On 18 May 2019, within the international Red Cross project “AVAIL- Amplifying the voices of asylum seekers and refugees for integration and life skills”, Latvian Red Cross (LatRC) organised educational excursion for families of refugees and asylum seekers (RAS) to the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia.
The participants of this event were RAS from Russia, Cuba, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, Syria, Iran and LatRC social workers and mentors (55 people in total). Together with a guide and expert on culture and language of the Livonians,. Ms. Zoja Sīle, RAS learned about the heritage of the Latvian ethnographic culture and stories about the regional diversity. Zoja admitted that this was her first experience in working together with RAS, but she was happy to interact with people from other cultures and to learn more about the people who are looking for safe place to stay and live.
After the long walk around historical yards, participants went to cafe “Punite” to enjoy delicious soup, tart and juice made by owners of the café.
After the lunch, participants spent free time next to Lake Jugla, they also went to see ceramics and shared their thoughts about the excursion with each other.
RAS positively evaluated the idea of this excursion, ancient and authentic buildings and household items; they were surprised by the tradition to hold a coffin in an attic and other traditions by Livonians.
In terms of communication, great help came from translators-mentors for Turkish, Spanish, Russian and English languages. They translated every question and comment addressed to staff members of the museum which was very useful for having successful learning and interacting process.