Iva Žůrková stays in Estonia for 12 months within the project ”Education through Experience III” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.
Since the beginning of my EVS, I knew I had the possibility to make my own initiative project. My head was full of crazy ideas and because I love the circus, I wanted to organise some Circus festival in Abja. Not only for one day, maybe for the whole weekend!
In summer, I participated in Circus Convention in Tori and I had been to Street Festival in Tallinn, where I met a lot of amazing circus people. I was talking with them about my idea of some circus event in Abja and they were very supportive and willing to help.
But then I realized that I must be a bit more realistic. In Abja, people are not so interested in circus or juggling. I am, but not them. So I decided that I had to think about something else what also locals can enjoy.
Thanks to Piret from EstYES, who was supporting me during my EVS and who was always writing feedback on my monthly Volunteer’s Diary full of my photos, I finally decided. My initiative project must be connected with photos. I must make my photo exhibition! People in Abja usually comes to the exhibitions‘ openings and my photo exhibition gives them the opportunity to see Estonia through my eyes, through the eyes of somebody not used to Estonian nature or architecture. We discussed this with my tutor Tiiu, the manager of the Cultural Center in Abja, and we agreed that it was a better idea and maybe easier for the organization.
Usually, I hesitate a lot and it’s difficult for me to take a decision. So this initiative was really very challenging for me. I had to choose just a few of my thousands and thousands of photos I made during my EVS in Estonia. I was trying to select the best ones, to put them in some nice series, make groups of photos of the same topic or just think how to put them on the wall, how many of them and in which size. I wanted to choose those pictures in the end of November or before the Christmas holidays. But in the end, I just got angry to myself at the beginning of January – why it takes so much time? Don’t overthink, just choose what you like! So I did it. I decided, made the ordered, came to Viljandi to take those photos and brought them back to Abja, where I started to put them on the wall. And when they were on the walls, I felt so good and was proud of myself that I managed to make the decision.
I was so surprised how many people came to see the opening of my exhibition. It was beautiful. So many people from Abja came! But there were also EVS volunteers from Viljandi and Kilingi-Nõmme and some people from other villages and towns. There were old ladies from my English classes, women from our choir, people I knew from our Cultural Center or just from the streets in Abja, some kids and my friends as well. They all came to support me, to see my photos, to be with me on that special day. They made that evening beautiful and I was so happy to see them all!
At the beginning, Tiiu told few words and then I was talking also a bit in Estonian language! I was happy that everybody could understand what I was saying. And I was proud of myself that I could talk in Estonian and I was enjoying it. Of course, sometimes I didn’t know some words, but Tiiu always helped me. And after my speech, people were coming to me and giving me gifts and it was very nice to see that they really liked my photos and the exhibition and that they appreciated what I had done and simply that they liked me. It was a beautiful friendly atmosphere in there.
The end of the exhibition’s opening was also nice – I planned a fire show! My friends from the fire show group Zerkala from Tartu came to support me and they made nice fire spectacle. I was so happy that I could see them again, once more before the end of my EVS. The fire show was in front of the Cultural Centre, there were a lot of people around and my friend from Abja was taking pictures – so I could just enjoy the show.
It was a beautiful evening. People surprised me a lot that so many of them came. And it was nice to hear that they liked my photos. I was proud of myself, I was happy that I made this photo exhibition and the fire show happened.
In the end, I want just say “thank you”. Thanks to Zerkala for the fire show. Thanks to the Cultural Centre for the possibility to make my photo exhibition. Thanks to EstYES for the financial support. Thank you, my friends.