It was a early Sunday morning, 4am to be exact when we finally arrived in the town Csikszereda, Romania. We were tired but oh so excited for what this amazing country had in store for us for the next two weeks. So excited that even though we were exhausted from our trip, after finally getting our things in our rooms, we sat in the hallway reading our induction packets instead of getting some sleep.
Our first day of induction was a overload of important information that we thoroughly tried to sponge up. It was an induction into the history and layout of the town, the specifics of our Agriculture projects, and a traditional meal cooked and hosted by a local family which even included some homemade Palinka! Ringing in the New year was a blast with tons of loud fireworks and excited locals toasting to 2018. We then had a few days off to sleep off the jet lag and explore the city, and by explore the city I mean walk around and look at everything but not go in. January first and second are bank holidays in the country of Romania, and let me tell you the locals take the word “Holiday” seriously. Every store, restaurant, and pub was closed. Americans should take some notes!
The agriculture project here in Romania seems to always have something going on, even in the winter! Our main tasks would be building a greenhouse that the volunteers would continue to maintain, putting in a drain system in the backyard which would include a tank to collect water for the greenhouse, and finally planting the seeds for the greenhouse and garden in an indoor facility. We would begin these tasks by making a plan. We also had to buy materials at Dedeman aka: Romania’s Home Depot. Our first week came to a close with a weekend full of exploring and excitement in store!
Skiing and Snowboarding is a blast here in Harghita! Going with a tour guide who has his own skis and can help you find your way around comes in handy. Bran Castle, Rasnov Fortress, and downtown Brasov are totally something to spend time doing. The structures of the buildings are incredible and is truly something we had not laid eyes on before. Spending time volunteering is amazing but leave a little time for exploring the country!
Csikszereda is under that huge cloud of fog!
Amazing views from the Rasnov Fortress
With the weekend coming to a close we had a full week of early mornings, layers of clothing, and mud fights headed our way! Monday we were able to get the structure of the greenhouse started, and a large portion of the drainage ditch dug before the mud got too much to handle. With one day under our belt Tuesday went by with a breeze, with Avery working on the greenhouse with the project manager Csongi, Peter digging the ditch, and myself working on the inside plants and growing lights.
“Frozen ground may be cold but at least it is not muddy” became the motto to live by with working outside. Csikszereda found the perfect combo for making mud, very little sunshine and a lot of fog! But, once you find your footing you can get a ton of work done and have quite a bit of fun doing it. Wednesday was a little more inside based with planting all the plants, hanging the lights, and organizing the inside facility. Thursday was a morning we were glad to have gloves and some background using a shovel. We finished the drainage system which included wrapping the pipe in geo- textile, laying it in the ditch, and then covering it up with all that dirt we so carefully dug out. We are so excited to have finished the drainage system, and almost have the whole structure built of the greenhouse built. Not too bad for two weeks of work and only 4 workers!
Our favorite part of the whole trip was the actual volunteering, we cannot wait to see how the plants are growing in the greenhouse and garden in a few months. The projects have meaning, what more could you ask for….. well maybe an amazing country to work on them in…. Oh wait you get that too!!
Success! We have drainage
Structure is up, now to the roof
Plants, Plants, and more Plants
Thank you Care2Travel!
-Kara and Avery