Gardening, mud building and making a swimming pond in Voditsa, Bulgaria

  • Favourited 279 times
  • Last activity: 17 Jul 2024



 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks



  • Description


    I could really do with some help right now - I have a big hole dug for my swimpond and work is happening but it's all being done with natural materials mostly clay and it's labour intensive - a bunch of people coming to mess around with clay and mud for a couple of weeks would make such a difference. Read on and get in touch. 🦋
    Hi, my name is Kathy and thanks for taking the time to read this. As usual we had a great bunch of volunteers last year who helped me with a load of different projects. It was great for me and I know that they all learned a lot, especially about natural building.

    My focus for this year is very much about outside. My house isn't finished but I've done enough mud building for a while and I want to spend most of time in the garden. I do grow vegetables but I'm more interested in flowers and trees and.....my main, very exciting thing is the natural swim pond.

    At the moment I have a very big hole in my field and a plan! As with all of these things where we use the word natural, it means labour intensive so I'm looking for lots of help to get this going. I'll be lining the pond with clay from a local quarry and as well as moving it into the right place, it needs to be puddled - that means stamped down. So if you want to learn about clay (not mud) and you could do with a load of physical activity and learn how a swim pond works, then I'd like hear from you.

    Probably the only mud building I'll be doing this year will be making a sauna so that in the winter when it's -15c I can get steamed up and jump in my freezing pond. That project probably won't happen until the late autumn.

    You would be staying in our house in the centre of the village. There's a cosy self contained apartment with a garden that always needs love and it's about 10 minutes walk to my house where most of the work will happen. You don't need any particular skills to come here but a good level of common sense and some life experience would be really appreciated. Also if you know your way around a garden, that would be wonderful. I guess the main thing that most hosts want to hear is that you can do a solid day of physical work. If you're strong, that's even better.

    You can learn about life in a small village that used to be large and now suffers from depopulation but still maintains the traditions of Bulgarian life. You’ll learn about growing in a climate with a temperature range of -25 to +40 ….. and a climate that is changing drastically and seriously. We build with mud, wood and recycled stuff and I could probably write a book on what you can do with wire and pliers. 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!)

    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. It can be tricky when you're applying for volunteer positions so I usually respond the same day that you contact me - I get lots of requests every week and its hard for me to juggle dates too so quick decisions work for me. Good luck with everything and we hope to meet you.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability 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 brings 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 and 3 weeks is usually the minimum amount of time that I accept volunteers- it takes a while to connect with how we work and for us to find out what you're best at.

    Last year we changed the format of the work week mainly because of issues with my health and my energy, and it worked really well. So we work three 8 hour days - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and you'll then have 4 days off. You can travel about Bulgaria or just chill in the garden. On the help days I provide lunch and there's usually enough for your dinner in the evening. I provide you with the basics - eggs, dried beans, grains etc and whatever vegetables I have in the garden. The non work days, if you don't go travelling, you do your own cooking and you can supplement the basics as you wish.

    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. One little point to help you as a volunteer - your dreams about changing the world or thoughts about your spiritual path are not the most helpful thing for a host. I will read your profile and what I really want to know is if I can rely on you to work as hard as I do....and I'm over 70.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Bulgarian: Intermediate

  • Accommodation


    Self contained, very warm apartment in the centre of the village. This accommodation is probably not suitable for children.

    We eat mostly vegetarian, but some meals may have meat or be vegan. We are quite adaptable - just ask. At the moment, it's difficult for me to accommodate vegans - I have 7 chickens and their eggs are a main part of our diet.


  • 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

    The working week is three full days so you'd have four days free to work.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets


  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    25hours a week

Host ref number: 333625114737

Feedback (48)



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Accuracy of profile: (4.9)

Cultural exchange: (4.8)

Communication: (5.0)

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