SEEDS 13. Raufarhöfn - At the edge of the Arctic circle!!
A group of 10 volunteers from SEEDS coming from the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Slovakia and Spain have arrived to the northernmost village in Iceland to support diverse projects in the area..
Raufarhöfn is the northernmost town of Iceland and the farthest from Reykjavík, the capital. Around 200 people live in this nice town. The travel to go there is about 12 hours driving along the coastline and it’s very interesting because the landscape varies a lot. Fishing has always been the main activity here and the characteristic harbour and lighthouse seem to belong to a fairy-tale.
Now, in July you can really enjoy the midnight sun and the quiet of long Icelandic evenings.
The international volunteers with Christos Pitharas as leader and Stella Iannitto as environmental messenger are hosted in the local primary school for two weeks.
The main task is cleaning the coastline and in spite of the rain, the volunteers achieved a large amount of work, cleaning a long part of the coastline of that zone. It is interesting how volunteers developed a strange relation with the birds: trying to find them, to see their chicks and then escaping from the aggressive “artic terns” defending their eggs.
Just in front of the school there is a swimming pool and gym open for the volunteers, where they spend free time and there are some nice places to take a walk and from the hill where the lighthouse is located, you can see the entire town and a big part of the grasslands.
Every day, Óskar, our Icelandic “driver”, with Aga, our host in Raufarhöfn, drove us to different sites. There are very often long fishermen’s nets stuck in the soil, so we work in teams to pull them out.
One day on a beach we found a whale, which probably died just few hours before. It was a really impressive spectacle. The whale was stuck in the sand and we could approach and touch it.
It is peculiar to notice that you can find so many different landscapes just a few kilometres out of town
We organized an international dinner with the community of Raufarhöfn, cooking different plates from all of our countries. Aga helped us to organize it in the exhibition hall of the town.
Around 50 people participated to this event and after dinner volunteers played games with the children of the town. The community enjoyed the international event a lot.
During the weekend our hosts organised a trip to Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, and to the nearby, Selfoss a smaller one. We also visited Hafragilsfoss, a 27m-high canyon where is possible to hike, climb, find volcanoes, even a trolls’ church and enjoy the unique panoramic views of this part of Iceland.
Besides the 7 hours working we organized some environmental activities like debates about how to recycle , save energy and be eco-friendly, comparing the different situations of our countries.
We watched some eco-documentaries, visited some eco web sites and we discussed the environmental situation in Iceland.
During our stay in the school we received visits from many children, very curious to know us and to share some games and dinner with our group. Some of them became very close to us and spent their afternoons sharing some ping pong matches and Icelandic chocolate!