RTF in Medellín

In the middle of April, the Divers travelled to the capital city of the paisa region, Medellín. It’s time for RTF (Regional Training Forum) for CISVers. This is a training forum were many leaders and other committed people in CISV come together to be trained for all our programs, the JB and to be trainers for our future leaders of delegations.

When Ranis was doing Andinos (a blogpost of this will be published soon), I started the week with TTT – Train The Trainers. This was a very intense and exciting program worth participate in sometime. After spending some years with CISV you should know a lot of how everything works… After 3 days of TTT, you realize how little you actually knew about CISV and their educational principles. What we learned was how to create a positive learning environment, group development and group dynamics, collaboration in training teams, giving and receiving feedback, peace education and active global citizenship, CISV educational approach and so on..

During this week, we had 2 common sessions for all participants of RTF. The first one was about music where we played 3 totally different songs and asked the participants for their opinions, as if they were critics of a music magazine. The goal of this activity was to show that diversity also means disagreeing -not only about music tastes but also about issues where it is harder to say “it’s just a question of individual taste”. In our second common session, we gave the participants some paragraphs from our soon-to-be-published-book: The Kaleidoscope. We asked them to discuss how these paragraphs were related to diversity, and also gave them a teaser of our product.

After the first part of RTF/Andinos, we participated in AJBM – Americas Junior Branch Meeting. Our roles were mostly participants, but we also ran 2 activities. The first one was about social media, and how we approach ourself with just profiles, and not being able to talk to each other face-to-face. We made the participants fill out a facebook profile, and then give each other friend requests, likes and comments. The second and last activity we did during RTF was about racism, and we asked the participants to divide into 4 groups and make an act of racism thru time. 2 groups acted racism from a historical perspective and the rest acted how racism is seen today. This made the participants really active. We have never experiences so much encouragement in a group before, so this was definitely a great success!

We are so happy about this RTF in Medellín. We made new friends, new connections, gained a lot of new knowledge and experience to bring into our local communities and chapters.


You can also take a quick look of how the AJBM was by clicking the link:

AJBM 2014

Video made by Vanesa Gallego (Ecuadorian NJR) and posted by CISV Ecuador.


You might think that diversity is all about identity and multiculturalism, but diversity is so much more. Diversity can be seen in everything in your daily life, like the way you perceive yourself, the way you dress, how you feel, the way you behave with different groups of people, the  different social environments, and the nature around you. Diversity cover so many topics, and today, I will tell you a bit about biodiversity.

Biodiversity is a short word of biological diversity. A short description would be to say that biodiversity is the variety of life. To give you some examples of this, ecosystem, humans, animals, insects, plants, basically each living and non-living organism. Each one of these plays a vital role in the circle of life. They interact together and can for example create food, oxygen or shelter. The importance of those thing to us, as humans, is critical. Without food, we’ll starve to death, without oxygen, we’ll not be able to breathe, and without shelter, we’ll freeze to death in the cold parts of this planet.

The interesting thing with biodiversity is wherever you travel, you will probably see different ecosystems, plants and animals. If you stay in your own country and going up in the mountain or in the forest you will see difference. And if you go abroad, to another continent, you will see completely different species. This is because the different species of plants or animals have developed certain characteristics throughout the years to the current climate. That is why you won’t fin a certain cactuses in the rainforest or a lion in the mountains of Norway.

Therefore, the biological diversity is quite important to make the circle of life spin around, and the issue we have seen developed through the last years, is the climate change. The climate change might raise the temperature with a couple of degrees and make the weather more extreme. It is hard to prove and to know what will happen, but somethings will certainly change. Some of the vulnerable species might not be able to adapt to the changes, parts of coral reefs will die and if the average temperature on planet earth raises with just 2 degrees, it will melt a lot of ice on the north and the south pole, and then cause the water levels to rise significantly. This will again cause a flooding of many cities all over the world. What will then happen? I don’t even want to imagine.

This is my short casual text about my point of view of biodiversity and its importance. I added some links inside the text, and feel free to take a look at them.

Palms and stuff

Medellín, baby!

Two weeks ago Ranis and I went to the beautiful city of Medellín. It was my first time there, and I had heard so many good things about this city. We spent the the friday walking around and explore some of the city. It is true what they say about beautiful girls over there.. You fall in love in every corner.. But the purpose of this trip was the mini-camp of CISV Medellín.

We went to the meeting point at 9.30 am on saturday. At the meeting point we saw 87 participants and a bunch of leaders! The kids was full of energy while they ran around excited for the minicamp. After the leaders managed to put the kids into the busses and we were all set for departure, we drove to the campsite. They actually managed to leave one of the leaders at the meeting point, so he run after us and caught up with the bus after 15 minutes.

The plan for the first half of this day was some get-to-know-each other activities aka. name games. While the group had fun with names, Ranis and I backed out for a bit for some work with our book. When we came back they had prepared a game where you first are going to eat an apple in a bowl of water and then you are going to find a candy inside a pile of flour decorated with an egg (see pictures). This made some of the kids look like they had put on way too much make up, in a funny way.

In the evening it was time for dinner, and an activity ran by the NJRs, Paula and Valentina. It was a nice evening with lullabies and pajama time. Most of the leaders went straight to bed after the leaders meeting, since it was a long and an active day.

9am – breakfast time! 9 AM!!! So nice to have a bit more relaxed time schedule, then what I’m used to in camps.. This day we just had 1 activity, and it was actually scheduled to be swimming/chilling/tanning time after lunch. After the mandatory cleaning time, we went back to the center of Medellín with smiles on our faces and happiness inside.

I would say, the best part of this camp, was the great food! WOOOOW! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack… everything was delicious. Its my first time with so much good food 🙂 Well done Medellín! On sunday evening, we went to have dinner with some of the leaders. I think it is very important to hang out with new people when you have the chance, and I don’t regret! Thank you for an amazing time Medellín. See you soon 😉


We have now been promoting the project we are a part of to the International Governing Board. Last week, we got asked if we wanted to make a short video about the cooperation we are a part of. The task was to make it as short as possible, interesting and show what this exchange has done. We hope you’ll like it, and spread it all over the world! So this is our result:


Leaders training in Bogotá

We started the day in a horrible way… We had to meet at 7.30am on a saturday (!) to be able to catch the bus to the campsite. Since I’m here in Colombia, I’m trying to adapt as much as possible and that means arriving in Colombian time; 15 minutes late.. The campsite was next to a small town outside Bogotá and it was an amazing place with beautiful nature, great facilities, delicious food and very sunny(that made me sunburned…)!


During the weekend we had a lot of different trainings. What we loved about these trainings was that the staff had made activities and games out of very theoretical topics. To illustrate, put us in situations, to plan and have a lot of fun!


We had a lot of different experiences in this camp. Some were new, but brought experience from other organizations og sports and some had been to several camps. This was a really good training with a lot of new perspectives 🙂


The Colombian life

Colombia is amazing! I’ve spend 2 weeks here already, and seen many different places in Bogotá. The city is very easy to understand with Carreras y Calles (streets and avenues), but the private public transport system is very randomized. If you want to go somewhere as a tourist, taxi is a good solution and it is cheap! I’m starting to get to know some of the busses and the Transmilenio (the «overground» system thats very easy to understand and it is frequent!) helps me getting around.


The first weekend I met the interchange group between CISV Norway and CISV Colombia and we went to a salt mine 50 km outside Bogotá that was turned into Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá in the 1950s. The idea of a cathedral inside the mountain is pretty cool, and the sculptures and the lighting gives you a magical impression. It was really nice to listen to their experiences during their 2 weeks stay here in Colombia. With the excursions, the minicamp and to see how Colombian people lives. Its so nice to see how young people from different cultures can interact with each other and have such a great time while learning about the country.


The frase; Building global friendship, gives me a whole new perspective in this project. I haven’t spent much time at my apartment so far because I’m meeting new awesome people every day! The friendliness in Colombia is amazing. People are so inclusive (when they are not speaking spanish), and takes me all over the city. I’ve been invited to some family dinners and they are all kind of adopting me as a son even after 5 minutes..

Bogota Piru Arnold

While I am used to snow, wear 5 layers of clothing and skiing in Norway at this time of the year, I’m wearing t-shirts, walk in the parks and getting sunburned during my stay in Bogotá. It is supposed to be a rainy area, but so far I’ve only seen rain for just 2 hours. The weather is usually warm during day and cold at night. As a foreign viking, nighttime is sweater time 😉

Bolivar park
Simon Bolivar park

Stereotypes impressions after 2 weeks:

Colombian time = Not true, 50/50 within the population.
Dangerous = Not very, the most dangerous I’ve experienced so far is crossing the streets..
Crazy taxi drivers = TRUE
Amazing food = True
Great coffee = TRUE!
Beautiful women = TRUE!!!!!!
Dancing = They are all good dancers, and I feel embarrassed every time I go out in a party.
Lazy people = Not true, most of the people work from 8-18.

Cow LA Conijera
La Conejera

Our new office!

The first week at the office was a bit messy. The room who was supposed to be our office is having an extreme makeover! The walls were yellow, the furniture was old and the carpet floor was worn.. The members of CISV Bergen has done a fantastic job by removing the old carpet from the floor and painted the walls. Tora, Anna and I went with the president of CISV Bergen to IKEA on friday for getting some new furniture, while “the floor guy” was laying a new carpet floor. We had an exhausting, but an amazing day with a lot of ideas and solutions for our new office!

At monday afternoon the IKEA transport passed by the CISV house, and dropped off our new fancy shelfs, tables and chairs. We were so excited and started to assembly it as fast as possible. Unfortunately we didn’t have all the tools, so we continued on tuesday with the rest. By now its looking good, and we are all happy to start working in here.