At the end of February we went on a trip to Jelgava, Latvia. It was arranged by YWAM (Youth With A Mission), which is a global Christian movement aiming at helping people around the world. You can check more about YWAM here: http://www.ywam.org/about-us/
The trip was different from any vacation type of trip I’d been on before, because its purpose was helping the ones in need rather than enjoying the tourist attractions. We were 350 people from 34 different nations. The Swedish team of around 50 people travelled from Stockholm by ferry. In Jelgava we all stayed at a school, which was offered to us by the city governors to be used as accommodation during the trip.
There was a range of different activities we did. First, we received trucks from other European countries with donations of food, clothes, household items, toys for children, etc. We sorted everything, so that it could be given out to the people in need afterwards. We were not only giving food and clothes to the poor, but also wanted to show them that they are loved and cared about. Second, there were many events organized: for women, for children, youth meetings, visits to a mental hospital and a prison. It was a truly rewarding experience and I’m sure many lives have been changed during this trip. You can check the videos that friends, who were also there, have made:
Finally, even though we were aiming at visiting the least attractive, poorest, and definitely not touristic places of the city, we still managed to enjoy some walking and sightseeing. It was great to go on top of a tower and enjoy a panoramic view of the whole city from the skydeck. The tower also had a museum showing the history and culture of Latvia.