I am in the process of renovating a house in a rural village setting. I will use the property as a holiday home and a wellbeing retreat centre.
Vedrovo is a small village, in the Burgas region, and it has some 50 residents and another 30 people or so who visit at weekends and holidays. Despite my lack of Bulgarian, and being the first and only foreigner here, I have been welcomed with incredible kindness and support by all the villagers. The people here say that everyone is welcome …"with heart and soul". I can vouch for that!
I like to feel that I am making a difference, so in partnership with the local mayor, I have started a village community project to help develop parts of the village, including reclamation of the village park, properties, roads and pathways.
Also, I am writing a series of stories about rural life in our village: I am engaged in discussion with journalists and publishers, with a view to attracting publicity and income to support our efforts to revive the village - which like other Bulgarian villages, has suffered due to lack of work and funding opportunities, meaning the younger generations have left for the cities where they can find employment. Villages in Bulgaria are dying, literally.
Priority will be given to volunteers who can undertake renovation works such as general DIY and repairs, plumbing, electrical, plastering, carpentry and painting. In addition, I need help with maintaining and landscaping the park area, gardening, tending vegetables and fruit etc.
In due course, I aim to use our village as a template to support other villages to make improvements needed elsewhere, so that Bulgarian village culture is not lost.
Anyone seeking to experience something quite special, need look no further.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
As far as possible, I aim to match tasks with volunteer interests - and to work 4-5 hours a day, and I shall be happy to be as flexible as possible as to when the work is carried out.
I make an effort to join in with local 'goings-on', and volunteers would be most welcome to join me in meeting with some of the locals. This is a great way to see how villagers, whom have known each other for life, interact.
I receive visitors most days and it is usually one of the villagers bringing me some produce from their garden or to invite me for a meal.
This is an opportunity to see rural village life at first-hand. There is plenty of opportunity to mix. All of the villagers here are friendly and very helpful.
Although the property is undergoing renovation, the ground floor level of the house is functional and perfectly habitable. The second floor has a further two bedrooms, as well as a kitchen and bathroom being developed presently. is being developed into an additional and independent living space.
The garden has a range of flowerbeds, vines, fruit trees and vegetables - as well as some lawns, and these need to be maintained. We are very interested in using permaculture methods, though we lack the knowledge and know-how - any advice on practical steps would be much appreciated.
The house is surrounded by nature - in a quiet lane, with a wooded area to one side and panoramic views to the forest and mountains on the other side. I plan to create quite an arty-based house, so anyone with creative flair in house and garden-design or interiors would be most welcome to take part in discussions and execution e.g. painting a mural, creating a flowerbed, help with pond-design.
We aim to reduce our carbon footprint, so anyone with related knowledge, skills and advice would be especially welcome - we are considering: ways of using plastics for an art project. The villagers here are extremely resourceful and recycle things effectively.
Apart from the house renovations, the main activity will be maintaining the park area - as well as making a sheltered area, tables, chairs and benches. The park area will be used as an events venue to generate income to help improve the roads and pathways around the village.
There are three bedrooms with sleeping for up to 4. Downstairs there is a large bedroom with two-double beds. Upstairs there are two bedrooms which could accommodate two single beds in each.
I am a trained chef so I am happy cooking and preparing meals. However, I am equally happy to sample any dishes from others, if they like cooking. I will ensure that any special dietary requirements are met as well as food and drink supplies to cater for volunteer preferences.
It is a fairly tranquil village and it is about 30 minutes' away from the nearest big towns of Karnobat and Aytos, and Burgas is 1 hour away. I will be happy to collect helpers from and return them to anywhere between these points. Also, I would be happy to arrange and provide transport for a day out to e.g. A lake or The Black Sea.
I am fairly easy-going - I have shared houses with lodgers over the years.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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