Gyüttment Festival

Last week I got to help out at the Gyüttment (Movers) festival in Magfalva. It’s a great festival, full of sweet enthusiastic people who are excited to learn and share knowledge about living sustainably and taking care of earth. As a non-Hungarian speaker, I might not be the best one to tell what the festival is about, but here is my idea of what it is about, coming from my experience and from what people told me. It’s a gathering for people who are interested in or are already living in the countryside in sustainable ways. The festival is full of workshop, from the morning to dinner time, on various topics that are somehow related to sustainability such as natural building, composting, community building, crafting etc. Unfortunately most of the workshops were in Hungarian, so I’m probably not the best person to tell about them.

Luckily the space that I helped with was the more international space of the festival, the “SEEEN-pad”. “SEEEN” stands for South Eastern European Ecovillage Network and “pad” is some Hungarian word pun that I don’t get. Fanni was hosting the space together with Mirjana from Croatia, and Katja from Slovenia, and I was helping there with Mathilde from France, another volunteer from Szatyor. We also had the support of Gabi, who was our facilitator on our ESC on arrival-training. It was a pleasure to work with all these inspiring people! The program in the SEEEN-pad was mostly in English and sometimes it felt like the program was in English just because of me, Mirjana and Katja, with everyone else being Hungarian, pretty luxury actually!

The SEEN-pad space, was a yurt, made by one of the community members in Nyim, and the surrounding space was half acacia forest and half field. We were close to the middle of the festival, with many people passing by. Me and Mathilde got the honor to decorate the whole space meanwhile Fanni did most of the job in organizing everything else around it. We made some cute candles with old glass jars, paint and string, some party flags out of old fabrics we found in the house, and a big European and Hungarian map, with the idea that people can make tags with their contact information and connect. I also made some flowers and clouds with paint on cardboard. There was also a reading corner with interesting books and some useful information, inspiration and advertisement on the walls. Me and Mathilde also made a poster, with information of how and why to become an ESC-volunteer. I really loved doing the decoration together with Mathilde, and it looked so good!

Together with other volunteers from Szatyor, and Gabi, we organized one program about volunteering, in the form of a human library. We didn’t unfortunately attract too many participants, except two older guys who just happened to walk by, one of them who was even suspicious about volunteering. But still during the festival we talked to a few younger people who seemed interested in volunteering, so hopefully we managed to inspire someone at least.

Some of the program I joined for in the SEEEN-pad was for example Arinas workshop on community building methods. Another workshop I enjoyed was Daniels workshop on the Eco Village Design cards, some very well thought through cards. I also got to try out the Butterfly village cards, a card deck made by people living in eco-villages, such as Edith who held the workshop.The cards could be played in several ways, and seemed for learning to know each other in a group. There was one more program that included cards, Agis Mother Nature-project with two different sets of card-decks with beautiful artwork focusing on motherhood and nature connection. I also joined a word café on the topic of our future, a lecture on Danish folk high school, and a story session where Daniel and Gabi shared their past experiences volunteering in eco-villages in Europe.

In the evenings there was usually a band and artist playing, a big fire with folk dancing around it, and the last night there were also some dj’s playing some good tunes. The food and drinks we had, with our own home-brought plates, cups and cutlery, were delicious and wholesome. The festival was trash free, all the trash you bring you should take home, and it seemed to work pretty well!  

After joining all these programs in the SEEEN-pad I felt like I really got into the themes of community and communication, that continued to the conversations I had during the festival. I feel inspired now, to do more volunteering, see more places and communities, get better and learn about communication-, listening-, being with people-skills, and maybe to even make a card deck of my own. Just meeting people and hearing about what they did during the festival was really interesting for me. I really loved hearing about people’s passions and interests, and it felt so nice to be in a place where so many people have common interests. I had for example a great conversation about how much we love nettles with one guy!

I got told by some that the festival is all about connection, and that the idea behind the festival is that people who are interested in moving to the country side can come there and connect to people who are already doing it. And I truly felt some good connection energy at Gyüttment!

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