On July 22nd, World Youth Alliance Middle East (WYAME) Intern Gloria Tauk and members Marie-Joe Noon, Mustafa Ajami, and Ikbal Habib from Lebanon arrived in Tbilisi International Airport where they met with the teams from different countries. After they all gathered in Pushkin square, they made their way to their intended destination of Svaneti, a historical region in northwest Georgia, where they were excited to take part in the Erasmus Project “Breathe in Svaneti.” The aim of the project was to promote a healthy lifestyle where participants had to cross the region hiking about 10km every day, live in the wilderness, and learn about being self-sufficient all along the way.
Their typical day would start by being served breakfast cooked by the kitchen team, who then also would take care of lunch, dinner and in between session snacks during the day. Warm up routines in the morning, mind games, physical challenges, bonding activities and sessions about how to survive in nature where they were every day.
Throughout the project, the participants learned different skills that would help them cope in the wild and went through activities and hikes that pushed the participants’ limits. WYAME member Ikbal Habib said “Being outdoors, with limited food, drastic changes in weather, physically and emotionally challenged is not easy. It is in these circumstances though that we had the chance to test our limits. Only at that moment humans start to grow when they realize that they can actually achieve way more than they think they can.” WYAME participants also enjoyed the cultural exchanges. WYAME member Mustafa said, “In the first moments, we were trying to know more and more about different participants from different cultures, and it didn’t take a lot of time until we started getting used to each other with the help of ice breaking activities that the organizers prepared.” WYAME member Marie-Joe also stated, “We talked to the participants about Lebanon and I was so glad to see how interested they were in my country and I was more than happy to share with them everything I knew about it.” WYAME participants also simply gained from being in the outdoors. WYAME Intern Gloria said that “Being in nature helps clear the mind and puts a lot of things into perspective.”
On the very last day of the project, participants had to write a letter to themselves that will be sent to them by post in a year on the same day they joined the project. The WYAME participants enjoyed the project to the full, learned a lot, and made everlasting friendships.