It was just a normal week at school. I was aware that another Experiential Week was approaching, but I was shocked when they told us we are going to Zaježová because I completely forgot about it. Anyway, I had no idea what this place was and I was quite afraid. My fear only increased after reading the email about the upcoming trip. A three-hour tour of the village?! Warm clothing and freezing temperatures?! No plastic?! I went to sleep with a strong feeling of anxiety about what is going to happen.
The next morning I woke up extra early just to catch the train to Zvolen. I was tired, grumpy, and negative about the trip. However, when we got there, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the accommodation. It was quite modern and cozy, completely different than I had imagined. We had some time to look around and then we ate our first vegetarian meal. It was alright, a lot better than I expected (and trust me, I am incredibly picky!).
Then came the first part of the program. We were divided into two groups and had different workshops. The first workshop was an environmental game, which was really educational and we learned some new things about poverty and division of resources. We also played ecological human Bingo, where we had the chance to learn who from our class had bought a fair trade product, planted a tree, or was part of an environmental campaign. Next came a workshop in which we were supposed to be making baskets. I was really worried as I do not consider myself artsy at all, but the instructor was amazing and I managed to make an okay basket. We had some free time after this, which we spent mostly playing games like charades, or just talking. In the evening we had the chance to visit the local teahouse, which sells various bio and fair trade products and offers many kinds of tea. It was very cozy and nice, and we had the opportunity to buy small souvenirs and trinkets in the shop. Then we talked some more and before we knew it, it was time to go to sleep.
In the morning we had breakfast followed by a short lecture about the history and various current activities of the centre, like courses or volunteering opportunities. After the lecture, the adventure started. We went out into the cold to take a guided tour of the whole village. This part was my biggest worry, but it turned out to be awesome. We went to the local school, kindergarten, and other cool places. We talked to kids, teachers, and parents, and heard interesting personal stories about life in Zaježová from many different perspectives. The tour was great but what was even more fun was the snowball fight that followed. Most of us ended up in the snow multiple times, there was snow on our clothes, in our faces, and later also all over the floor. This was an unplanned activity but I think it was a great addition to the day.
After this, it was time to say goodbye to Zaježová and return to the harsh reality of Bratislava. We also had a lot of fun on the train ride back as we played various games and met interesting people. Overall, I think it was a pretty cool experience, and I would like to go there again sometime.