I'm starting my story about the Skupina Primera Workshop backwards - from the moment when we were sitting in one of the halls of the City museum of Ljubljana on a Friday afternoon in the beginning of April, sharing the last week's experience, smiling with tears in our eyes, taking pictures, exchanging cards and smiles… not wanting to separate. The small boxes, which Jerneja gave us on behalf of the Skupina Primera team we held as precious gifts in our hands. Inside them we found acts of attention to all of us, on our leave and notes bearing the inspiration texts, the well-wishes and the positive words we wrote ourselves before that, so that we can exchange them later. A smiling figure is winking at me playfully, and the words HVALA and SLOVENIJA, inscribed on the box make my day bright from my desk, where I have placed the sunny memory form Ljubljana. We wanted our last day together to last forever, so we all went to the Friday's Open market, where we felt the atmosphere of the town, busy in preparation for the forthcoming Palm Sunday. And, of course, we decided to get together in the evening over a glass of wine and more talks in one of the cozy restaurants of this hospitable city. For a whole week after that we've been exchanging emails about how we have traveled, what we have experienced and how happy we have been of having the chance to meet. In one way or another we have all experienced one and the same - the joy of being back home and the inability to stop telling our relatives and colleagues about our new friends and the lessons learned during the seminar.
And the lessons we've learned have really proven to be new, useful and inspiring. Building Efficient Relationships and Effective Conflict Management in-service training, organized by Skupina Primera and held in Ljubljana from 7 to 11 April within the Lifelong Learning Programme brought together 11 participants from 10 countries - Bulgaria, Belgium, Ireland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal and Turkey. The educators and the organizers Ana Arzenšek, Janja Rebolj, Blanka Tacer and Jerneja Šibilja not only gave us new knowledge about communication and Conflict Management, but also provoked us to look inside ourselves in a different manner - in the way we work with and treat people around us. They charged us with the desire to change our behavior so that we always have a positive and hopeful attitude towards what is happening in our lives. One may ask: Is this possible ever? Yes, it is, if one had the fortune to be educated by such experienced trainers and also if one had the luck of being surrounded with such wonderful people as participants in a seminar during a training. We are about to additionally read the materials we have received and to apply those new skills in our practice as educators, organizers and different project implementers. And who knows, maybe our shared experiences will eventually lead to another workshop where we will be able to learn, to share, to have fun, to experience different cultures and peoples, the way we did in those five magical days in Ljubljana!
I'm already home, absorbed by my everyday tasks and I meet my new friends in cyberspace as we exchange photos and messages on Facebook. But the little figure on my memory box gives me an encouraging smile every time when my optimism is shaken, and I respond him with: HVALA SKUPINA PRIMERA!
Albena Penova, Sofia, Bulgaria