Experience Cultures and Enjoy Diversity

Temple and Enchanted Castle

On Wednesday afternoon our project started with its well-deserved name “Experience Cultures and Enjoy Diversity”

Our trip started at lunchtime on the grounds of our Italian partnership school. From there we were picked up by a bus which took us to the so called „Enchanted Castle“.

It’s a garden with an infinity of mysterious faces carved into the rock made with the unusual creativity of Filippo Bentivegna. A person who, for over 50 years, hadn’t done anything but sculpt and carve heads, creating more than three thousand faces, some perhaps resembling famous historical figures, others with wide-eyed expressions.

Our tour was meant to begin at the foot of a mountain which we were able to climb under perfect weather conditions. Our efforts were rewarded at the top of the mountain with a wonderful view of the sea and the city below. The view was breathtakingly beautiful!

We were surprised to find that our ascent was accompanied by group of music students from the same school.

They were singing Sicilian songs and made the ascent less hard for everyone. From very early on we were impressed by huge bits of rock in the shape of heads that had many versatile faces carved into the stone.

At one of the mountains highest points all students and teachers took a break when suddenly a young actress appeared behind us to perform the tale of Filippo Bentivegna with a short play. During this play everyone learned a lot about Filippo Bentivegna, his tremendous creativity and his hard work with creating more than 3000 heads of rock down to the smallest, detailed carvings.

The play was accompanied by music which was meant to help us listeners back shift in time and therefore served the purpose of a perfect foundation for the following task. The 3000 heads of rock show particular emotions and expressions. We realized that diversity can be portrayed with the illustration of emotions. The task was for everyone to find partner who was unknown to us, to look into each others eyes for five minutes and not to speak a single word.

There was a beautiful peace and silence at this historical place. Nobody was talking or gesticulating yet still so many emotions and information were exchanged.

Afterwards every participant was given the time to move around in between these impressive carvings. The stone grottos, which were built inside the mountain creating a sub terrestrial labyrinth, were particularly interesting for us students.

Our visit to the Enchanted Castle was topped off beautifully by a joint traditional Italian lunch.

After these wonderful impressions and emotions our further travels led us into the history of old Greece. Once again, we got onto the bus which took us to „Agrigento“ an important location for Greece in the antique.

At the foot of a mountain we could only guess which impressive buildings we were going to visit. We were right in the middle of an archeological site of old Greece. At this sight you can visit the biggest remaining temples of antique Greece. Even today it’s a symbol for greatness, power and a true treasure of cultural inheritance.

Today the temples are part of the UNESCO world heritage. We qiucly found out why they are some of the most important constructions of the world. Huge greek pillars emerge from the ground the left the most impressive moment when the sun went down.

As these beautiful pillars are a true image of the culture and history the greeks build these impressive pillars to honour their gods. We could learn many thinks about the religion in antique Greece by doing a guided tour.

Eventually we enjoyed a beautiful sunset which served perfectly as a motive for many amazing photographs.

Both trips were special in their own way.  They helped us to bring history alive and made sure the students could experience cultural diversity. 

1st day in Sciacca meeting

Our adventure begins on Monday, the 12th November 2018, when, one by one our guest partners arrived in Sciacca.

Each group was met and the guest students were introduced to their host families who quickly took them home and got them settled in ‘Sicilian style’, good food, friendly hospitality.

The next day, Tuesday, all the students and teachers involved in the project met in the school’s main hall. Our headmistress, Ms. Giuseppa Diliberto, welcomed our guest partners wishing all the best for a profitable meeting, enjoyable activities and stimulating experiences.

Each school gave a presentation of their schools and the courses they offer and their participation in the European dimension.

Ms Katherine Mùnstermann then presented the project outlining its aims and objectives in the light of the development of more and more multicultural societies.

Following the presentation of the project the students began their first activity by creating an ‘Answer Garden’ inserting a word that conveys their personal idea of ‘diversity’. The word that the majority of students used to define diversity was ‘OPINION’.

At the end of this activity there was a break before leaving school to visit the Carnival Museum.

2nd day in Sciacca meeting (Face across sea)

A part of the program presented at Sciacca was called : «A face across the sea». Two adolescent refugees from Africa spoke during the presentation.

 

 

They spoke about their personal experiences about the difficulties they had since they were forced to leave their homeland due to war and poverty, until the moment when they alone, losing their families, were hosted by the Sciacca inhabitants. There, they met the humanity, the care and the love of the inhabitants. Their dignity and their narrations about their life were shocking. It was a presentation of the real life of the refugees. It became completely perceived by all with the help of the teachers of the Sciacca school.

Then, after being informed by the responsible organization who takes care of refugees, the students were asked to record in one word each, on the white paper that was on the wall, their feelings about the diversity and the refugee .

In addition, divided into two children from all countries present, they read “The rules of the travel” .They were rules that can protect  the refugees from different problems.

It was a very interesting activity,  that  moved, trouble and mobilized the students and teachers.

3rd day in Sciacca meeting

Workshop on diversity and farewell party

At 08.30 am, we started working together in the school. The students worked together in international mixed groups, which our hosting school had arranged before the meeting. The students sat in their groups to listen to the instructions given by the Italian teachers. Each group got a different task, but all tasks were on the theme of the project; diversity. One group made a film, where they interviewed each other, one group recreated the life story of a young migrant, who we listened to the day before. Another group coloured the colours of the rainbow and wrote words that they associate with each colour on the theme diversity, another group wrote a short story and one group worked about “The Enchanted Castle”, which we visited the day before. After working together, the whole morning, the groups presented their work for each other and for all teachers. They did a great job and learnt a lot, not only about diversity but also about working together and communicating over a common task in a language that was no one’s first language.

The teachers also had a meeting in the afternoon to talk about upcoming tasks, trips and plan our project more in detail. We also talked about how we are dividing the tasks and the responsibilities.

In the evening, there was a farewell party for all students and teachers at a local pizzeria. It was great fun, but sad at the same time since our first project meeting was coming to an end after a great week with great sunny weather, lots of new friends and many new experiences. There was lots of food, music and dance. As dessert, there was a big Erasmus cake. A fun night together, that will be remembered.

Photos of Sciacca meeting