Foto: Kati Koreneff
I mentioned how I have been missing singing while living in Sydney, especially singing Estonian choral music, and my friend figured that there must be a choir in Sydney as there is in Canada. When I returned to Australia in September I found that, yes indeed, there is a choir called "Lõke" practising every Monday! I joined the choir to simply sing in Estonian but, as usual, one little decision can open a whole new world. And so it started. Not only was I happy to be part of local Estonian community, with one leg, but couple of months later on Kästiööpäev at Eesti Maja one of my choir's sopranos approached me with an offer. She asked if I would be interested in coming to Sõrve camp this year. I had no idea what to expect but at the same time I became avidly curious. After all, how lucky am I to get that kind of invitation as an outsider and I decided that I would be a complete fool not to accept a new and exciting offer. So I said "yes"!
A week before the camp I started to doubt if I had made a right decision. And so came the question... I don't know if I can handle the kids! Heavens - it's a whole week! I'm sure I will be more of a nuisance than help! The leaders' meeting was quite informative, however, in my
mind only the corner pieces of the puzzle had gotten into place. Why did I have to say "Yes"? Why? But I had already promised. So jump off the cliff and land please!
The first day at the camp was confusing. It was a beautiful place but because I had missed the earlier camp orientation, I had no idea what was where? Who is who? Who am I?
It seemed that everybody knew everybody. The pattern was following: kids grow up at the camp, become leaders and then send they're kids to the camp. No confusion. Everybody knows the camp's drill. I, on the other hand, was walking around on the camp's premises like a headless chicken and checked my daily schedule almost every minute. Thankfully I was lucky enough to be the abijuht for Krista Midri, as she patiently helped me through every step. I was her prentice. And I was asking questions all the time too – about every single matter! Quite annoying I reckon.
The first couple of days I was struggling to wrap my head around all the new information but the days were so active that I didn't have time to be perplexed. I believe Sõrve was more educative to me than to some of the children. So many new experiences, starting from a bushwalk in the type of nature my eyes hadn't witnessed yet, finishing with observing the process of organising, which was extremely fascinating. I felt like a mere sing-along in this operation. Kati, the head of Sõrve, must have been sleeping couple of days straight after the week ended!
Furthermore, it hasn't been such a long time from my childhood but it seems that I have completely forgotten how a child's mind works. So how does it work? After making couple of rookie mistakes my questions were answered. For example: don't ask volunteers to come to the stage because everyone is volunteers.
Sõrve is a camp where I would definitely send my kids in the future, because work and whistle go hand in hand. I find tare inspections to be quite a fascinating invention. Desire to win the daily competition the kids seemed to learn more creative solutions. No mercy on being creative! Starting from handicraft (that I enjoyed by the way) finishing with
Estonian folk dances and songs – and I was the happiest one to be part of the folk dance class!
It seems that the laagrielanikud didn't have any time to sit and stare and I think this is good. Through activities, the kids became familiar with each other, broke the ice and some lost they're timidity, became friends and kept they're mind busy. It was so rewarding to witness their development and ingenuity; I was astonished numerous times.
At almost every leaders meeting, I hadn't laughed like that for a long time. Lord, have mercy! There were moments to remember forever.
I found the experience of being a leader quite interesting and refreshing, because living in an adults world I tend to forget how awesome my childhood really was, and that the child in me is still there. I'm the same person; except that time and social matters have done their job on how I see the world now. A week at Sõrve becomes like a new world, a window to childhood. It's like a time and nostalgia therapy. The child in me still remembers how to find fun and happiness in the little things and it's so entertaining to see how kids solve certain situations or tasks - they are so smart! I find the child "smartness" to be something that we, grown-ups, have lost. We have become numb and much too serious.
On the last evening one of the previous leaders told me that every year after camp she felt that she could take on the world. That thought has a reflection of truth.
Thus, a simple wish to sing again brought me to this surprisingly beautiful experience. And that is why Sõrve is my surprise egg.
Thank you, Barbara Kalamäe, for inviting me to Sõrve and Lembit Suur, for organising my sponsorship! Also, thank you to all the patient leaders, Kati, and all the older and wise ones.
The most pleasure I found in witnessing the continuation of traditions, not only Estonian but a community's wish to come together and celebrate the sense of belonging with full enjoyment. That is the biggest value of Sõrve and I hope you know how lucky you are.
Long live Sõrve!
|Sõrve – a surprise egg My Sõrve experience started in August, in Saaremaa. I was visiting an old friend of mine and we were sitting in the kitchen, sipping peppermint tea, and talking about what had happened and what could happen in the following year.|