Mingling with the village…

More than 45% of Romanians are living in rural areas, surrounded by the realms of fairy tales and fresh air that used to inspire the poets to dream and write… but despite that, the rural areas are usually mixed with hard work, poverty, and lack of opportunities.

The village lifestyle in Romania can’t be described as one specific type. It’s different from village to village, sometimes it’s different even from house to house. Every household in the village has its own lifestyle, but there are, of course, some similarities as well.

In a village, there are simple people with kind hearts that would help anytime with anything that they can. Usually, most of them own some land where they usually grow plants in order to feed their animals. They also have small gardens next to their houses, usually growing vegetables. Most of them are also surrounded by fruit trees that serve two purposes: one – it’s for the fruits of course and two – shadow provider. In a village, most of the locals grow their food, so they are somehow independent and don’t have to buy it from stores. Pure eco style and sustainability!

But with this comes also a lot of hard work since all this process of cultivating and growing animals it’s done at a micro level and it’s not usually supported by technology. You can see here and there some tractors and electric scythe, but most of the time the village is a place forgotten in time.

This year was a hard year for the locals that shared their community with us, in Robaia. The rain chose to not fall from the sky causing deep wrinkles on the face of the earth. The plants are suffering, the animals are suffering and the people, especially the old ones, are thinking that all their hard work was in vain, and start remembering the famine of their childhoods, wondering if they will live those time again and how they will manage to pass the winter.

In our village, and in most of them, in general, are also some small shops that don’t have a large variety of products. Usually, there are things that can’t be produced by the locals, for example, oil, sugar, salt, and so on. Sweets and sodas as well but in small quantities since most of the village population is older and used to drink water from their own fountains. Usually, they also serve alcohol on a small terrace in the front of the store.

The barter is a common topic – you give me apples, I give you pears, you give me milk, I help you collect the grass from the fields, we conversate with you, you give us cheese and ham (oh.. you need to try the local cheese, done by the shepherds… its a must!)… its always an exchange and always a desire of sharing and helping your neighbors, as well as other people in the village.

Despite of the fact that the villagers are pretty independent and they don’t really need to buy food, they are not 100% lost in time in terms of technology. All of them have at least one TV, kitchen electronics, and so on. Some of them have wi-fi rooters even though they don’t have a PC or laptop because they choose to have internet access “just in case” – as they would say, if asked. Even the ones that don’t want to have any kind of technology, still have a TV. There are some shepherds who live on the top of the mountain without any kind of technology, but in a very small number, but even they adopted smart technology like solar panels in order to provide them with electricity or 4×4 cars to transport them in hardly accessible places.

When it comes to activities – the night sky is their cinema, the river is their pool, the common is the football field and, hell, they have the best reporters in the world – nothing is moving without the grandmas knowing it… yeah, it sounds poetic and fun, but, unfortunatelly, there is a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to educational or recreational activities for the youngsters born in rural areas.

The village in Romania it’s an interesting discrepancy between new and old and that keeps them alive. Locals get most of the things on their own and use technology only for entertainment or when it makes some of their job easier. This creates a balance between these two opposite sides, a balance that keeps small villages a place you want to be, at least from time to time, to reconnect with the roots of nature and with our traditions, that are most of the time forgotten in our “civilized” world.

Ecoventure bit: „There is no spring in the summer”

Being in wild camping means doing water supplies and since we were in nature, we decided to take advantage of the natural resources this place provided to us. So, we started to search for a spring – first try – Google Maps – very close to us was a place called „Izvorul de Leac” which means „The spring for the cure” – so, we head to there with our 100 liters barrel… Well, it seems that the spring was “cured”, for good, cause there was no sign of water there.

Since the technology failed, we decided to ask the locals and a very nice shepherd that described to us the whole surrounding and pointed out all the springs around, but after 20 minutes of talking he ended up with „But, of my dear Lord, if Izvorul de Leac is dried up, then all the others are too…”. We were stubborn and decided to check, but our stubbornness failed us too… We want it or not, the climate change is re-defining all the things we know… There is no spring in the summer…

The content for this post is part of our online blog called “Ecoventure” which aims to share our experience in the Erasmus+ Youth Exchange ”Ecotourism Ventures for Youth Environmental Education”. The project was financed with the support of the European Commission through Erasmus+ Programme. This blog reflects only the author’s views, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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