Experience gained and friendships made

Written by Valts Rozentāls

First full day in Bögöz. We start off with an early practice before breakfast. Today it should be hotter and not as much rain as yesterday, so we want to take advantage of the cool morning air. Everybody is still a bit sleepy, but that changes once we are done with the warmup. One cannot escape the power of blood flow. Practice consists of some games to keep the fun going and basic drills to develop foot work, ball handling and layup finishes. Now everybody is hungry, and we can enjoy well-earned breakfast.

Right after, we have some free time and prepare to go explore the village. Our local guides are Orsi and Vanessa. They showed us their school and preschool, places where they spend time together, the local church, a stadium. This will come in handy on Friday for the scavenger hunt. Coming from Munich, this really is a small place, and it has its own feeling and charm. Things that we take for granted in Munich, are seen differently in Bögöz. What we consider basic infrastructure is a commodity here. Water shortage due to draught, lack of or old drainage systems, lack of streetlights, broken or non-existent roads, the train going to each direction just three times a day. A stark difference. It really shows how big of an influence a good infrastructure can have on one’s life. But the people are also more friendly and ready to help. They are curious to know what brought us here, are talkative, want to present their way of life. Life is also more simple and slower, though – one must work very hard for it, literally.

We end our walk by having lunch together. A quick side note for our readers – youth prepare most of the breakfast and lunch for themselves and others. It’s always five people having to do the service. Anyhow, now it’s time for some fun and team building.

We mix the teams together. Bögöz and Munich kids must find a way to communicate together and win the games and overcome challenges to get points. It’s all about little fun games with the purpose to think outside the box and work together. Who can come up faster with a good strategy on the spot? Energy is high and everyone does their best to contribute to their team’s success. In the end, there is a winner, but the real win is actually the experience gained and the friendships made.

For the next action we split the groups. One group was training on the court, while the others were discovering traditional Szekler wood painting. They use it everywhere and originally it developed by painting on furniture. So, they are keeping the tradition alive and educating people about it. Our kids did the motives seen on ceilings of the local Bögöz church. The church itself was built around 1200s, but the motives are a bit younger than that.

Now follows the evening routine – dinner, shower and feedback on the day. We had planned to sleep outside, but there were two reasons we decided against it – recent sightings of bears lately and rain overnight in the weather forecast. The choice not to sleep outside turned out to be a good one as around 02:00 it was just pouring rain outside. Dodged this one.