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We are a Bulgarian - French couple currently living in a small village in rural northeast Bulgaria. My name is Iva and my partner is Ade. We bought our house with a big garden next to a beautiful forest, but still in the center of our village -Garchinovo, in December 2018 and moved in in May 2019 to fix the house on our own. We have been volunteering for an year in southeast Asia and learning about natural building and permaculture and now we are trying to practice our new skills. Our house is more than 100 years old and is made only from stones, wood and clay. We would like to preserve the great work of the old builders and add the comfort of a modern ecological home. We still have a lot to learn, but we think that trying is the best way to do so.
A bit more about us - We met while volunteering in Armenia in 2014 and we have been traveling, working and volunteering together in Europe and Asia in a search of the right place for ourselves. We are easygoing people with lots of different interests. Iva loves reading and going for long walks in the nature, gardening and spending time with friends. Ade is interested in politics, history and video games. We are both interested in permaculture, ecological transition and sustainability. We love learning new things and sharing good food with old and new friends from all around the world. We live together with a beautiful big dog - Netti, 2 sweet baby cats - Lima and Cuzco, free and happy chickens, a cute small bat, many ants, that we like to observe, some snakes and many other insects that inhabit our garden. Come to meet us and learn more about us and our project ;)
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Staying with us will give you the opportunity to live in a small Bulgarian-Turkish village and experience the simple life close to the nature. You will learn and practice natural building and permaculture with us. You will try some homemade Bulgarian food (mainly vegetarian/ vegan), learn some Bulgarian or practice French and English.
Next to us there is a National park called Rusenski Lom with beautiful river terraces, high vertical rocks, caves, a great biological diversity, and historical monuments. Just 10km from us there is a small Thai restaurant as well, probably the only one in Bulgaria :D There are no bars or other evening attractions in our village, so in your free time you could easily hitchhike and visit around or put a hammock under a good shadow and read a book. Not far from us is Veliko Tarnovo ( old capital of Bulgaria), Bucharest ( capital of Romania), Varna and the Black sea, places that you could visit in the weekend, as transport is not very fast and well organized in Bulgaria.
* We are starting to build our rocket mass heater from clay. :)
We are currently looking for help in fixing our house - putting pipes, making a clay floor, painting some walls, installing a shower, fixing the kitchen and lots of other things that we need to do before the winter in order to feel comfortable in our new home. Everyone with building experience is very welcome, especially with some natural building know-how. We have some garden work as well, as we have planted some veggies already. You could help us as well with the everyday work - cooking, feeding the animals,... The work we have is different and depends on the time you come, but you could always contact us if you need some more details on what we are currently doing.
English, Bulgarian, French, German
We are currently building a rocket mass heater in our guestroom/ living room, so there is no spare bedroom for volunteers. We offer a tent in our garden, as well as matrace, pillows and blankets. You can also come with your own tent and choose a nice spot in our garden. It is 2000sqm and next to the forest :) We have an inside and an outside toilet, and a solar shower outside.
The closest city is Popovo. The train from Sofia passes through there, so we could pick you up from there. You could get there also a train to Varna or a bus to Veliko Tarnovo, Sofia, Ruse... There are only 2 buses passing through our village, going to Popovo and Russe, but hitchhiking is usually working very well in Bulgaria. We often need to go to Popovo as well for shopping, so we could take you with us.
Some more useful information - We plan our days in the evening, but we are very flexible and try to give space to people to do the things that they feel comfortable doing. We try to always help each other, no matter cooking or building, but give ourselves space to start different daily projects as well. We are looking for communicative, flexible and easygoing people, that can easily make themselves useful and doesn't need someone to give them orders.
People are welcome to stay for at least a week, as you need some time to get used to our way of work and make yourself useful ( this is from our own experience), and as long as we all feel good with each other.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week