We got to Zugdidi thanks to some dose of curiosity, the interest of Droni Youth Association, and the kind drivers that carried us hitchhiking from Tbilisi. It is the main city of Samegrelo, at walking distance from the Abkhazian border and a key point on the way to Svaneti. It is also a place where the houses, bulevards, people and free roaming animals gather around a central park – or so we thought when we checked it online – and it enjoys impressive views of mountains worth of the best winter postcards. The purpose of our visit to this part of Georgia was to play “travellers” with the students of St. George’s Gymnasium, and that’s what we did. In three days we run three sessions with 10th, 9th and 7th graders, each of them a story on their own, a travel to real or imaginary destinations.
Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you going? We sent back to the students the top 3 travellers questions and made some room for them to juggle with their destinations. They drove us all around, from Zugdidi to Chukotka, from Europe westwards across the Atlantic, and even further to the East of China, around the world a few times and to outer space. We spinned the globe and travelled wherever we wanted. But how? Sometimes by car, or bus, or by train across Siberia. On a witch’s broom to celebrate Halloween in Chicago, and swimming the ocean to South Africa to take a giant surf board built specially for 13 of us.
For two days we drew travel maps with the older young people from the school, who shared with us their dreams to visit Europe (Paris, London, Madrid or any place in Italy are in the top 10 destinations), their hopes to cross oceans, and their wishes to enjoy happy holidays in faraway places (from Brazil to China stopping in Cuba, any place is good!). We got tips for funding our wanderings (have you thought of buying, using and selling second hand German cars?), ideas for free travels in Africa, adventures by sea and alternatives to flying by plane (what about taking a ladder to the moon, and bungee jumping back to Earth?)
And on the third day, everything changed. Two days of mapping were too much for our drifting minds, and we decided to try something new with the 7th graders… to build a perfect destination, a place in nature or a wonderful city, where all our travel wishes come true. And so we did: the “city crew” made up a place where the landmarks of Paris and London are joined by a river where you can sail to the Sun, a city with more flowers than people, and bikes instead of cars. In the meantime, the “nature friends” went wild, making paper raise to 3D and erupting into lonely volcanoes reached only by raft, trees of all sorts and tree houses on top, beautiful mountains and a sunset on their desk. And then the bell rang, and we did not get to know where on Earth these places are…but we will keep on searching for them and send you a postcard when we reach these destinations.
These workshops were part of our Travellers Workshops – a roving project for young people and kids run by Roving Snails. If you want to know more or run a workshop in your school or youth club or neighbourhood, just let us know via [email protected]
The workshop was made possible in St George’s school Zugdidi thanks to DRONI’s amazing volunteers (Birgit, Jennifer, Niko) and the English teachers of 7th, 9th and 10th grades (Tea, Inga and Lika) who joined us in the imaginary travels and by Manana, the school director, who gave us shelter is in her pretty house.