The six young people’s blog is offered below in English, with a Gaelic summary from each pupil. Three of the six pupils have been in Gaelic-medium education. The other three have completed a Learner’s Gaelic Higher.
Please read on…
If someone gave me the chance I could write a book on my experiences.
Over a month ago we arrived back in Scotland after the most spectacular trip of my life. The night before when I was packing my final things thousands of thoughts and emotions rushed through my head. I remember myself google searching ‘Costa Rica’ to try and get an image in my head of what I was going to see in the next few days.
I must admit I was shaking when I stepped onto the massive Thomson airways dreamliner plane, because I knew there was no going back and all this preparation and days of waiting for this moment was finally here.
After 10 hours of not talking to anyone and a long flight I can tell you I was ready to talk for a lifetime!
Stepping out of Liberia airport the heat hit you like tun of bricks, I have experienced hot weather before but nothing compared to the humidity of Costa Rica. I remember looking around the group and we were already wanting water and starting to sweat.
The first night was mind blowing. I never imagined myself swimming in the pacific ocean in Costa Rica at the age of 16. It honestly felt like a dream and I can’t believe I had the opportunity to do something so amazing.
Driving up to Boruca for the first time was definitely an experience. The track was awful, and it seemed like Jamie was trying to go in every pot hole instead of trying to avoid them haha! (only joking) After a very bumpy ride, and many times hitting your head of the top of the car we arrived in Boruca, and after the first introductions from everyone, we all started to mix as much as we could.
I spent most of my time in Boruca, with Jonathan, Hallie and Catherine, and I couldn’t of asked for a better three people to share the new cultures and experiences with. There were many people in the Boruca and Portuguese group that stood out to me as very warm hearted people who would do anything to help you and share there community with you.
There were also many challenges during this trip that I had to over come such as the language barrier which proved a big problem but we worked hard and with the help of great translators we managed to communicate with others. Another massive barrier for me was the bugs, and I definitely experienced many bugs, and they always seemed to come to where I was. A story that will stick with me for life and I will always laugh about was when I ran out of my room and shouted to everyone “theres a massive gecco and spider in my room” and no one believed me until they saw it with there own eyes. Another challenge for many was the heat, there were days when people weren’t in the best of moods, or they weren’t feeling themselves but we all respected that and got through the day. Despite these challenges I know I came out of this exchange as a much stronger and more independent person, and guess what I survived the traumatic spider that was in my bathroom and if I can do that anyone can do anything.
It has proved to be a challenge to me to choose my favourite part about the youth exchange, because in my opinion every part about my trip was absolutely incredible. But i’ve come to a decision and I would say the favourite and most enjoyable part of my trip would have to be the zip wire. I chose this because it was just as crazy as me, and it was definitely the best thing I have ever done and I am very proud of myself and the rest of the group for putting their fears behind them and making each moment of the trip count.
As we drove up what seemed like the steepest, most bumpiest and unsafe road (well i don’t think i can even call it that) I have ever seen, I must admit my heart was racing. Sat on that open mini bus, looking down, 100 thoughts were racing through my head and the question that stood out is what am I doing? What have I let myself in for? Why did I agree to this? but, strangely enough going 65mph racing Andrew through the air in Costa Rica was absolutely insane. Experiencing the incredible views from that high was amazing and it was the only time I felt some air on my checks.
Don’t get me wrong I have so much more I wanted to talk about like my amazing experience playing the pipes to Costa Rica and all the people, it was a pleasure for me to share one of my favourite things with them, and it made me so happy knowing how much they appreciated it.
Also the lovely food we experienced…. and all the amazing things we did in the villages like teaching the dancing, meeting and make all the amazing new fiends, visiting the cloud forrest, raves in the car etc.
I know I have made friendships for life and I will keep in contact with as many people as I can. I have always wanted to travel since I was a young girl, and I will make it one of my missions to go back to Costa Rica and visit portugal when I leave school!
I must admit me and the other Scottish youth exchange members weren’t very close before we went on this trip and I thought to myself many times what it was going to be like spending 2 weeks, working closely with these people. But I have to say I am so glad we all got chosen, because by the end of the trip I can definitely call them my best friends and I hope we will stay friends for life. They are the kindest, funniest and most light hearted people I know and they were a pleasure to spend time with so thank you guys!
In this post I also what to say a massive thank you to everyone that was involved in the organisation of the trip because it honestly meant the world to me. Thank you Jamie and Karan for being the best leaders I could of ever asked for and thank you John and Catherine for being so so amazing too. I know the trip would never had been as fun and enjoyable without you guys!
Lets bring on the next part of this trip and make the experience for the Costa Rican’s the best experience of their lives just as they made it for us! I know the Isle of Skye will blow their minds away, because the island I live on is spectacular and extremely unique and historical that I’m sure they will love to find out more about it!
Thank you once again from me, for making my youth exchange the best thing I have ever done, it truly was life changing and it will be in my heart forever!
I told you I could talk forever about my trip but I better stop now! But one message I want to send out to people reading my blog is, to take each day and cherish it, live your life to the full and if you get the experience to go on a youth ecvhange work as hard as you can and jump at the chance because I know it will be the best thing you will EVER do! Keep smiling and be friendly and you will go far in life!!!
#bbbbanter #garrrryyyyy #JonaThan #Cat #DJ Hallie #Chatherine #Mairead #Andy #riceandbeans #COSTARICA #youthexchange2017
B ‘e Costa rica an turas fad beatha. bho bhith a ‘snàmh anns a’ chuan, airson coiseachd tron choille nead, thug Costa Rica seachad an t-eòlas as fheàrr air mo bheatha. bha na daoine uabhasach càirdeil, blàth leam agus aoigheil agus tha mi air uiread càirdeas ùr a dhèanamh a nì mi airson beatha. Chan urrainn dhomh feitheamh airson a ‘chòrr den iomlaid òigridh agus airson nan Costa Rican airson tadhal air an Eilean Sgitheanach.
For this blog I decided to do vanilla fudge also known as Scottish tablet.
Tablet is made from basic ingredients like sugar, condensed milk and butter and it is often flavoured with vanilla or whisky.
Tablet isn’t something you eat everyday, because it is very sugary and considered a treat, but one of the main reasons why tablet is so popular in Scotland is the way it fuelled walkers with energy and kept their spirits high as they set off into the mountains.
In my family we don’t eat tablet often, but when we do make it we enjoy it as a treat and it lasts a while. It is considered a little, sugary and tasty snack that boosts you with energy but also gives you that sweet treat you wanted.
This recipe came from my mums very old recipe book. The book was passed on from my dads mother, who had a connection with Scotland, then it got passed onto my dad, but of course he doesn’t cook so he gave it to mum. This book is very old and sentimental to my family and also contains some lovely Scottish recipes.
Here are some pictures of how to make the tablet, and simple instructions with each picture. Tablet is very simple to make and it is very enjoyable, and I highly recommend you try it!!
Chuir mi romham Tablaid Albannach a dheanamh. Tha tablaid a’ còrdadh ri daoine ann an Alba mar bhlasad mhilis a bheireas dhuit lùths! Tha tablaid glè fhurasta a dhèanamh. Chleachd mi reasabaidh mo sheanmhair. Is e reasabaidh glè shean a tha ann, ach chanainn gu bheil e fìor mhath airson reasabaidh tablaid! Tha e cuideachd a’ còrdadh rium gun do chleachd mi reasabaidh mo sheanmhair.
Introduce themselves (when they were born? Where did they grow up? (etc))
Seo Ina Peutan. Tha mi naochad naoi bliadhna a dh’aois agus tha mi a fuirich ann an Baile MhicCuithein anns ann ceann a tuatha an Eilian Shitheanach.
“My name is Ina Beaton and I am very fortunate to be fit and well at 99 years old. I was born on the first of may 1917, and I grew up at the North end of the Isle of Skye in a small place called Balmaqueen in Kimalauag. I was born in the family croft cottage, which had a thatched roof like everyone else in the village. I am one of 6 children, and I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters and I am the middle eldest. I have experienced many things in my life but I would say most defiantly the war was the most scariest thing.”
Ask them to describe what their community was like when they were growing up? Has it changed? Or is it the same?
“I would say the way of life has changed and decayed, back when I was wee the community was very different compared to today. Everyone in the village owned a horse which was used to plough the land and most crofters kept cows that would be taken to the market in Portree to be sold. My dad and many other crofters from the area had to walk 24 miles with their animals to Portree, so the calfs could be sold, then they had to stay over night in Portree and walk back the next day as it was such a long way, and if we were lucky my dad would come home with about £3, which was considered a lot of money back then, and if we were very lucky and the calf was good then we would get about £5.
Everyone in the community was very helpful and helped the people in their community a lot, Which in my opinion is very different today. Most people today just keep themselves to themselves. All my bothers and sisters including me helped my dad a lot on the land and we went the local village school in Kilmaluag, which no longer exists. I went to school from the age of 5 till 14 but i couldn’t go to high school because back then only 1 in every family went to high school usually the eldest.
When i was 14 i left home and moved to Struan, and was working as a maid, then moved to Harlosh which is also on Skye and I worked for Major Cameron. This is very unusual nowadays as many children into there young adult years stay at home till they are about 17/18 and they then go to university because people have a lot more money now.”
“Another thing that has changed in this community is there are no shops. Back when I was young there was 5 shops in the village providing food and essentials for the locals, also another thing that was very interesting was every 2 or 3 weeks a steamer came into Aird which is a sheltered bay just down the hill from where I was staying which brought all the goods to the shops.
Many people grew their own crops on their land, and you had to walk to the mill to get your water and wash your clothes.”
Ask them to tell you about a community tradition or festival they were part of? Are they still part of it? What did you think the future of this community tradition or festival will be?
“I attended Kilmaur show every year. I really enjoyed this because I used to bake my best scones, make my best butter, jam and cheese because there used to be a competition on who was the best cook which I won a few times I also was part of the WRI (Womens Rural Institute) and we used to gather every month. I find it very sad that both these events aren’t running anymore and most people have never heard of them.”
“But there are still many more new traditions and festivals which have been introduced through the years and I think the future of these will be continued and carried on year after year.”
What role do they think museums have in community’s?
“There isn’t a museum in Kilmaluag, but in my opinion museums are very important especially to this island. They are very useful to provide information and keep the old way of life alive and they are also very good for informing people about Skye’s history to the visitors that come to Skye.”
What advice would they give to young people about preserving traditions and the community’s way of life?
“The advice I would give young people is to always be friendly and honest, mix with people and be willing to help anyone. Don’t do anything you think will upset anyone, be one of the community and help out as often as you can. Never think you are better than anyone else, everyone is equal and if you work together you will get the job done!”
Hola! Yesterday, Karen and I attended the Boruca and Rey Curre youth workshops. Participants discussed the journey their communities have been through and worked together to produce five questions for a elder in the community.
We also met with the community committee preparing for our upcoming bi-regional youth exchange from Europe to Costa Rica. We discussed the various activities and cultural experiences that both Costa Rican and European young people will enjoy.
We presented the Scottish and Portuguese young people to the committee and even shared some Scottish Gaelic phrases.
“Open-air museum on Skye joins international project to unite cultural communities” – The National
We have new imaging/video equipment for the youth programme. Each young person will have the opportunity to use this equipment during the programme.
In February’s workshop we will be hosting a tutorial on how to use these tools.
Fàilte Portugal! The first Portuguese bi-regional youth exchange workshop was held on Saturday 14th January at the Museu de Chapelaria (Hat Museum), São João da Madeira near Porto, Portugal.
Just like in the Isle of Skye, young people discussed and shared their hopes and expectations of the programme. The workshop was held at the Museu de Chapelaria with activities facilitated by Museu de Chapelaria’s Curators, Paula Menino Homem (Universidade do Porto) and Jamie Allan Brown (University of St Andrews).