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una magazine

April 2014

Kemst þó hægt fari

Index 4 Introduction 6 Fish Factory 8 Horseman 12 Education 15 Local Media 16 Stone Lady 18 Blooms 20 Mythology 22 Gallery



Editorial When we had our first meeting as coordinators of this workcamp, just to try to organize some activities and share some ideas how to make everything work, we were excited and full of expectations. We were both familiar with Eskifjörður and we were well aware how beautiful is that place in the Eastern fjords. Just the perfect location for a project connected with photography. We cannot hide we were

also a bit worried about some possible issues that could arise. Eskifjörður is a very small community and not so many things use to go on there. We thought it would have been hard to find enough interest ing material for a full magazine and we were also worried the volunteers wouldn’t have the chance to fill their free time with meaningful and interesting activities. Last but not least, we knew we were going to share the same spaces with

another workcamp. We were aware that the building we were supposed to live in would have been very crowded and that for sure it would not be the perfect condition to focus and find the concentration for writing articles. Surprisingly, not only all our expectation were met, but also our fears turned out to be pointless: our amazing eight volunteers brought enthusiasm and interest in discovering new places and in

meeting new people, passion in writ ing, talent in shooting pictures and most of all, the ability to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. With such a flow of good vibrations, everything turned out to be very easy for us. Autonomous but also willing to cooperate and to help each other, Alex, Emiliano, Jinwoo, Jun, Juriko, Kaori, Sun Young and Matthieu decided to concentrate to fo cus on a specific topic: job. How is it to work in Eskifjordur?

Which kind of activities people from this village do? How is their daily work-life? What happened after the 2007 crisis? Which one are their future plans and dreams? These were only few of the questions we tried to answer in this number of the

UNA mag az ine, all of us sharing the w illingness to discover more about this small and wonderful community. Our eight amazing volunteers, coming from

France, Italy, Japan, South K o r e a a n d Taiwan made their best and this is definitely the result of their creativity, interests and enthusiasm. Everything sounds too perfect? Well, If you don’t believe our words, just read their articles and take a look at their pictures, you won’t be disappointed! Enjoy reading,

Alessandro and Essi

Fish Factory

Eskifjörður is located in the far east of Iceland, there where the long Reyðarfjörður divides and creates a small arm of the sea for a few miles, and where Hólmatindur, the great mountain is reflected in the beautiful blue waters of the fjord. A few hardy souls, just over a thousand, live in this village where only fishing offers them a dignified life spanning about two hundred years (it is estimated that around 3,0000 people - up to 20 per cent of the workforce - depend on the ocean for their livelihood). It is not surprising therefore that it is just the fishing that has given rise to the local fish factory, right near the small town harbor and a short walk from the spa. The factory is not very large. In fact, only twenty people are working hard inside. Each day the factory is visited by approximately three vessels during the fishing season. It seems that Þór is the most productive. He takes his name from the god of thunder, and aptly he is a big man with a red beard, sweet smile, and signed hands by hard work. This god of T h u n d e r a n d n ow f r e s h fish welcomes us warmly, as typical of small villages he displayed characteristic curiosity of every inhabitant on this wonderful island. He wanted to talk with me and

I want to reply in kind to him. I and got to know him better. He sits on a low wall, fashioned in working overalls and anti- noise headphones still resting on his head, a blissful conversation began i n f r o n t o f h u ge f i s h i n g nets draped on the ground creating a small hill about five meters tall. In perfect English ,actually far better than a Scotsman drinking in town, he told me about the factory, as the crisis of 2007 and the mismanagement threatened to close it, the only source of livelihood of the small community. He told me of his life and of his state of workingman. Before taking his current job, he worked for ten years in the f r e ez i ng cha m be r o f t h e fish, its intensive physical labour for strong men, as are the Icelanders always. Now, the pay is better and t h e wo r k i s m u ch m o r e tender. We started talking about national politics, this massively Polish immigration in the nation (1,500 of polish people lives

and works in Reyðarfjörður, a few km from Eskifjörður, where they make up 75% of the workforce who are constructing the Fjarðarál aluminum plant) . But Þór e s p e c i a l ly l ove s t h e s e a . The relationship between the Icelanders and the surrounding nature is emblematic, mutual respect is tangible with hand. Þór t o l d m e h ow w i t h i n t h e ve s s e l t h e r e a r e a l w ays biologists who have the task of controlling which species can be caught or not, or nests in which particular species of marine birds lose feathers individually, which are then collected to create winter clothing . There is no violence in the customs Icelandic. Therefore, only extreme respect towards the surrounding nature. After an hour, I realized I am still in the factory, but the geniuses of the words from Þór and tranquility that surrounds

me, made me forget the toil and sweat of the working class in Iceland. Emiliano Jatosti



Feel Horses with Heart !

es are familiar animals to us but not really compared to cats or dogs. Usually horses can be seen in the countryside or in zoo. It is fantastic to have an experience of riding a horse as horses do not grow on every hedge, but I met horses here in Iceland. I will tell the story that I felt with my eyes, hands, heart and the sweat of my brow. Eskfjordor, in the East of Iceland, is a village on the edge of many fjords, and I met Beggie there, who is working in horse stable as a trainer. Another worker there is a guy who showed us his big smile, he made time to talk with us briefly and was willing to take part in an interview. On the field, there are about 10 horses that looked like statues, inactive, and peaceful. Horses excited my curiosity. Icelandic horses differ in size to Korean horses I have seen before.(Right, I am Korean.) Korean horses have a larger skeleton and muscular body. In contrast, Icelandic horses have fleshy bodies as a soft doll. Also, the hairs on their heads and tail are so full and rich, graceful. Cool! now let us meet the horses! I decided to be ‘Su-Jung Lim’, who is a Korean actress and took a part in a movie ‘Lump of Sugar’. ‘Lump of Sugar’ is about a friendship between a horse and a girl. In this movie, Lim played the role of a girl named ‘Shi-Eun’, who lives on a farm and is raised by her single father. There is a horse named ‘Thunder’, and he is Shi-Eun’s only friend. They go through a lot of trouble because Shi- Eun’s father does not want her to do works related to a farm or a horse. However Shi-Eun’s dream is to become a greatest horse trainer, so she stands firmly against the opposition and keeps going in her own way. The most important thing for her is to train horses

and to treat them as living things who have feelings like humans. Part of this movie directly shows how people can be mean and selfish for their own interests through abusing animals: merciless whipping, intense competition, fraud and deception. In the film, Shi-Eun says, “It is not whipping but a trainer’s heart that moves horse.” Unlike other jockeys who eagerly keep whipping horses for a higher speed, She gently touches the horse, and tries to understand him. The setting of this movie is Jeju Island, which is one of the islands in Korea. It is quite small but has nice natural sceneries as Iceland does, and also it is famous for horses. When I was young, I went to Jeju Island for sightseeing and had an experience of riding a horse. A few years passed, and I once again had a chance to ride a horse here in Iceland just for few seconds. The reason why Jeju Island is famous for the horses is because of the natural environment which is very suitable for raising horses. In Iceland, on the other hand, the horse has been regarded as a good means of transportation through history because the distance between cities in the country is too far. Not only the background of movie is same with Iceland, but also Beggie is similar to ShiEun in this movie. He started to do something about horses when he was 11 years old and he has been with horses for 14 years. One of the most interesting things is that his father started to work as stable man later than him! For Beggie, stable work is not a work, but is his life itself. As we visit his stable, we rode a horse alongside a beautiful sea. "Beggie, do you communicate with horses and can you read their mind?" I asked. Surely,


I thought that answer would be "sure" and it was "sure". He said "There are no words like humans but I can catch their feeling as I watch their behavior or some sounds." For example, "As you see outside of window, they just stand still without movement, which seems so calm. But If they run away or move fast, it means that they feel afraid of something" and he added "I can recognize with how they squeal, and how they act." Immediately following, I asked a silly question. "I am untrained. Do you think it is easy for me to understand the horses’ feeling?", He said "Of course, you can catch their feeling from their tail" and this answer made me surprised. "Opposite to dogs, if a horses’ tail swings very quickly, it means they are angry and uncomfortable." If I did not know that, I would touch an angry horse and be kicked by his foot! He said again, "yes we can. We feel, just feeling." I asked to Beggie 'Is Thunder', your best friend amongst the horses? He said "My own horses are just 8, and I love 'Kiya' and 'Rudk' the most".

Kiya is female horse who has white line on the center of her face and Rudk is little horse who is son of Kiya! The reason why he loves them was 'communication' and 'sympathy'. How lovely! He kindly handed me cookies and hot coffee although I was a total stranger. It was enough to feel his hospitality and I could easily imagine that he treats animals with the same affection and friendliness as he treated me. The next morning, the other campers and I went back to Beggie's stable again to help with some tasks there. We put hay in the manger. At that time I found a horse who resembled Thunder from the movie with the other horses. He has a white spot on his forehead as Thunder does. I stroked his neck as Lim would have. Beggie moved his stable to here just a few months ago, he does not settle perfectly so we helped to dig the ground and get rid of a lot of stones in the basement for 2 hours. Marie, who is volunteer from France, said "Digging was too intense labor but it is interesting to work at stable because it was first experience for me". Essi, one camp leader from Finland, told "Volunteering is the reason why we are here, I am so pleased" and added "If it is possible at the Work camp then we are willing to help complete tasks regularly as a volunteer." Jiwoo Kang

The source of loving jobs! : Nature, Freedom, Safety in Iceland! At first, I was not really interested in Iceland, but as time passed I began to look forward to experience something special, after I made up my mind to participate in "Workcamp" in Iceland. It looks like the unknown world, unlike other countries. Therefore, I wanted to look at something wonderful and keep in mind my own feelings vividly. In this sense, it was a great choice to take part in this voluntary service in Iceland because it was a good chance that I could experience the Icelandic life and working

and living here also by taking pictures of the beautiful nature and talking with local people. I had an interview with "Beggi" working in the stable, I can feel his free spirit and peaceful mind. I was very curious about the reasons why he is training horses in the farm because I like horses. When we visited the stable at first, we met "Beggi" fortunately. (we also met "Sconsing", his dog and faithful friend.) "Beggi" was working in the stable with his father, and I heard that he became interested in the horses naturally because his uncle's work was related to horses. This is why he choose his job as a horse trainer.


He is 26 years old now, so he has been training horses for over 10 years!! It is generally said that anyone could be a professional if he or she works in any field for over 10 years. I thought that he had a good knowledge and he feels positive emotion about horses because he worked for a long time. So we asked him whether he has a good communication way with horses. He told me that he could notice their emotions such as when they want to run away or when they are very tired by their actions and conditions. Those would be a kind of useful signs to know for me. For example, if horses shake their tails, it means that they are angry. I was surprised because I know that if dogs shake their tails, it means that they are happy, but horses are different from dogs. And I asked him another question, "I think that the eyes of horses are very beautiful! If you look at them, can you know their emotion?" He told me that he can notice their emotion from their eyes confidently. Their eyes look very tired and sometimes sad. So, I would like to know their average working time during a day. I found out that their average training time per day is about one and half an hours or even two hours. It seems like that the horses have a tough training time or they may be lazy because they never move and just blink. Finally, we asked him "Do you have any other difficulties when you work in the stable?" He told me that he does not have any other (special) problems. He must be a happy guy that can love and enjoy his working. I envy his passion for

his job because it seems that I havent enjoyed my job so far even I worked very hard. I was respectful of him after I tried to experience his work such as preparing the horse's food and digging up the farm. Although "Beggi" knows that the Germany farm is more fancy and cleaner than an Icelandic farm, he still likes the Icelandic stable more. This is because Icelandic farms have more freedom. "Iceland is also great!!!" Every time I go to the swimming pool to take a shower, I met many Icelandic people. I asked the same question to them, "What do you like the most about your country?" They told me that they like "Nature" and "Freedom". Because Icelandic people have great nature, it seems like that they tend to enjoy their nature freely. Maybe it is natural that Icelandic people are free. And they think that Iceland is very safe because crime rate here is very low. I believe that it must be safe because Iceland has great and beautiful nature so they can be free and peaceful. In other words, these advantages of Iceland are related to each other and make Iceland wonderful!!! My experience in the stable gave me such a meaningful memory, possibly the greatest attraction of Iceland is the freedom I feel here. It was a good opportunity to think about happiness and freedom in my life!!!

SunYoung Lee



Grunnskóli Eskifjarðar, the only school in Eskifjarðar, is an elementary school for kids aged from six to sixteen years old, with 135 students enrolled currently. The principles of the teaching here is mainly to inspire imagination, which makes the courses much more interesting for the students. Also, art plays an important role in the students’ daily life. It is combined with nearly all the courses in the school, so children in Eskifjarðar are well-equipped with an aesthetic sense of creativity. Usually, once kids have been taught the basic knowledge, their thoughts prone to be structured and then framed more or less, which might kills the imagination power of children. Therefore, what Grunnskóli Eskifjarðar does is to apply creative ways in every courses to stimulate the children’ creativity and imagination, meanwhile teaching them the basic academic knowledge too. In this way, the students can learn the rigid disciplines without their creativity being limited too much. Also, in this way, children tend to be more curious and interested about the knowledge, and can go to school learning with a more cheerful mind. Also, Grunnskóli Eskifjarðar deems artistic sense as a very critical ingredient for developing children, so art is integrated in most of the courses, which intrigues the

students’ interest of learning. Many artworks relative to various courses can be seen all around the campus. Furthermore, there is Spring Day once a week. All the students participate in beautifying the town during the day, adding cute and delightful flavors on Eskifjarðar. In addition, Grunnskóli Eskifjarðar designs the courses with a very wide range, many fascinating and not usually common subjects such as cooking and discovery class are included. Thus, the children in Eskifjarðar start to get familiar with various applied life skills of the world very soon. It is not only the traditional disciplines such as math, chemistry, and language that they learn, in that they can explore the world from multiple perspectives, and this stimulates their creativity and imagination completely. The general practice teachers apply is to assist the students

to find answers by themselves, rather than give the answers to them directly. As a result, the students does not just receive the information passively. They tend to use their brains more intuitively thinking of how to get the knowledge, which makes the learning process more enjoyable. F i n a l l y, a n d p e r h a p s , m o s t importantly, a significant part of Icelandic education is English. Icelandic people are very proud of their language and at the same time refuse to lose contact with the world. Therefore, the elementary school starts English courses from the third g rade, learning new things from outside and keeping the tradition greatly as well. Besides, there are several English programs on television and English films in cinema, which play important role in childhood. Thus, the Icelandic children have a positive environment to learn English. In one word, Grunnskóli


Eskifjarðar has great diversity and creative methodology for their elementary education. Children here are happy and willing to learn the curriculum and even more they are ready to explore the world. Lin, Yen-Chun

Working in the future. Working is not only for adult people. Imagine in 10 years. Who is working there? Yes. It is children who are playing in front of you. Then, what is a work for children? I think that is their “dream” because it is just a kind of wish at the present moment but can be a real job in the future. So thinking about work for children means that thinking about their dream and the future. I really wanted to know what they think and I tried interviewing with some children in Eskifijordur. First of all, I am really


surprised because they speak English very well. Moreover, they have learned English by themselves. Of course, they have English class in their school, but mostly, they got familiar with it by TV programme and Cinema. One teacher said they propose selfeducated style to enhance their imagination. It might be a result of that. Anyway, now we go back to the main topic; what are their dreams? When I asked this question, I felt children’ faces turned into serious. One child has an academic dream that he wants to be a paleontologist or archaeolog ist. Another child dream to be a chef and the last one answered that he would like to get any job about animal. They have big dreams even if they are in a small town. As I mentioned, they are really good at speaking English. Also, they are strongly interested in other countries Russia, Korea and Japan. They would like to go all around the world. I think it is a good attitude in the small town because there is no high educational institution here, so they have to go out from this town to continue their study for their dreams. Not only that, they have a great love to this town. I asked a question “do you like this town?” All of them answered “ Yes!” Of course, they are not satisfied with anything in their hometown. For example, they want a big shopping

centre. They want a theater with a big screen. They want fast food restaurant. I think young people leave here due to the lack of those kind of places. But, today, there is a lot of ways to connect with all over the world. They can buy anything on e-bay. They can watch movies on YouTube. They can search any recipe on the Internet. What I would like to say is that lifestyle is changing and working style would be changing. They are normal children a s c h i l d r e n f r o m a l l o ve r the world; they love snack and juice. But the future of Eskifijordur depends on them. I am really interested in the future of children and the town. I strongly hope to come back here to see them someday. Jun Yaguchi

Local Media Kristinn Þór Jónasson, who saw the ups and downs of Eskifjörður, loves this town so much that he created a facebook page and local newspaper for it in 2011, publishing everything about Eskifjörður, in order to activate the residents here. There are up-to-date news, astounding scenic pictures, and art or music events published in the facebook page as well as the monthly newspaper, which is free for the community. Kristinn’s goal is to awaken the minds of the people here hopefully making them happier. He believes that with the facebook page and the newspaper, the villagers will have no excuse for not receiving information about events and therefore the atmosphere of the town can be more delightful. Also, Kristinn hopes to keep the manpower, especially from young people, in the town by invigorating the community, since most young people in Eskifjörður usually look forward to living in big cities such as Reykjavik. With more and more connections amongst the residents within the community, it is believed that young people here will be more willing to stay and work in Eskifjörður. Kristinn has further expectations for his facebook page and newspaper. First of all, he wishes to encourage tourism in Eskifjörður, letting more and more people notice this beautiful town. Therefore, he is now planning to do the English version of the facebook page and the newspaper, making the media

more international. In addition to this, Kristinn is considering to arrange more local events by himself, such as inviting famous singers, since he has local sponsors who are well-supportive for his media. Finally, there is a good co-working opportunity between Kristinn’s media projects and the volunteering agencies such as the Worldwide Friend Organization. These two can mutually benefit each other in countless ways in that Kristinn’s media provides wide range of projects relative to the town to the volunteers, and the volunteers help to promote Eskifjörður while participating in the projects. Currently there are total three people, including Kristinn himself, maintaining the facebook page and the newspaper. And, Kristinn is striving for the support from residents' association of Eskifjörður, a lo cal org anizat ion wellconnected to the government, and from other local sponsors. With his efforts, It is certain that Kristinn can make his dreams come true, booming the popularity of Eskifjörður and make people here more loyal and supportive to the village. Lin, Yen-Chun

Stone Lady


Today we had a special chance to be invited to an Eskifjordur lady who took time to show us her amazing stone collection. Indeed, she has more than 3000 pieces collected throughout Iceland since 1976. No need to ask her what is her favorite stone because she loves all her collection. She is a passionate woman, and I was surprised to know that when she go searching for new pieces, she does not know in advance what she wants to find . But the story does not stop there, she does not only collect stones but also cut them to make them even more beautiful. Unfortunately there are not so many visitors to discover her magnificent collection. Only 800 people have come since the day she opened the museum. Furthermore, the museum is totally free! I wanted to know how long she could go out, and she answered that she could leave for several days to find THE stone she wants. Today I met a really interesting and really passionate person who wants to exchange and share her passion. Honestly she deserves to receive more visitors because her collection is really impressive. In her collection, you can find not only volcano rocks and stones from Iceland but also from the other countries. When you talk with her, she is always happy to answer any questions and give you the desire to learn even more about stones, and know how to start your own collection. Of course, I want to start my stone collection now. Matthieu Dqmbreville


Blooms On our way to swimming pool, there is one cute shop. Every time we go to the swimming pool, we feel like going into the shop because we are girls. The name of shop is Boggablom. It is a not such a big shop, but it attracts many people. Today, we could have chance to make some interviews in the shop. There was no owner today, so we interviewed two sales clerks named Steinunn Sigurdardottir and Arny Eiriksdottir instead. They were very kind to us and willing to answer our questions. This shop opens from 10 a.m. to 6p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. The reason why they opened this shop here is that previously there was no flower shop in this town. In other words, this is an only flower shop in this town. All flowers are sent from Reykjavik and grown in special rooms despite the cold weather. There are some species of Icelandic flower like Krusi however the clerk's favorite flower is a rose. Actually, this shop has not only flowers but also gift items. It seems that this shop is a place where people buy something nice for someone.

Almost all items are made in Reykjavik, but some of them such as candles are made in Poland. One of the Clerks likes the candle stand the best. She said that Icelandic products were nice in design but they tend to be a little expensive. There are some products shaped like Buddha although most Icelandic people are Christian. To our surprise, Buddhist designs are so fashionable in Iceland now! In Japan, we are familiar with Buddha, so we found it so interesting. Maybe Buddha's calm face gives people a sense of peace. When we asked them "Do you like your work style and your lifestyle here in Iceland?", they answered "Yes, of course!" They are satisfied with their work and they love Iceland because here is full of nature including mountains. We were happy because we could talk with such a friendly Icelandic people and they told us about their love for this exciting and inspiring country. Yuriko Kasahara Kaori Iyama



Mythology The term saga in Old Norse, (language in use among S c a n d i n a v i a n p o p u la t i o n s until the mid-fourteenth century) means "story" and, for each Icelandic, it is still an expression of all the adventure narratives. The literary production of sagas is among the richest in the Middle Ages, having nothing to envy to the traditions of Europe, be they Italian, German or Provencal. Most contemporary Germanists considers that the sagas are changed in their original oral structure according to an intervention of the transcribers. But beyond the academic disputes, seems to remain consistently integrates the suggestion of stories in the balance between news and fantasy, fruits of the desire to tell a past developed in the spirit of a people with a mighty powers of imagination. One of the most important of these beliefs has arrived so far and, as in the Scottish lake Loch Ness, a cryptid serpent, called Lagarfljótsormurinn by locals, is Believed by some to live in the depths of Lagarfljót, the largest lake of east Iceland.


This is the story being told. Once upon a time, a young girl living at a farm by the lake of Lagarfljót acquired a gold broach. She placed the broach in a box, underneath a slug, because she had heard that this would increase her gold. When the girl went to check on the gold broach a week later, the slug had grown so much that the box could hardly contain it. Extremely frightened, she grabbed the box and threw it as far out in the lake as she could. Time passed, and the monstrous wyrm’s convulsions began to threaten people living beside the lake. Not knowing what else to do, the farmers called on some Finns to help defeat the wyrm, since Finns were famous for their magical abilities. Upon their arrival, the Finns explored the river and came to the conclusion that the wyrm might prove too powerful, even for them.

Nonetheless, they decided to make the attempt and prepared to face it. The battle lasted a long time, with the people waiting on land easily noticing that a mighty struggle was taking place far beneath the surface. Finally the exhausted Finns emerged and declared that they had been unable to overpower the wyrm completely. They had however managed to fasten its head and tail to the lake bottom, where it will stay till the end of all days, without harming anybody. Therefore, no one need worry though they occasionally see the wyrm arching its body above the water. Where does reality begin and where does the fantasy end? The fact is that today the Lagarfljót, the product of an ancient ice age, is a place of extraordinary visual power. Its deep water, in a basin of about 25km that comes close to the sea, a gentle and rugged landscape carved by winds and towering waterfalls. It does not matter if you don't cast sight upon the monster just walk on the slopes of the mountains and let yourself be transported by the sound of the wind and by a breathtaking view.



Members of

Team Silent Alessandro


una magazine April 2014




published on 18th, March, 2014 From the northern island to you all over the world.






UNA magazine april 2014  

April 2014 number of UNA Magazine, the official Worldwide Friends' no profit organization. This mounth 8 volunteers focus on how is it the...

UNA magazine april 2014  

April 2014 number of UNA Magazine, the official Worldwide Friends' no profit organization. This mounth 8 volunteers focus on how is it the...