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The elderly in these parts have miserable pensions and many when they become widows are left with little assistance. To help, a Canadian-Romanian family are building a charity home for the aged townsfolk without families to support them. The building will also serve as a community centre, and eventually an organic farm will be started too.
A video log of Lisa and our project was done by an Australian family of 5 who came here as Workawayers. They have their own vlog project and website. At the same time that the family was here, we received a group of about 25 cyclists that were brought here to help by other workawayers.
[For context surrounding the three star review, please also check the 'What else?' section at the end of the profile, to see if Workaway has allowed us to provide a commentary there. Otherwise please contact us directly.]
[In sending an initial message to us, please demonstrate you have not sent a copy of a message you have sent to many people, by writing what things about our project interested you, and what things about you can help you match up with us]
[PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU READ THE 'RULES' SECTION IN THE DESCRIPTION]
[We are always looking for people to do house-sitting over the colder months and maybe during the warmer ones, or if deemed suitable, to take over some responbilities of the onsite managing of the project, which would mainly involve responding to messages from guests and volunteers then supervising them onsite]
>> COVID <<
Due to the Corona virus, the process of gaining entry into Romania has become a bit different as I'm sure you can understand.
As of 13/03/2021, there will be a state of emergency up until the 13th/14th of April. This may or may not be extended at a later date. This means that depending on which country you are travelling to Romania from at any given time, and how long you have been there, you may be required to present a negative PCR test then go into quarantine upon your arrival.
CURRENTLY (13/03/2021), NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY YOU TRAVEL FROM OR HAVE BEEN IN, if you have been tested positive for the virus in the last 90 days and more than 14 days ago and have documentation to prove it, you do not need to provide a negative PCR test and go into quarantine. This also applies to having had the second dose of the virus vaccine more than 10 days ago.
You can go to the 'CNSCBT' website ('Centrul Național de Supraveghere şi Control al Bolilor Transmisibile') for Romania (.ro). Then click on the green link on the menu to the right entitled 'Liste zone afectate COVID-19'. Then click on the 'descarca' button at the top of the list to get the latest list of 'yellow' countries that you have to go into quarantine if travelling from.
>> GENERAL INFO <<
- - Hosting Location - -
[On EuroVelo 6 cycle route]
Lisa is a small farming community in the far southern Romanian county (Judet) of Teleorman, close to the Bulgarian border and the Danube river. The project in Lisa is a relaxing place and is on the very edge of town where it is very quiet and peaceful, apart from when the local dogs are maybe performing their last session of barking in the evening! The property where the building takes place consists of the big new building for the project, two old buildings (now practically derelict), a small orchard, and quite a large meadow with an abundance of fruit trees.
- - Fund raising / Bicycle Tourers - -
During spring through to autumn, the property serves as a camping spot or basic accommodation for bicycle tourers cycling along the Eurovelo 6 route. The cycle route goes from France to the Black Sea. This is one of (if not 'the') most popular bicycle route in Europe, and the route passes right through Lisa! In exchange for accommodating them, the guests make donations to the charity project. Some great times can be had with the tourists that come to stay!
- - People of the Project - -
The family are most of the time at home in Bucharest, a home that also serves as a bed & breakfast business that funds the project.
Currently, there is an ongoing volunteer called Sam (40 something man from England) who helps a lot with arranging volunteers to come and help, a very lovely and relaxed chap.
It is possible that Sam will receive you and help you at the property if he is around and/or is staying at the project and none of the family are. In fact, when the family is not at the project, he is often looking to have someone take over his house sitting / onsite management role for at least a little while. So if you are comfortable enough with the idea, you can have the place to yourself and manage your own work a lot of the time, if none of the family are due to come down and do a bit of work. Then when there are other volunteers or guests who come along, help accommodate and manage them.
>> GETTING TO THE PROJECT <<
[Free accommodation at our Bed & Breakfast in Bucharest, if needed on your travels to the project]
- - Getting a lift from Bucharest - -
Sometimes trips are made from our Bed & Breakfast in Bucharest to the project in the countryside. If someone is soon due to make a journey, you can hitch a lift and stay at our B&B until then.
- - Travelling from airport in Bucharest - -
If you're arriving in Bucharest by air, and want to save money by getting a bus rather than a taxi, you can get a 780 Express bus from the airport to the North Train Station ('Gara de Nord').
From the North Train Station you can either come to our B&B, which is within easy walking distance from Gara de Nord, or, you can get a 96 trolley bus to the 'International Bus Station Rahova', where you can then get a bus to our project in the countryside town of Lisa.
Getting the 780 from the airport to the North Train Station not only gets you close to our B&B, but is also a stop on the most direct route to continue on to the International Bus Station Rahova with the 96 Trolley Bus.
If your flight arrives at a time that prevents you from getting a connecting bus to out project in the countryside, but you eventually want to get to our project on your own via bus, you can come and stay at our B&B.
- - Bus from Bucharest to the project - -
At the International Bus Station Rahova in the south-west of Bucharest, get the bus to Traian, which stops in the town of Lisa where our project is. The bus leaves at 10am and 4pm on every day but Sunday. If the driver does not notice you are foreign and are going to Lisa, let him know, and he should make a point of remembering to stop at Lisa without you actively requesting it, then advise you to get off.
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
As the town of Lisa is a small town, everybody will be curious of you and want to know about you. There will be an opportunity to mix with the (emotional, loud talking but) friendly neighbours and towns people, and even get/buy various different food produce off them.
You will get a glimpse of what Western Europe would have been like significantly more than 50 years ago, with many people mainly living off their land and using a horse and cart to get around.
Many people find the houses, life style and properties here to be quite beautiful.
It is a relaxed environment here, and if there are no family members to supervise we can leave helpers to manage themselves, depending on the work. A lot of the time what work you do is dictated by how hot or wet the weather is, or what needs doing at the time.
> Warmer months: March to November <
Important things that we need help with, are the things that need doing every day or frequently such as:
Seeing to the cat/s (if there are any)
Preparing and cleaning guest rooms (vacuuming, washing bedding)
Receiving and helping guests
General cleaning, maintaining, tidying of the house
Or, there just being someone else here to receive guests if they turn up unannounced
In addition to the above , we need help with:
Onsite managing of the project
Painting walls and floors
Oiling and varnishing doors
Landscaping and ground maintenence
Plumbing of bathrooms still needing to be completed
Loads of other big and small jobs impossible to list here!
> Colder Months: November to March <
During the colder months we are limited to the number of people we can have here because our electricity supply restricts the amount of electricity we can use for heating. It also gets very cold, wet and sometimes snowy here during the winter, so it is restricted as to what work can be done, if any. Or at least you need to be hardy to the cold to get things done.
For this period, when the touring cyclists stop coming, we mainly look for people who can stay long term in more of a housesitting role where the work is more reactive than proactive, and you may be or could decide to be the only person/s on site. For this period we mainly just need people to be here, and the only work, unless you choose otherwise, is to cope with the winter.
If you are staying here for an extended period during the colder months, and we receive applications from people to volunteer during this time, it will be up to you to decide if you want them to come, then for you to choose and supervise what work they do.
>> The Future <<
Later on when the property is functioning as a care home there will be a need for caregivers to the elderly occupants.
Most likely you will have a room of your own.
If it gets really busy, it may be necessary to share a room with someone else, but this has never been necessary before.
>> HOUSE FACILITIES <<
The house currently has the following facilities:
- Running hot water (heated via solar panels)
- A washing machine
- Temporary kitchen with gas stove and fridge with freezer
- Quite a big TV (with cable once the cable is connected!)
Mezzanine / main / middle floor -
- Dining room
- 3 x bedrooms with up to two single beds in each
- 1 x bathroom with a toilet, sink and bath/shower (and washing machine)
- 1 x bathroom with toilet and sink (can be sorted out with a shower facility easily)
- Temporary kitchen with triple gas stove and fridge freezer. Freezer compartment separate, not inside fridge.
- 'Kitchen sink' room next to temporary kitchen. Due to be a toilet, but for the moment just has a functioning sink.
Top floor -
- big lounge area
- 1 x big bedroom with non-working ensuite toilet and shower
- 1 x big bedroom with toilet and sink
- 1 x small bedroom with non-working toilet and shower
- 1 x small bedroom
- 1 x communal bathroom with functioning toilet and sink
Basement floor -
- Main kitchen waiting to be made fully functional.
- Dormitory room with space for a number of beds. Sometimes with beds set up, sometimes not.
- Small bedroom with bunk bed. Probably best served as being a room for volunteers.
- Well room (this is the water we can filter to make it more than fit for drinking)
>> CLIMATE & HOUSE TEMPERATURE <<
Please note that during early spring and late autumn, it can be quite cold in Romania and the house. During winter, significantly cold. For the moment there are just electric radiators and gas heaters that can be used, with the amount of current able to be used for the radiators restricted for the moment because of the supply. Though the amount of electricity available could soon change as could the availability of central heating. If there is a limited amount of electricity, only parts of the house can be heated at any one time.
>> FOOD <<
There is the possibility of a water filter being on site that can provide all the drinking and cooking water you will need. However, it needs someone to be at the property to maintain it so it functions properly.
- - Warmer Months - -
This can all depend on who is at the property, and this changes from year to year, month to month.
If some members of the family are staying at the property then food is provided. If no family are at the property to supervise but are making the occasional visit, if there is opportunity food can be dropped off at the property. This commonly involves large sacks of potatoes and onions at a minimum. If left to supervise yourself at the project, please feel free to adjust the work you contribute to account for what you think is fair with regards to supplied food.
- - Colder months - -
If you are volunteering in a more of a housesitting role during the colder months, then foodwise you will be largely providing for yourself. Though as with the warmer months, when possible, the family will drop off some food supplies if a visit is made to the project.
>> RULES <<
The project aims to be a very informal, laid back easy going place, and most of the time (unless otherwise needed) with as little enforced structure as possible. The overwhelming majority of people that come here, have no need to be asked to abide by the below rules, and they can be relied on to use their own knowledge of what is good behavior. However, there will be a few whose stay here for themselves and for others will be a lot better if only for a little bit of clarification of what we consider sensible, sociable and considerate behaviour.
Please note and abide by the following rules listed below:
- No overly excessive drinking, or drinking at inappropriate times that noticeably affects your behaviour or ability to function normally.
- Visiting any of the local bars in the area is not permitted, unless otherwise agreed.
- Visiting any properties, or attending any social occasions, particularly if alcohol is involved, is not permitted unless otherwise agreed.
- Wash and clean up immediately after use of the kitchen/sink and plates, pots, mugs etc if used personally, unless agreed otherwise.
- You are expected to help maintain and keep the house clean as you go along for the day to day things, as you would in any shared house.
- If you prepare some food, ask others if they would like to contribute to its contents, preparation, and, especially if using communal food; its consumption.
- - Alcohol Consumption - -
Any excess drinking that causes you to be any kind of liability, may lead to you being asked to leave the project, and any stay you have previously arranged to have at the Bed & Breakfast will be forfeited. The fact that the locals encouraged you to drink, or bought or gave you alcohol will not be accepted as an excuse. You may get one warning, or you may not.
For some, it is difficult to find a way to occupy themselves in their free time here, due to the lack of familiar entertainment opportunities that rural Romania has to offer. In these circumstances the temptation of extremely cheap or free alcoholic drinks in abundance is too much of a temptation.
If you get into a condition where you cannot be confidently trusted to look after yourself, or even stand on your own two feet or walk up steps without falling over, you will be asked to leave without hesitation. This is for your own well being as in this condition the general environment of the property and town could be of significant danger to you.
Consider that during spring through to autumn the property serves as a de facto hostel / accommodation location in exchange for guests donating if this is what they want to do. Senior guests or families with young children could turn up at any time announced, and it is not good for them to be received or to be amongst people who are significantly under the influence of alcohol when they first arrive here. When guests are here, or it is possible they will turn up here, at these times it is considered to be (but not the only times) inappropriate for you to be noticeably under the influence of alcohol.
- - Everyday House Maintenance & Food - -
The project for the moment is essentially a shared house when there is more than one volunteer here. We must all help to make the house as pleasant a stay as possible for guests so they may have the best experience possible and want to donate to the project more. [Please write 'I have read every last little bit of your profile' in your first message to us for extra credibility!]. If you see something that could use a quick clean/wash/mop/sweep to significantly improve how clean something looks, please do it.
Everyday cleaning tasks will not be considered as your volunteer work unless you are doing an excessive amount of cleaning, a very specific cleaning task, or something has been otherwise agreed.
The above also applies to food preparation.
The River Danube is quite close (8Km), it is possible to go swimming at the water reservoir, take the bus to Alexandria for the day or go further to visit in the country for a day or two.
> Three Star review <
Please note that we believe that our village is not unique in that it specifically requires females to have 'extreme caution and awareness' as stated in a three star review, but rather the usual caution and awareness that should be taken wherever you are when travelling and volunteering. In the near to ten years we have been taking volunteers, nothing close to what happened to the volunteer in question has ever happened.
The volunteer in question who wrote review. . .
. . . did not respect our rules of not drinking past a restrained amount.
. . . did not take heed of our advice of the local cultural and social norms of how females conduct themselves
. . . did not take initiative of observing how local females conducted themselves in the context of the moment
. . . as stated by volunteer, accepted drink from unfamiliar individual without knowing where it came from or what was in it.
. . . sat in car of unfamiliar individauls
. . . did not choose responible or competent male travelling partner who could or was even interested in looking out for her.
Since the volunteer in question was here, we have had two single females apply through Workaway, and another one through another site. All were happy to come following our explanation. One was unable to come in the end due to Covid. The other two came to stay here alone to house sit and had no problems. We can provide contact details for the volunteer who didn't come through Workaway so they can give a reference.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have good broadband internet
We have had a family park their small motorhome in our drive before. It was a squeeze, but they did it.
This host has said they are willing to accept those travelling with a pet.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week. If winter housesitting, you just have to be here!
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