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We've had a lot of volunteers – well over 400 in the last 12 years and we have appreciated all of them and the work they’ve done. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without the help that volunteers have given over the years. Last year was obviously different – I had 5 volunteers all year – and it gave me space to actually think about this and to accept that I no longer have the energy or the patience to have a constant stream of new people coming in and out of my life. However, I do need help.
My daughter Elly and her husband, who is from the village, are currently in the UK and my son, who also has a house here, is obviously not able to travel. That means that I’m responsible for 5 properties in the village and as well as general maintenance, I’m always doing new things and new projects, usually around gardening and natural building.
One of our properties is in the centre of Voditsa and has two self contained apartments – a one bedroom flat that I sometimes rent out, and a larger 3 bed place where volunteers usually live. I’m offering one of these apartments to someone, a couple preferably, who will live there and care for the place. This could also work for a small family. This will be mostly gardening work plus anything that comes up really! There’s a beautiful outside kitchen and a big old barn to hang out in plus the garden. We live outside for as much of the year as possible.
The deal would be that I provide the accommodation including wood and bills plus main food basics – beans, grains etc and veg from the garden in exchange for two days working with me on my other projects and a bit of time each day loving the garden where you'll live.
I have lots of skills and experience to share and I’m looking for people who have something to reciprocate – this is not for first time travellers who have no real life experience – sorry but I know how much time that takes up for me. I’ve done that for over ten years and now I want to work with people who have some skills, some experience, lots of common sense and don’t need me to hold their hand. 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.
Two to three months would be an ideal timescale for me - it could be longer but if you're a UK passport holder, you're stuck with 90 days.
I'm going to leave some of the old information on this profile so you can get a feel for the background.
The normal info that I posted last year:
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.
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.
Práctica de idiomas
Ayuda en proyectos ecológicos
Proyectos de construcción y bricolaje
Cuidado de animales
Ayuda en una granja
Cocinar para toda la familia
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
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.
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.
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 2-3 months minimum .
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.
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5 hours /5 days
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