A weekly blog from the 2011 Project

Week 8

This week has been the final week of the main programme, but it has not been the easiest week so far.

The art workshops have continued to be an amazing success with the children making Mexican string eyes, paper bag clowns, party hats and taking part in a monster drawing contest. Work also started on the massive wall mural on the stairs of the building which is almost finished.

The photo workshop darkroom was transferred into an open free space were children and teenagers can come and use the space at their leisure with support on hand if needed.This weeks picnic was held again, this time in the park in Gornji Vakuf.

The web design workshop started this week, which will result in the Omladinksi Centar designing and having the ability to update their own website.

During the week the teen group has been organising the Music Across Borders festival, which was an fantastic demonstration of group work supported by many businesses and people from both sides of the community. Sadly, on the day of festival it had to be cancelled due to threats made against teenage musicians if they would play. Instead we had a small festival outside the center, were candles were lit and the work produced by the children and teenagers was projected onto the centar building. The cancelling of the festival has provoked a lot of support and shock in the community. We intend on turning it into a positive incident rather than a negative. It reminded everyone of why we are here and the problems that still exist within elements of the community.

Next week will be the last update and a summary of the whole project.

Week 7

Trees Across Borders built an amazing park over the weekend. It was probably the fastest and cheapest park ever built in Europe. The children from both sides of this town worked extremely hard to get the park finished. The handmade benches were produced from local materials by a family who have turned out to be a fantastic help to the project. Many local businesses supported the project by supplying drinks, food, and materials and extra plants were donated from the community. The children also built mosaics that were set into the grounds of the park. The park was opened on Sunday evening with a lantern lit theatre performance that was attended by a large crowd. We hope the park will become an area that will be used by both sides of the community, especially the children from the secondary school. We also hope it will be developed further by the community over the coming years.

The photography workshops have turned into a massive success with additional new students coming onboard and existing students continuing with workshops to expand their knowledge to produce some really amazing photographs.

The art workshops built mosaics for the park, painted stones to be left around the plants, made paper flowers and lanterns for the opening of the park. They also had workshops based on collage, 3D sculpture and moulding techniques.

The movie group workshops have finished, but the group is now focusing on stills photography and final cut pro training.

Last week was a great success for all involved and the volunteers are amazing. We are looking forward to the final week of the project and the possibility of a festival on Saturday night.

Week 6

During this week, the project has been developing and expanding. The movie workshops have changed into one week courses to give the opportunity for more teenagers to attend. The new group had great fun together and you can see their fantastic film by clicking on the link below.

http://vimeo.com/27774531

The photography workshops continued into their second week and are proving to be highly popular and successful . They have continued with the previous programme and have started teaching more advanced photography to students who are attending the second week.
The picnic took place again on Wednesday, with the children, teenagers and the photography group going to Uskoplje to eat, drink and have fun. The art workshops started again on Thursday, with the art group creating a film set and accompanying art for the movie group’s ‘stop motion filming’ project.

Trees Across Borders has had to change its planned site for the new park due to scheduled work at the hospital. The new site is opposite the secondary school and will create a space where teenagers from the "Two schools under one roof" can hang out during their breaks. It will also be a space which anyone can use, including people waiting for buses. “Two schools under one roof” is the school system where children of two ethnic groups attend the same school building, but on different floors with separate entrances.

There is more information on this system at the bottom of the links page on this website.

Week 5

During this week, the movie group have continued working on the second film which will be a more serious piece of work than the first. We hope to have it edited this weekend so we can show the world premiere very soon!

Also, the photography workshops started this week which have been an amazing success. There are around 30 children and teenagers already taking part in the workshops and they have been learning about making pin hole cameras, taking pictures and developing them in the darkroom. Now there is a big group of young people running around taking pictures all over the town! Some of the teens will return next week to assist with the teaching of the next workshops. One child was even inspired to make their own camera at home.

We’ve have had many more meetings about the ‘Trees Across Borders’ project with urban engineers, mine clearance officers, plant and tree suppliers as well as the OSCE. We have also started giving flyers out around the town to get volunteers on the two days of building. Yes, that is right, we are going to build the park in just two days! That’s less time than 'Challenge Anneka' would get!

Week 4

We've had our second picnic this week, this time in the Uskoplje part of town. It was a great day out were children from both sides of town came together, enjoyed some nice food and played games. We have decided to make this a weekly event as it enables the children and teens from the different parts of the program to come together at least once a week. It also gives everyone an opportunity to see parts of the town they would not usually visit and also gives exposure to both the project and Omladinski Centar. This is a very sensitive idea to try and has been successful so far.
The second course of movie making started on the 25th July with a smaller and less varied age range group. They are working on a film that will be much different than the first film production.

On Friday, the two volunteers who will lead the photography workshops arrived after driving all the way from Berlin and spent Friday and Saturday setting up the dark room. Their courses will start on Tuesday as on Monday they have to go to Travnik to register.

We also had some more meetings in relation to ‘Trees Across Borders’ which is still in the early stages. So far the project has been very successful and everything is going to plan. The children and teenagers are having fun and learning new skills. Trees Across Borders is having a very big impact in the town and may end up being the most important part of the bridges across borders project for the town.

Week 3

The last week (18th to the 24th) has seen a continuation of the movie workshops and our movie group has progressed to making a brilliant film which has now been edited ... and you can view the film, The Chase, by clicking on the link below ...

http://vimeo.com/27002372

The art workshops have also started with a young group of mixed ethnicity children enjoying a number of activities, including making paper birds, painting big monsters and decorating an enormous cardboard tree.
During the week the children have also taken part in a wide range of sporting events and games that has helped to develop a good sense of camaraderie amongst them.

A number of meetings with OSEC and BHmic have taken place for the Trees Across Borders project. Possible sites have been chosen and will be confirmed during the coming week. The idea is well supported within the town and includes building a small park for patients, their families and friends who attend the local hospital.

Click on Trees Across Borders to see photos from the construction of and the finished park. This park was built by volunteers from the community and all around the world.

There are also more images on our Facebook page

In addition, we have now purchased most of the supplies for the August program and festival.


Weeks 1 and 2

The project started on the 10th July after one week of preparation. Whilst we naturally build some contingency time into the project plan, there were a number of unforeseen issues to deal with such as settling the long term volunteer payments required in Bosnia, accommodation problems and photographic equipment breaking in transit. So after overcoming these first few hurdles, the first part of the project was ready to go.

The initial set of the programmes centre on a series of movie making workshops. These workshops were well attended by a diverse mixture of the community spanning across a wide range of ages. After an introduction to still photography and composition, the groups were taught about using cameras, recording sound and different styles of film making.

After creating some story boards, the group were eager to try out their newly developed skills and they were quickly filming around the town, interviewing each other and then editing their work with some extremely encouraging results. Buoyed by the success of their first foray into film, the group have also discussed and developed an amazing idea for their film that they will make next week.

The group has really bonded and have been enjoying all aspects of the program so far, resulting in Lorena who is a member of the group saying, "This is the best workshop so far in the Omladinski Centar."

From Monday we will start running art workshops and then over the next few weeks, many new aspects of the programme will begin as we build to the climax of the project at the end of August. Everything is going to plan and we are receiving extremely positive feedback off people from both sides of the town.

There have also been some wonderful, heart warming moments. For example, our volunteers stay with designated families within the community. One evening, we were struggling to find a particular volunteers house and we were literally lost with no idea where to go. A number of friendly residents then came to our rescue, and this resulted in a young boy running up the street to tell us that the volunteer was staying at his house. So we followed him into the house and we were given a fantastic welcome by the family. It then transpired that this wasn’t even the right house, but the only question that the family had was ‘How long did our volunteer want to stay!’

Whilst this is just one small example, there have been many more, and no doubt they’ll be many more to come.

Peace


Email: bridgesacrossborders.net@yahoo.com