Our volunteering around Bulgaria

Getting to know the country does not always mean visiting one or two cities, seeing
their monuments, museums and buying few souvenirs on the main street. Basically, I would
describe it as one direction tourism, where we just receive information, see and get what has
been already done. However, for me it is a more complex process including talking to people,
seeing what they work on, how they use sources that are available in particular area, watching
them using their creativity in crafts and art and maybe even learning new skills by trying what
they do.

As follows, we spent our latest days within the activities for short term volunteers – to
experience the combination of work-related and tourist-oriented activities, and to try both way
direction – not to be just receiver but also giver. We saw and absorbed information, but we
gave something in return as well. We dedicated our time, our work, our effort, and our help to
change the place.
One example of this ,,working tourism” was visiting Bjala Reka village, where we
picked the apples from the adopted trees within the project “Rent a tree” which were later
used for a juice and making a jam. Next day we got a chance to see in practice how an organic
apple juice is made in small family factory. As they explained us, picked apples are collected,
washed in the vessel and put to the machine where they are smashed firstly and then presses
with high pressure machine. The result is apple juice, but not fully ready, as it needs to be
heated to cca 80 degrees. This juice is then put into bags without oxygen to prevent from
fermentation process and in these bags it can be stored for even several months. They make
also juices from other types of fruit like cherries, aronia, raspberry, etc. and all the juices are
natural without preservatives or additives. Once they are ready, they are packed and
transported to local shops.

Not just while picking apples and making a jam, but also while working in fire center
in Yablanitsa, creating of mosaics in Karlukovo, seeing beehives in Aglen, and building a
benches in Mindya village we managed to see the other, not promoted part of the country and
culture, and hopefully we managed to support a bit small businesses and people working

Adriána Čigášová

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