In 1976, the Daugava Vanagu Foundation bought a Latvian property in the middle of Middle England – Straumēni muižu. At one time, Latvians volunteered to help to repair and improve it, also building additional buildings in order to have a place to spend their old age. A lot has changed over the years, but Latvians have started farming in “Straumēni” again.
Events are held in the meadows and forest mainly in the summer, but the luxurious hotel with 20 rooms has a restaurant, conference rooms, and a Swedish hall for 250 people in a separate building. 75 people can be accommodated in the Baltic block. There is also a Green Hall for smaller events and camps. Next to it is a home for the elderly with 20 rooms, there are also 17 apartments and several houses, and the clock house houses an archive and a library.
“Those people who once worked remember that they all came together. And they were all looking for Latvians. I know that many people who have come from Latvia, they spent those first years not wanting to be with other Latvians in general together. And little by little, the need has arisen to want to be in Latvian society. And to be in Latvian society, the best way is to do something,” said Inese Auziņa-Smita, head of the Latvian Documentation Center and Archive.
After getting acquainted with “Straumenės”, a discussion followed, discussing various ideas and offers.
“I’ve been here for 17 years, and I’ll be honest: I’m starting to feel that I really miss this Latvianness and coming together and being with my own,” said Līga Strauss, a participant in the discussion.
Among those gathered were representatives of various professions, all ready to participate and help in their free time.
“I am engaged in construction. So anything that I can do in my spare time, I have never refused. If I personally can’t, then maybe I know people who can,” said the participant of the discussion, Marek Koloda.
“Ideas need to be talked about and how they can be put into action and practice, because every idea is unique, every idea needs a different resource or attraction, or the legal side needs to be explored. But any idea is good, they will all be taken considered and considered,” said “DVF Estate Ltd.” director Miks Vizbulis.
If almost 50 years ago Latvians in exile were able to unite by organizing “Straumenus”, then the new diaspora is determined to get to work with the same zeal.