Meet the Waegger’s, a family of five from Nesodden, Norway! After working with PPI-CY during a couple of exchange trips, their wonderful family moved to Cyprus last August to volunteer their services. They have been an enormous help and wonderful partners to our PPI-CY family. They are Camilla (10), William (13), Kristian (16), Gøril and Roar.
April 2013 was our first meeting with PeacePlayers. The former Norwegian Ambassador to Cyprus and Greece, Mr. Sjur Larsen, made it possible for PeacePlayers Cyprus to go to Norway. A bi-communal team of 12 great young boys from Cyprus came to Nesodden, a suburb to Oslo, to stay with basket players from Nesodden Basket for one week.
After this inspiring week, PPI-CY and Nesodden Basket decided to build further on our started bilateral friendship. We started to plan a youth program together, called Lead4Peace. The year after, 9 Norwegian youths visited Cyprus for a week and it was incredible. 4 months later, Cypriots came to visit us again at Nesodden, and we defined Lead4Peace a tradition!
When Gøril visited Cyprus on the first exchange trip she fell in love with the island, its people, atmosphere, climate, and of course with the important work PeacePlayers does in bringing the youths, and coaches together. She and Kristian came home very enthusiastic and overwhelmed the others with all of their experiences. A family meeting was now necessary, because on the agenda was one topic – can we make it possible to move to Cyprus for a limited time? The vote was unanimous “yes, we can!”
So, here we are. We moved here to, among other things, volunteer for PeacePlayers, ready to do whatever you would like us to do! We do hope to be able to contribute more in the next 6 months, and get to know the inside of PeacePlayers even better. Our interest in conflict resolution has made this year even more interesting because of the ongoing, intense negotiations. The kind of work PeacePlayers is doing in bi-communal work among the young generation on the island is very important for a future united Cyprus. By getting to know each other as individual human beings we can see with our own eyes how they change perception of each other, their respective cultures and religions. In our point of view, this work is the most important peace work that is done – bridging the divides so that one day people in Cyprus can live respectfully and tolerant together.
Our volunteer work will probably be concentrated around planning the new and extended Lead4Peace project. We recently got more than 120,000 Euro from the Erasmus+ in Oslo to continue the exchange program, and we are really looking forward to including Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland. In February 2017, Nesodden Basket are looking forward hosting a PeacePlayer-family for a week in a winter wonderland while learning to ski!
We are turning 50 in a few years, but we have learned that it is never too late to make some changes in your life. Our change: to take a GAP year, to get to know Cyprus, its people, PeacePlayers, their people and their work, is bringing new values into our lives. The youth, coaches and staff we have meet with PeacePlayers are all warm, including, interesting and dedicated people! Thank you so much for letting us be a part of you great organization!