Soup seems tastier on self-made benches!
Although they say that the Riebiņi parish is the poorest in Latvia, the main wealth of the district – the people from the biggest village of the rural district - Sīļukalns are still there and willing to improve their life.
A recent poll among the locals unfolded a lingering problem – there are very few leisure activities that would be interesting for young boys and men in the prime of their life, besides, there are 32 boys among the 51 pupils of the local primary school… As sports is the free-time activity that unites the majority of the local male population, the Sīļukalns grassroots activists decided to update and tidy out the sports ground – the only place where the young people can play football or volley-ball, as there is no sports hall in the vicinity.
"25 participants came together to put the sports ground into order," explains Anna Sondore, one of the most active grassroots member, teacher by profession. "I was glad to see that my pupils came together with their parents, and some of my colleagues from the school were also swept away by the idea to do some voluntary work for the benefit of our community. Our sports teacher Jānis Upenieks agreed to become the consultant of the project, and the school headmaster Marija Bernāne was ready to assist him with some advice. The sports methodologist of the Riebiņi municipality Pēteris Stankevičs became the work superintendant." Anna adds.
The local grassroots are extremely grateful to Andris Sondors for the timber, the Riebiņi municipality for additional financing, and all the participants praised the delicious snacks offered by the school chef Iluta Prikule. Although the expected number of participants was not reached due to the preparation for the graduation party and the all-nation Song and dance festival (which takes place once in 5 years and this year united the voices and the clicking of the heels of the 40 000 participants from throughout Latvia), a lot of work was done in Riebiņi," Anna recalls with a loving smile on her face: "We cleaned the basketball grounds, prepared the stands for new baskets, replaced the old volley-ball net-holders with new ones and painted them, delivered and levelled sand on the volley-ball, long-jump and high-jumping grounds, and yet the main efforts were taken to make 17 brand new spectator benches, 4 metres long each. The benches are to be painted yet, but I am sure that they will be actively used by the kids, sportsmen and the supporters. By the way, there was enough work for the kids as well as the grown-ups," Anna Sondore noted. "Let us all meet at the next voluntary joint work day, and take your friend with you, will you?"
Funny to say, but 1/5 of the activists bore the family name Upenieks, a living proof of the former name of the parish – Upenieki. The others represented the efficient and responsive Daideri, Bruzguli, Sondori, Broki, Baltgalvji, Teilāni families. (Isn't it funny, how different the surnames of people from various countries are… Who will be the first to read them out aloud properly?)