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P y h ä j o e n K u u l u m i s e t – 2 6 . 4 . 2 014

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T.I.M.E. Comenius


Elblag is devoid of good music?! Well, there might be a grain of truth in it since a number of its inhabitants keep complaining that the impact of a looming pop and disco monster is so overwhelming that you can hardly escape it. That`s why we`ve decided to visit the only cradle of good music in the town and talk a little about the influence the club has on the place. And, however provocative the statement ’good music’ sounds, it is not to become the subject of either discussion or article. What we take a particular interest in is the need of varied music as a cultural aspect in the town. And the only place making an effort to live up to our expectations is MJAZZGA. The name is a combination of two words. Certainly, anyone can catch the voiced and distinct ‘jazz’ in it and the rest is derived from the Polish word ‘miazdzyc’ which means nothing more than ‘smash’. Interpretation? The owner – Wojtek Minkiewicz- indicates just a practical side of it (‘it`s catchy’) leaving it up to anyone interested in figuring it out. What matters, in fact, is not the name of the club, but its impact – and this one is really impressive.

Opened in 2011, it has become one of terrifyingly few (or is the only one?) places offering its customers a range of concerts, incredible atmosphere and open-minded people around and, for this reason, gained instant popularity with the seekers of good music. Contrary to our expectations, the club is not very spacious but professionally equipped and ensuring very high quality sound. Music played during concerts is varied; jazz, blues, alternative rock, reggae, punk, poetry… and a lot more. The club regularly invites young bands longing for local recognition and trying to make their mark in music. They are also given a chance to support wellknown artists and the town - to listen and see them giving live performances. Is it easy? Certainly not! Wojtek wages a constant struggle for financial resources to keep the club, raise interest of artists and customers. Is it worth? Certainly yes! Trivial and banal as it might seem, it gives tremendous satisfaction and lots of fun. ‘ I do it for both passion and money – is there anything better than managing to have these two? You know, I need money to provide for my family and to keep the club. And living like this does need sacrifices and making choices; but when I see so many hap-

py people coming to my club – yeah, I know it was the right decision!’ Modest as he is, he can easily recognize the significance of the club in the cultural deve-

lopment of the town. ‘Culture is in us. It can manifest itself in many ways. I create it in my own way. You have it deep inside you and it’s dependent on the desire to drag it outside. If

it is really strong, you`ll never be happy unless you release it! That`s what I did when I founded the club. The conclusion is simple then – I`m happy!’ So, do we need culture and

music. Oh, yes we do. And we can also combine it with pleasure and money. Winking and smiling with satisfaction, Wojtek asks rhetorically ‘It`s feasible, isn’t it?’

T.I.M.E. Comenius


The leader is Mr. Wojciech Lawrynowicz from Elblag. We met him on Friday at 2 p.m. The building is near the Old Town in Elblag. This group is especially interested in history of the region which dates back to the Middle Ages. People from this group are called Truso. In northern Poland there was one of the biggest Vikings centers and the first warship – Dragon - was launched in this place. When Wojciech Lawrynowicz was younger he was very interested in history and culture. This is his job and passion, he loves it. His wife is a Viking too so their situation is very good. They also have two daughters. All members of the group use Vikings costumes and all the costumes are handmade. They

use clay for making dishes they need and felt to sew their clothes. They fight with swords, shields and armors. There are members of different ages, also children. If you want to say “hello” in the Vikings language, you should shout. If interested in joining the group, you must live up to their demands and these are certain personality traits. They will never accept a dishonest or unreliable person. You need to be trustworthy and, most of all, you must have fun from what you do. In 10th century in the region there were Vikings from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. Nowadays there are Vikings from Poland for example in such cities as Elblag and Gdansk. The history of the Vikings is international. Television abounds with TV series showing their lifestyle, but also confirming stereotypes in the viewers` consciousness. One of them was undermined

by Mr Lawrynowicz – the popular image of a Viking wearing a helmet with upward horns. In fact, for practical reasons Vikings never wore such helmets – in a fight there would have been too big a danger of having your spine broken after being hit with a sword. The Truso takes part in a number of festivals and gives concerts and fighting shows. They organize workshops of craft where they make their equipments, jewellery and clothes. On every Sunday the Truso has a meeting to train, fight and practice their craft. A few times per year they have a camp where technological and electronic devices are absolutely forbidden. They don’t even drink coffee. The Vikings are and were very hygienic. They take showers and brush teeth. The group is not a real family but they live like a big family. In Viking’s hierarchy the women’s position is higher than men’s. Viking women had very beautiful and expensive jewellery, the example of which we had a chance to see. In the past they hunted and ate animals, mainly fish and pigs. They didn’t have sugar or so many spices, so they used honey. Vikings were farmers and sometimes pirates. The Vikings love freedom and life close to nature and those children who are in the group spend their free time in fresh air, not with computers. Mr.

Lawrynowicz says: “A dirty child is a happy child.” The Vikings want to show their different life and culture. Their passion creates our

and their personality. In our opinion, the Viking’s life is incredible, difficult, atypical and a bit weird. They are wild people living in our time. We think

that passion is very important for everybody. People are very happy when they have some passion in their lives.


Imagine this. Elblag. A small community located in the north of Poland. Just two cinemas, one McDonald's, and no shopping mall. And yet, in such a small city, somebody took initiative to establish a humanitarian association like Viva Art. The next question is obvious. So what is this Viva Art? Founded in 1998, this organization is a ray of sunshine in the lives of the disabled citizens of this community. It was when Teresa Miloszewska first worked with a handicapped individual that she realized how difficult their lives actually are, and decided to do something in an attempt to help them. Not only are they in a continuous danger in today's world, but it is nearly impossible for them to be accepted and to connect with other people. We may not realize it, but such a benefactory organisation has a tremendous impact not only on the life of the disabled, but also on their families. And what better way is there

to help them express their feelings and become more open and sociable than through art? Music, painting, drama, photography – they are all methods through which we develop, so

why can't the disabled do that as well? Needless to say, the change observed in these individuals through Art Therapy is incredible. Teresa is proud of her

work – and she has reasons to. So how does she do it? It's impossible to coordinate and manage a project of such amplitude all by herself. Thus, help is needed! Her

volunteers are of critical importance in this programme, but due to the emotional vulnerability of her participants, not anybody can join. There is a minimum age of twelve yea-

rs old required, and a one-year long specialist course that you must take, but it's all worth it, because you are sure to make a huge change in people's lives. Another aspect of utmost importance is, as in any matter, the money. Financial aid is hard to obtain nowadays, but Teresa is currently managing, both through benefactors and through her own funds. The future Teresa sees for the organization is bright. She wishes to create partnerships with other associations of this type in foreign countries, in order to take this to another level and to be able to create an international foundation someday. Therefore, if you are aware of such a project in your country, we are encouraging you to contact Teresa and propose a merge! As a group of youngsters, we look up to Teresa and have a great appreciation for the humanitarian work she does, as well as for the amount of work and obstacles she struggles with every day! We sincerely reckon that such an institution can be a source of inspiration so that other people can take her example and get engaged in such activities as well.

T.I.M.E. Comenius


During our Comenius project meeting in Poland we visited an unusual group of scouts in Elblag called “Wataha”. The leader of the scout group, Krzysiek, welcomed us and told us everything we need to know about Wataha. They develop practical skills during summer camps, sing songs, play camp games and make some hand works. So what is so special in their activities? They are connected to culture. Every year they come up with a program the aim of which is to delve into some concept. Last year they decided to focus on the concept of culture. Thanks to money from the Eu-

ropean Union they were able to visit towns where culture is around the people: Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan and Wroclaw. During their culture project they went to the streets to both teach and learn. They met a group of jugglers and asked them if they could teach them something. In return they taught other people skills earlier familiar only to them. In other words, it was a simple deal - knowledge for knowledge. They were doing it for passion not for money, which shows the main idea behind the whole project. When talking about culture, it is very important to get young people active. While video games and social media are getting huge popularity, it is hard to get children, teenagers and young adults to go out and

have fun with one another. Scouts are a great example of what it is like to enjoy yourself through culture and arts. Less is more, they say. It is also important to show everybody what you’re made of. When people have talent, they should not be afraid to show it. And once again, scouts know it. That’s why, every year, they come up with exhibitions to show the works they have made. And, as we’ve heard, they’ve been very succesful. The future of Wataha seems bright. They already have big plans for this year - their next project will be to learn about sailing. We keep our fingers crossed for their plans, and are definately sure that such a great group as Wataha is, will succeed without any problems!


Why is culture so important in our life? Because we can develop our intellectual and manual skills. In Elblag there are a lot of places where we can spend free time after school. We visited Community Centre for young people in Elblag. There are really a lot of sections, for example: vocal, theater art section. There are also studio recordings and drumming section. Janina Dziwniel-Stepka, director of the Community Centre, is an amazing person. Thanks to her and this institution, a number of people have achieved a lot in the area of art. Apparently, she is very proud of them all and it`s not a manifestation of her vanity because she has a reason for that! What we learnt from our visit in the center is that you can find some incredible young people there. They have developed their passion and the director says that passion is so-

mething you have in your heart . if you do something but you don`t love it, it doesn `t matter how hard you try, it will never be true… that`s why she encouraged us to develop real passion in our hearts sometimes disregarding our disabilities, imperfections or limitations. Teenagers have different cultures. Their understanding of culture includes rather hanging out with friends, going to pub, surfing the Internet and shopping. Supposedly, saying that Internet is the greatest `cultural centre’ for young people won`t be too far-fetched. Nowadays for example arts, playing instruments, drama and dancing, even if undertaken by young people, don`t last long. The reason for that might be a different perception of culture by teenagers – more superficial and easier… Such places and people enable us to change our point of view… and make an effort, contribution, maybe change… Culture doesn’t have limits. Everything we create or invent is culture and, as a result, we also take advantage of it by

constant self- development. In this age of superficiality only passion can be an instrument to defeat our inner boredom. People should understand the importance of such

cultural centers since they give us such opportunity. In this centre we met a blind artist and we realized that passion has no limits and it doesn`t have to be confined by any

physical disabilities. We have seen art from a different point of view and we consider ourselves lucky to have had such a chance. Human isn’t only the creator

but also the basic inspiration for the creation of culture. In this way we both create and inspire.

T.I.M.E. Comenius Elblag  

6th issue of T.I.M.E. Comenius newspaper

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