Muddy Hands II.

7 people from Spain, 2 from the Netherlands, 2 Hungarians, 1-1 from France, Germany, Italy and Romania – this colourful group arrived to Hideghegy in the middle of the summer, to volunteer and to learn in our eco-community.

During 21 days our volunteers did the following activities:

- Gardening: weeding, soil loosening, mulching, watering, harvesting lavendel

- Constructing: adobe plaster, stone wall, stone terrace, wood framework

- Techniques/skills: usage of hand tools, mixing of adobe, managing the kitchen, cooking, baking bread

- Community: group work, self-organizing the tasks, common planning, feedback circles

- Training: harvesting rainwater, solar energy, compost toilet, compost heater, permaculture

However we are experienced in hosting large groups, it was indeed challenging to coordinate the 18 people (including our 3 long-term volunteers). Some of the people were hard to motivate. Most of the participants were of poor physical and mental condition (lack of motivation, weakness, phone dependency, lack of cooperation, lack of respect for community rules, disengagement from work processes, mess, noise) and found it difficult to do physical work. The majority of participants were urban, had not been exposed to farm life activities at all, and took a long time to familiarise and train them.

For 3 weeks, we had to be with them from morning till night, keeping the team together, managing the workflow, dealing with the community dynamics, motivating, teaching and dealing with individual challenges/obstacles on the spot, which was an intensive task for the camp leader. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the planned work was completed, the group simply could not cope with working in the summer heat.

But still, the majority of the team was good to connect with, inspiring and enthusiastic to work with, they were open and energetic. It is good that there are still strong and enthusiastic young people who can fully engage in the processes and develop, this was rewarding both for the camp leader and the community as well.


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