[Project] Maailm Ratastel / World on Wheels

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Hwa.. sudah lama skali sejak terakhir denger kata ini.

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Maailm Ratastel, or World on Wheels, was a project I did in 2004 in Estonia, thanks to AIESEC ^_^.. it was sooo much fun. It was a project based on exchange, organized for high school students. Lasted for almost 3 months, the project took me all around Estonia, to meet Estonian people, especially youngsters, to raise awareness about civil society and cultural diversity among youth, and motivate youngsters to take up an initiative to improve their living environment.

Cultural understanding helps to widen the world- view and raise tolerance. Being in contact with the young and active foreigners inspires and motivates the students, who will become more open-minded. The opportunity of working in the international environment and team is necessary and inspiring experience for both, volunteers and students.

– World on Wheels official website (broken link) –

WoW03What we did, basically was doing workshops and cultural activities for Estonian youngsters. We were going through 2 weeks of preparation weeks, trying to figure out what kind of workshops and cultural activities we should do.. it should be educating, interesting, and not boring at the same time. It should be applicable for any places we were going to go. It should consider our language barrier to those kids.. (even for me whose not English native-speaker). By the end of preparation weeks, we managed to make concept and activity guidelines for the next 2 months.

WoW05We came up with 3 different workshops which were Culture, Goal Setting, and Interdependence (ooppss.. I think I forgot the title.. was it interdependence?). We also came up with our Global Village concept of performance.. It was opened with clapping things, Romanian dance (ooo.. I loveee that song),then Reina sings a Philippino song, continued with Wendy’s tai chi, then we all danced Dutch’s kids dance and song, and Yasmine taught us how to do belly dance, and then it was closed with Tari Saman. Yes, we did that.. I taught them Tari Saman, you should’ve seen it.. it was awesome! And those things, my readers, were the things we had to do over and over again in several places, that changed every 3-5 days, depending on the schedule. Of course there were also vacation times, which was almost 50% of the whole journey (whether because it was on the schedule, or because no kids showed up on the day we were supposed to have workshops).

More or less, it was an experience that broaden my horizons. I got the chance to meet different people from different ages. I got the chance to live 24/7 for almost 3 full months with 9 (+some estonian) strangers from different countries, forced to face day to day routines, which is definitely not same afterall, and had to move from place to place every 3-5 days.. In the end, we all became good friends and there’s nothing better to explain our sadness to have to say goodbye to each other at the end of our projects, than tears ..

Speaking about the challenges.. for some others, it was the moving things, and personal spaces of course.. like sifaan, morten, and michel said:

The way the project was moving — every 2-3 days moving to a different place, very often different schedules (starting early, starting late. Etc) made it impossible to get in to any kind of routine. This was initially disorienting, but after a while you learn to manage somehow! (Sifaan-SriLanka)

Living with 12 other people 24/7 for 12 week is a challenge in itself, and keeping a good atmosphere is alpha omega. (Morten-Denmark)

Imagine never being alone 24h a day, 7 days a week and this for almost 3 months and you get the picture… ;) (Michel-Switzerland)

Of course it was challenging.. and demanding.. However, for me the challenge was the workshop itself. I was aware I am sooo not good at presenting something, or explaining things (yes, you know me laa.. D), and I had to do it in English, in front of those kids who don’t even speak English, and I had to look like it was so much fun while in fact we were all very tired of packing and unpacking all those stuffs we had to move from previous place. It was fun though.. specially when there were smile and laughs from those kids. Surely by the end of the day, we were all smile and relieved.. that somehow we managed to still do what we had to do and those kids seemed to get what we wanted them to get and also enjoyed our company.. and that was all that mattered …

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August this year, we had a reunion in Malaysia. Reina (The Phillippines), Wendy (HK), Vivianne and our special guest at that time, Ingmar, Viv’s boyfriend (The Netherlands), Morten (Denmark), and Kai (Estonia) were amongst those who can made it to the reunion. Too sad I couldnt join, but anyway, there’s always another chance to meet them in the future, fight? And Reina’s posting and pictures on our mailing list, as well as the pictures I’m running through when I made this posting, brought back all those memories (including the thought of making travel scrapbook of WoW project that was never actually started by me.. huhu..). And I just realized how much I miss that moment and my fellow WoW-ers. Oooo… I really wish to meet you guys and girls sometimes in the future..

And weirdos.. I really hope we made a difference in someone’s life back then.. ;)..

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