Gardening in Voditsa, Bulgaria



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This listing is a Last minute host. They have let us know that they are looking for help immediately as well as at other times of the year.

 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks

  • Description


    Current situation : everything that's written below is pre-virus info - what's happened this year is that all the projects are on hold and I'm focusing on growing food, making a new garden and looking after three properties in the village while my family are stuck in the UK. So not much mud work but I am building a large porch/live in greenhouse which will include some mud, cordwood, laying a brick floor and generally upcycling all my useful resources.
    I'm OK for August and now looking for help in the autumn - preferably people who want to stay a while - I find that things work best when people are engaged and they get the bigger picture. So if you're interested in how life works in a small Bulgarian village and you want to improve your weeding and jam making skills, then your help will be most appreciated. Please read the rest and get back to me.

    The normal info:
    Hi and thank you for considering us as a host. Over the past 12 years we've had a few hundred volunteers and everyone of them has contributed in some form or other to our life here. I like to start off with a big thank you to everyone who has helped up - it's always appreciated and many things here just wouldn't have happened with that help.

    So....2020.....mud and gardens is our main focus this year. Last year we changed the shape and design of the garden at the place with new terraces and retaining walls. This needs to be finished and filled with flowers and plants. I also have a large field that is about to reshaped into a very big vegetable area and the beginnings of a lovely new flower garden. If you know stuff about plants, that's great but as long as you're interested, I'll show you what to do and you can learn a lot about flowers, biodynamic gardening and microbes.

    (please, please, please if you're going to contact me with a copied message that doesn't even have my name on it.... don't bother - you've got no idea how many emails I get like that and it's just downright rude - everybody else, please read on and you're welcome as a volunteer.)

    We have a lot of mud work happening this year - I have a mud floor to finish and a lovely barn to have the finishing touches. Our main mud work this year is a course that we're running in June to teach people how to build using mud. The objective is to build the walls of an 8m long porch. This is a great opportunity for two people who want to learn loads about mud building - we need two people for a month - a week before the course, a week during it and two weeks after where you'll be working quite closely with the trainer to finish things off. This will be from the end of May until late June - the actual dates are flexible but it would be great to have the same two people for the whole month. If you're interested in this, and you can make a committment, get in touch quickly - there's a lot of interest in natural building and I think this will be popular.

    There's also all the day to day seasonal stuff. Planting, pruning, harvesting etc. (there's a huge amount of stuff and work disguised as these two short sentences!)

    Just to clarify, 'we' is Elly, Dancho and Kathy (Elly's mother). However, Elly and Dancho are travelling at the moment, so Kathy and the cats are left in charge.

    These are a few of the things that I know we'll be doing in 2020......there will be more! We have new ideas and new ways of doing things all the time....and sometimes we make a new job to suit someone's skills. We would be delighted to have you join our long list of volunteers who've been to Voditsa. Everything you do will be appreciated and remembered and we look forward to meeting you and knowing a little about you. If you're interested, first please read the rest of this profile then get in touch with dates. If you're serious about connecting with us or any host, a piece of advice is, don't send me a short, bland message that has been copied and pasted and doesn't even have my name in it. Thanks.

    Good luck with everything and we hope to meet you.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Farmstay help
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help around the house
    Animal Care
    Language practice
    Art Projects

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Life goes on in Voditsa much as it always has done - farming, growing, wood things, preserving.... just living in an Eastern European village. But development in the rest of the world bring inevitable issues like depopulation - there aren't really enough people in the villages. I guess this is a unique period of time when you get to experience the end of an era... who knows what the village will be like in 50years but right now you can get a taste of traditional life here including dancing and singing with the pensioner's club if you want.

  • Help


    We ask for 25 hours of help a week, in exchange for food and accommodation. We have 2 days off, usually Friday and Saturday - for volunteers to spend how they please, relaxing in the volunteer house or going of to explore the wider area. There are a few towns/cities which are 1-2 hours away and quite do-able in a weekend.

    It's great when people are interested in cooking - we always try to share the food tasks so that I dont get stuck in the kitchen all day.

    Help varies throughout the year - some of the regular tasks are:
    - Gardening - sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting.
    - Wood - collecting, chopping, stacking.
    - General - fence building, garden reclaim, some landscaping and, general maintenance and improvements.
    - Feeding and caring for the animals

    (Maybe you could mention the word 'scrabble' in your message to us so we know you've read the profile.)

    Animals - cats, a dog and a bunch of chickens.

    We'll find jobs for you in relation to your skills and we'll endeavor to help you to learn new skills.

  • Languages spoken

    Bulgarian: Fluent
    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    The project is in the centre of Voditsa and this is where most of our work is. The apartment sleeps up to 6 people with hot showers and a wood stove.

    We eat mostly vegetarian, but some meals may have meat or be vegan. We are quite adaptable - just ask.

    We would prefer volunteers for 3-5 weeks minimum - to give us all time to get into things and would think about having people longer term. All thing are negotiable though - so just ask and if you only have a week to spare, still get in touch.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We live in a lovely but underpopulated little village in one of the poorest countries in Europe......but dont be fooled by that statistic - Bulgarian culture is alive and well and thriving. If you spend time with us, you'll meet people who have lived through many big political changes....communism, democracy, the EU.....yet the need to grow food and survive the winter here are things that have happened every year, regardless of the current regime.

    People are practical, friendly and relaxed....and often amused at the idea that foreigners want to come and live here. If you express an interest, people will happily show you more of their lives. You could also spend some time at the Pensioner's Club in the village - these people are great and a wealth of knowledge.

    Besides that, there isn't really a vibrant night life here but there are some lovely walks and we're only a couple of hours from the Black Sea or the Danube. There are no main tourist spots around here but if you're reading this, then you're not a tourist! Spending time in this village will probably become a highlight of your trip and we are happy to be able to share our life and experience with you.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    This host has indicated that they love having digital nomads stay.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • Can possibly acccept pets

    Can possibly acccept pets

    This host has said they are willing to accept those travelling with a pet.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours /5 days

Part of our summer kitchen - all made by volunteers with bits of old stuff.
Kim making the wonderful new chandelier
The demolition team
Ingrid and Gustavo's gorgeous mural
The new porch is nearly finished - could do with some mosaic...
Tim, in the forest with Dancho his father and the rest of the team
Making yummy Lutinitza
Mud book shelves and sofa bed

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (4.7)

Cultural exchange: (4.7)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 333625114737