Posted by: thebluemusicblog | August 2, 2013



I am back in Prague for the first time in a long time. The sun is shining, it is very, very warm and the city is as beautiful as always. Prague in August – Festival time. Juan Simoes and Kerry Riley have organized their teams and the last preparations are taking place.  Close to 5000 young YMCA leaders are expected on Sunday, People from Brazil, USA, Argentina, from Mexico and Russia are lining up together with people from all over Europe, Hong Kong, Africa, Middle East and Canada. It is a truly global international village created here in Prague, in Vystaviste.


IMG_2548 I walk though this city where I used to have my office for so many years, and remember the Festival in 2003 and the one in 2008. Hectic, intense, hard work, crisis management, but above all I remember all the young people and their smiles and their enthusiasm, their joy and pride and willingness to serve this great movement of the YMCA.

IMG_2555I take tram number 24 over to Vystaviste, on the other side of the river, the park and exhibition centre where the Festival site is being built up. I enjoy some warm summer evening atmosphere in Prague, even a ride on tram number 24 can become quite poetic and even romantic!



I walk through the park and hear noises from the Festival Site. I come closer to the high fence and through that I see the true heroes of the building up of the Festival, the hard workers from Moldova YMCA. Since the 25th of July they have worked very hard, really heavy work, in hot sunshine and pouring rain, often from early morning till late night. And in addition to this they are also responsible for the security over the nights.

IMG_2553Their leader is Misha Guskov, my old friend from Moscow and YMCA Europe over many, many years. I collect the group from Moldova and take a snapshot, they deserve too be mentioned by name! Nikolae Paskaru, Oleg Sklifos, Stavila Ion, Hodorogea Trofim, Tatar Veaceslav and Mangan Mikhail in addition to Misha. The light was wrong for this snapshot, but I want to portray them anyway!

IMG_2554And then a better photo of Nikolae and Misha, still full of energy after a long days work!

IMG_2557Moldova YMCA is a very interesting one. One of their programmes is focused on sports, especially on Martial Art. Another programme is about visiting young prisoners and help them to find new directions of their lives. They have no international partners and they are really looking for that.

IMG_2560Juan and Michal, key people for the Festival, and still with big smiles on their faces. This is indeed very promising! And as the last evening sunshine is caressing Prague, the late evening meetings starts in the office of YMCA Europe, on the Festival site. We can only wish Juan, Kerry, Michal, Ian, Peter, Misha and Nikolae and all the others a tremendous success over the next week!






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