, 2020 | ELF Festival
Harja, Romania

The Gathering “Behind The Scenes” Edition

an European Solidarity Corps project

This year, due to what is happening in the world (Covid-19), no Elf Festival was held. Instead, we had a small meeting with people with whom we have common goals. Thus, “The Gathering” was created and implemented in the open air, in a tent, on a very large field with safety measures taken to reduce the risk of contamination with the very well known virus.

The Gathering was an opportunity to make new friends, socialize, sing and dance in nature, on the Oituz riverbank, in the tent. This meeting is also for discovering common goals in each other’s “art”, what we can do together (dreaming ~) and what we want to do together (action!).

Those in this community believe in the transfer of ideas, thoughts, possibilities, manifestations, calculations, dreams, accuracy, action, results (material and immaterial in nature). It is also important that “art” be combined with social needs, the needs of communities, and to create a financial flow through what we do. How can this be done? Talking, exchanging ideas and continuing the collaborations after Gathering.

Before The Gathering

A few days before the start of the event, our volunteers worked in teams to ensure a good organization of the implementation. Thus, the Social Media, Art & Painting and Outdoor teams had a super busy schedule.

Outdoor played an extremely important role because they took care of arranging the place where all the activities took place. For example, mowing and gathering grass where both girls and boys contributed, building and painting tents where a large part of the activities took place, greening the area including the temporary construction of garbage cans. Also, benches were brought and placed, both showers and toilets were built so that the guests could feel as comfortable as possible during the event. On Friday, all the volunteers became the outdoor team, making the whole thing much easier. Thus, they ensured that all areas (camping, food and chill) are prepared for the arrival of participants and for information and awareness of the rules to follow regarding the health of others.

The Art & Painting team made the place take on color through the decorations they created such as dreamcatchers, custom lanterns (made of jars, string and electric candles), they also arranged the place with colorful lights in the camping and chill area and created and painted guiding signs.  

The Social Media team helped those who follow us to see how all these things unfold through the videos, pictures and information posted on the social networks of the event/ festival.

During the gathering

How did the event go?

Well, as early as Friday afternoon, the participants started coming. The place was not completely arranged but still they were very happy to see how we work together. In addition to the delight, they even gave us a helping hand. They also set up tents in the camping area and toured the place.

The children from the village, as well as those who came with their families started the activities with a game called “Harja has talent”. The amused adults gave the children grades for artistic moments such as gymnastics, wrestling or juggling with colored lights. They were very excited, energetic and happy because of this game.

In the evening, the volunteers prepared the barbecue that everyone enjoyed around the beautiful campfire. It was a quiet evening with relaxing music where people were delighted to share stories with everyone.

Saturday was also relaxing, with beautiful weather. The guests took full advantage of the sun, so that both the little ones and the big ones cooled down in the river. All this time the volunteers were busy preparing the meal. Participants had lentil soup, biryani rice, baked chicken legs with tomato salad and baked onions and mushrooms. Also, boiled corn was prepared in the evening.    As usual, the participants had a campfire. Music was also present, making kids and adults sing altogether and gathering everyone to dance.

The activity of the day was a 3-hour playfight session, facilitated by one of the participants, Bogdan Racasan. among those who participated in the session were the children, being a challenge for him. The main rule of the game is not to hurt ourselves or the others. The goal is to create a connection between the two in the center, and what they have to pursue is a strategy to put the other on the ground with the two shoulders. By participating in such a session it contributes to the personal development of each one, being a therapeutic process.

On Sunday we had another activity, where we experienced a journey in digital art. Valentin Popescu, another participant, presented us works with different themes, which with the help of an application (artivive) we managed to see what is not seen in the picture. It was very interesting, so he managed to attract the attention of both children and adults.

Also, the girls enjoyed the braided tails by Ana Maria Coca, having the patience and passion to create a new look.

The meal was prepared by the volunteers at the table, and in addition to the food they had, they had tea, coffee, lemonade and snacks.       

The event ended in a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere, the participants leaving satisfied with everything that happened.

After The Gathering

The project continues with new surprises and various activities. For example we will do an event on September 8th about waste awareness and what are the effects of waste on the environment and what should we do about it. Another activity consists in painting the walls of the school in Oituz. A team will help the elderly from Harja with household chores such as cleaning, shopping or anything else they need. We also prepared a lot of creative and funny games for the kids from the ”Children’s House” and also the kids from Kolping in Oituz. Everyone is excited for everything that is going to happen. We look forward to sharing all this so keep an eye on us.