The winter holidays are a good point to look back and say THANKS to all volunteers and visitors that made our life in the village nicer. I try my best not to forget anyone but please excuse me if i do.
The earliest volunteers were Sandra (Germany) and Kaspars (Letonia), EVS volunteers in Arad. They helped for a weekend in January to prepare the seeds for the really, really free seed market.
Then the musical opening took place – Elisa (Belgium, CS) and her friend from France passed by for a few days. Not only we and the garden enjoyed great concerts but one of the storage rooms had the first big clean-up to prepare for the future renovation.
It was still cold and snow when Chris (New Zeeland, Helpx) and Steven (Malaysia, Helpx) came. They worked really hard to dig new paths in the yard, started building the chicken tractor, put first seeds in the green house and Steven even took care of me when i got sick :). Their pictures tell thousands words.
Adi (Romania, friend) gave the professional hand to finish the chicken tractor and returned every now and then to amaze us with smaller or more complicated DIY projects.
Not to forget, Yi Ting (Taiwan, CS) passed by just for the week-end, however, she left a memorable impression and raised to 50% the Asian population in the household
Spring was in full blosson when one by one, the happiest group of the year showed up:
- Peter (the Netherlands – WWOOF)
- Erik (Germany – Helpx),
- Leah (New Zeeland – Helpx)
- Jos (Belgium).
May 1st was celebrated with a big party in Shura and the guest stars were Warga Sound.
Daciana (România, Helpx) who made the video above, decided to return as volunteer and struggle with the weeds invading the onions. She did a good job and nice pictures.
John and Kim (New Zeeland – Helpx) were the kind of helpers you do not want to let go. John is a profesional builder traveling with an impressive colection of tools and in no time he made an extension to the toilet building. Taking breaks was unusual to him, once he was turning the mower on, he would stop only if the machine would need a refill or the job was done. They dream to start a farm hostel back home, i really keep my fingers crossed for them.
It seemed the building season started. Ronan (France – WWOOF) is a long term friend of Romania who came several years to help with restauration projects in Southern Transylvania, including professional support for the famous ASTRA Open Air Museum in Sibiu. It came quite naturally that he started to restore the second storage room, teaching us new recipes for sand/clay/lime plasters. He also gave a hand to Irina and Gab as they started with their second building.
Mr. Mircea (Romania, WWOOF), was not only the first volunteer from Romania to actually come and help but also the oldest volunteer ever to support us. Very organised and systematic, he made my mother happy with a new home for the rabbits. I very much hope his fruitfull visit will encourage him to become a WWOOF host himself as he is ski instructor and has a home in Valiug, on the Semenic mountains.
Julia (France), a journalist living in Bucharest passed by an made a nice photo report for the Regard magazine.
By July we were speaking mostly Romanian in the house thanks to Linda (Austria, wwoof) and Victor (Romania, wwoof). Linda was chosen ”Volunteer of the year” by my neighbors for her determination to help with hay work at early hours of the morning. Victor, on the other hand, was my mother’s favorite as we cannot even remember all the things he helped with, from sewage repairs to wood work and a great new terrace in the hill. It was a great joy to have Victor back for a few days in autumn, i hold the hope he will come more often.
A small group from Canada joyned in the same time and a bit later Corinna and Oli (Germany, CS). They helped picking up the outstanding crop of fruits we were blessed with this year.
August came rich in crops and we did winter preserves with the help of Stephani (Canada, wwoof) and Susanne (Germany, wwoof). Sasha (Germany, wwoof) joined for a while but was invited to leave earlier than agreed. We were happy to see again Jay (UK, helpx) who after a memorable stay in 2012 decided to return to Romania (and we hope he will come each and every year from now on to visit us or our friend in Copăcele :) ).
Gabi (Austria) is a great friend of ours and he passed by several times this year, alone or with more friends from Germany. We enjoy his joyful presence and practical hand every time.
Nick and Helena (UK) from Incredible edible Todmorden passed by and wrote a very touching blog post. I hope they will return in the next years, they are great friends of Romania with great ideas to build bridges between nations and cultures.
September was quiet, as i was away the whole month. My mother continued the preserving work on her own and hosted briefly a French cyclist touring Europe.
End of the season brought more volunteers from unusual countries: Elina (Latvia, wwoof) and Mari (Georgia, wwoof) joined for a few days and did a great job preparing the vegetable beds for the next year. They were followed by Todd (US, helpx), the only American we have hosted this year and Andrew (Australia). The two of them took really hard jobs, diiging terraces and swales on the hill.
We had two more visitors from Spain and a Michael (Germany) a friend met in Sieben Linden.
A bit more that 50 wonderful people from many parts of the world passed by Shura and made out lives richer with their stories and smiles and some of them left incredible improvements in the household and garden that we will remember for years.
My deep gratitude goes also to my mother who has spent each and every day of the season at least 3-4 hours standing to prepare delicious meals for us all (plus all the extra organisation of the household).
Unfortunatelly our guest room was affected by a fire just before Christmas. I am deeply, deeply grateful to Jupa, Maria, Mihai and Mihăiță who at 5 am, in the dark and cold, using the well water, put all efforts to extinguish the fire and thus minimize the damage. It was very near to loose the whole building, as the fire has caught the ceiling planks and the roof was near destruction. I thank God and to my brave neighbors no major disaster has happened. Still, my heart is very sad looking at the wall and ceiling that need to be rebuilt. This blog post is also an attempt to find the strenght to get over.