NATO information tent and air-balloon visiting Latvia`s towns
Throughout this summer, LATO volunteers with NATO Riga Summit information tent visited town festivals in many towns and cities of Latvia. Information about NATO and the Riga Summit was available, and people could win different prizes by participating in a quiz. The most desired prize was a hot-air balloon flight. LATO volunteers in the NATO tent also surveyed people, listened to their opinions, impressions, and suggestions. During our discussions with people in the regions and towns we obtained a wide range of information and opinions that will be used in research work. However, data analysis can never explain one’s experiences as good as the participants themselves can.
We invite you to read some of the stories as told by the organizers and the winners of the balloon ride prizes.
LATO project manager Aleksis Jarockis story.
“People very actively took part in events at the information tent. While visiting the Jēkabpils town festival with the NATO Summit information tent we noticed that some youngsters took informative materials from the tent and immediately went home in order to search for the answers. Thus some young people managed to answer more than five questions from the quiz and won NATO Summit mugs. During the Gulbene town festival, Inga Mihailova who together with her family came to visit her parents in order to celebrate the festival visited NATO tent. Inga had already found information about NATO on the Internet and came with the clear aim to participate in the quiz competition. She had a lot of informative material in her hands – several printed and underlined pages. Inga won a hot-air balloon flight and afterwards kindly shared her impressions with us. While visiting the Jēkabpils town festival, our tent was visited by teachers of history and politics who came to the tent in order to obtain materials about NATO and the Riga Summit. We had to make a concerted effort to answer all their questions properly and extensively. It was really interesting that in Saldus, we met with Mrs Svetlana Daga who collects pens. She participated in the quiz competition with great excitement and won a new pen for her collection. Together with the Riga Summit pen there are now 422 items of stationery in her collection. However, in Ventspils LATO volunteers observed that young people who had already tried out their competence in the quiz in some other town showed up again. We were surprised that those people had prepared themselves properly and participated in competitions in order to win prizes. Does it mean that they specially prepared themselves and followed the tent from one festival to another – well, I cannot tell you that,” Aleksis smiles.
Iveta Krišjāne, the winner of a quiz held during the Aizkraukle town festival
”This was the first time I have flown. One does not have to go abroad in order to see beautiful places ...”
This was the second time I answered questions about NATO and won an opportunity to participate in a draw for a hot-air balloon flight. I was really surprised when I heard my name amongst the lucky ones because up till now, I have never ever, had any luck in games and lotteries. I do not particularly keep track of political events, however, I correctly answered all the five question of the quiz. Before the take off I was a little bit nervous, however, once we were in the air, I felt no fear at all.
And now, if somebody says to me that you cannot find beautiful places here in Latvia I will suggest to him or her that they look at our little country from a bird’s eye view. How beautiful it was - the river Daugava in sunset and the meadows and fields. When driving a car one can never notice how beautiful everything is! If I had a second chance to see Latvia from a bird’s eye view, I would definitely use this opportunity.
Quiz winner Inga Mihailova
„When I heard about the NATO information tent in Gulbene my tactical plan was born…”
One has to believe in their dreams because some dreams come true!
Up to now, a hot-air balloon flight was not on my list of adventures. It was in the Gulbene region local newspaper that I read about the NATO information activities which included the quiz as part the Gulbene town festival. I was more than sure that the questions of this quiz would not be complicated, I thought that the purpose of this event was to inform the general public of Latvia about NATO or the upcoming summit. Ah, I was completely mistaken!
The first and other four questions were so complicated that due to nervousness I could not even see the brightly underlined fragments of text on the sheets of paper! The half hour that we spent near the tent was very pleasant and cheerful for all of us. We liked the helpful young people in the NATO tent and, of course, we were proud of ourselves as well!
In the evening when I saw the pilot we were surprised again – he was Gunārs Daukste, a real master of his professional! It was a great pleasure and honor to meet this person.
All the process of taking off, flying and landing even today seems like a dream! I felt no fear, only pleasure, a great pleasure because all the people down there were happy, they waved, whistled, honked, yelled up to us, somebody screamed: “Look, the NATO Riga hot-air balloon is flying!” The Gulbene township looked very different from the balloon and interesting.
Also the landing procedure was interesting. I was amazed about the carefully prepared ritual in which I had to participate! Now I have become a fan of hot-air balloons and received the honorable title of Countess Inga fon Strade.
If everything that happens in our country would be done with the friendship and responsibility shown by the people my family met at the NATO tent during the Gulbene town festival, everybody in Latvia would feel happier and more joyful!
One of the most valuable prizes in the quiz was a watch with the NATO logo. Only those participants who correctly answered ten questions could win such a watch. In Gulbene the watch was received by Māris Birznieks who had the best knowledge of NATO topics, however, in Ventspils the most knowledgeable participant was Andris Krūzamjagi.