Diary from Macedonia
30. 1. 2018
Sunday - 29/10/2017
At four o'clock in the morning in front of the school, we were eagerly waiting for Mr Rada, who drove safely our travellers´ group, accompanied by Mrs. Radová and Mr. Günzel, to Prague Airport. It was just that day when a strong wind was blowing, so we worried about a possible cancellation of our flight. Fortunately, this did not happen and we were able to fly to Vienna, where we were to transfer for the flight to Skopje. After our initial uncertainties whether the plane was permitted to land in Vienna, there appeared another unexpected problem. None of the airport staff knew where our hand luggage ended. For a while, it seemed we might miss the plane to Skopje because of searching for the undelivered hand luggage. In the end, we all boarded the plane even without the luggage. Yet, we were up another unexpected surprise at Skopje Airport - we learned that our luggage had not been delivered! However, the new situation had some positive effects. We did not have to pull any heavy suitcases and having empty hands, we boarded the bus heading to Prilep, the destination of our trip. Some teachers and students came for us directly to the airport. It was really moving when David welcomed us on the board of the bus! Our hosts were very understanding and lent us all we needed until our suitcases came a few days later. Macedonian hospitality is immense!
Wednesday - 1/11/2017
On Wednesday, we spent a part of the morning in the school, where we were supposed to work in six international groups on creating an outfit from recyclable materials. This activity was really great experience in terms of practising English. We simply had to make ourselves understood. Vašek had his birthday that day and hosting Macedonians, who are very generous and hospitable in general, surprised him with a birthday cake in the morning. We lit candles and together sang "Happy Birthday!".
After several hours of working in groups we went to eat a snack. In the host school, they usually don’t bring snacks to school; it is a secondary vocational school providing baker training as well. So, we went to the school bakery to buy a snack. By the way, in Macedonia, white yoghurt “pavlaka” and traditional pastry “burek” are sold in every bakery.
After that, we went to the pillow and blanket factory, Comfy Angel, where they showed us round the production premises and showed us how different types of pillows and blankets are made there. We were surprised at how much human manual work is still needed to make a single duvet and how the people in the factory work for such low wages. At the end of the tour each and every student got a pillow as a complimentary gift. How nice! After a short stop at Prilep Textile College we spent the rest of the day with our nice host families and all other friends.
We went like most of the local youth to the park, where the Macedonians presented Vašek another cake and candles and a cup with a photo of the whole group in Macedonia. When we were cold, we went to a jazz club, Take Five, where we had been about three times that week yet. They make the best hot chocolate. There we talked and late in the evening we went to bed.
Thursday - 2/11/2017
Thursday began as another ordinary day in Macedonia. Honestly, it was the Day D for all of us. It was the day when we finished making clothes from recycled materials. Each team was tasked to prepare a presentation about the design created. Moreover, we were supposed to present the poster in front of the audience, which included all the students from Macedonia, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and their teachers.
We met at around 10 a.m. in SOU Orde Chopela School and our work could start. Firstly, we were split into teams and each of them comprised one student from each country. That was the point which helped us develop our English speaking skills because there was nobody to help us. In other words, we had to rely on just our speaking skills.
According to our opinion, this was one of the most remarkable days of the whole week in Macedonia. Each team used a number of different techniques to make their designs as elaborate as possible, such as spraying, foiling to make a skeleton, using peacock feathers and old ties which were stapled together to make an awesome skirt. At the beginning, we were not sure whether it would be wearable and how the outfits would even look like. In the end we found out most of them might be worn to parties or on special occasions. I reckon that they could make a good impression everywhere. Despite the fact we, the designers,were limited to the materials to be used.
After the exhausting work a lunch break finally came. One group of students went to a nearby café and opted for “burek” again, nevertheless, the other group ordered a pizza strangely made in a cone, which was for most of us a chance to eat something like this for the first time. It was really great and we got recharged with new energy. Even though it was fast food, it was delicious!
After the break we made final adjustments to our posters and designs so as the presentations could start. Each team presented the outcomes of their team work in front of all the students and teachers . We were a bit nervous before introducing our products because the teachers were rating our pronunciation, English speaking and communicative skills, meeting the criteria given and the poster design as well .We were also supposed to give a number of reasons to the audience why exactly our design was supposed to win. To be honest, all the posters and outfits were outstanding and so it was tough stuff for the teachers choose the winner. It was evident all of us had made a huge effort and had done great work.
Finally, we went either home or shopping with our host students to buy some souvenirs for our parents or grandparents. We all made a decision to meet at the park at around 9 p.m. and spend the evening together. Because of cold weather we decided to terminate in our popular café again. The evening was long and we got to know each other a little better again.
Friday - 3/11/2017
The last day of our visit of Orde Chopela School was there. We met just in the school as usual but that day felt relaxed having fun of the project. We spent the morning making final changes in the outfits to make them look as good as it was possible for the evening fashion show in the school gym. Next, we went on to make our own piece of art made by a special technique of layering cotton wool finally fixed with liquid glue. Being supervised by a local artist each of us made different shapes and so each piece was somehow unique. After 2 hours of creative work the final look was great ! For all of us it was the first contact with such an art technique.
After the lunch break which was as always in the café we had free time until 6 p.m. That was the time when the final party at school was due to start in the school gym. Not only the participating students and teachers, but even the parents and city councillors were present. The whole party was really great, after the fashion show we had a disco and karaoke singing. One of the Macedonian teachers gave us a rap performance, which was awesome !
It was a great evening offering plenty of Macedonian food and great entertainment. We made a promise that the week in the Czech Republic must be at least as good as the Macedonian one was.
Saturday - 4/11/2017
We met at the bus stop at 8.30 in the morning. We went together with the Spanish and a few Macedonians to the airport in Skopje, where we were movingly saying goodbyes and taking last photos of us. Shortly after noon our airplane departed for Vienna. The flight was much calmer in comparison with the flight to Macedonia, there were neither problems with baggage reclaims nor with weather. So we managed to take many beautiful photos from a bird´s-view. Awaited six unpleasant hours of waiting for the transfer to Prague passed guite fast spent shopping around and over large portions of fast food. At about 9 p.m. we safely landed in Prague, where Mr. Štoudek, punctual as usual, had been waiting for us. The joyful way rushed to its end fast and we anchored in our homes safely full of experiences and a lot of memories.
An interesting reference