Volunteer Week 2022
From 13th of August to 20th of August 2022, the Volunteer Week took place at the A Rocha eco-centre in Dobré near Dobruška. More than 35 lovers of God’s creation from six countries including families with young children and a group of older children led by Jana from the A Rocha team, took turns at Krupárna during this time, completing a tremendous amount of work together.
In the future common room, a channel for the heating pipes was dug in the wall and the window sills were installed, including subsequent cleaning (the dusty workers could testify about the intensity of the cleaning).
Three beautiful wooden information boards were assembled and placed in the ground, and the breached river bank by the weir was repaired. In our living garden, the participants cleared all the ponds of unwanted weeds – this was especially enjoyable for the older children because of the hot weather.
Together we laid a new footbridge by the snake hide, cut down several dry trees that threatened to fall on the path and cut the tall grass around all the bushes. Volunteers also prepared much needed firewood for the winter, several dozen frames for the bees, and cleared the stones from the soil heaps, which can now be used for additional garden beds.
It was wonderful to see the cooperation between the different groups and individuals; the younger participants had the opportunity to learn different skills from the more experienced ones – for example, in hammering together the frames for our bees, making information boards or preparing concrete for filling the windowsills.
Also, we cannot forget to appreciate the hard work done in the kitchen under the guidance of Milena, an experienced professional cook, who prepared delicious and healthy meals every day with generous help of our volunteers.
However, the whole stay was not only beneficial for the garden and the Krupárna (“the Mill”) building, it also enriched all our participants. It brought together people from four generations who not only worked together, but also had the opportunity to get to know and learn from one other, share their life story, establish and build friendships, and rejoice together in God’s creation.
Morning and evening time was dedicated to joint prayer and worship, followed by spiritual reflection and Scripture reading. Together we reflected on Psalm 23, the fragrance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the uniqueness of living each day in the present, strengthening one another with faith and God’s gifts, or the significance of churches and temples in Old Testament times. We have been encouraged by the experience of A Rocha in France and Canada, and the work of the Christian Motorcycles Association, a mission organisation that talks about the Gospel with motorcyclists in the UK.
There was also an opportunity for a traditional Czech campfire with roasting sausages, sharing and prayers; adventurous activities in the form of washing in the river or a chance to improve our English while working and sharing with our brothers and sisters from abroad.Every afternoon, the volunteers had an active rest filled with exploring the Eagle Mountains. We visited the Rescue Station in Jaroměř, we enjoyed a guided tour in Josefov meadows where we observed snipes or dippers, but also wild horses and aurochs (ancient breed of cattle). We also released a healed seagull into the wild.
We had the opportunity to learn how our ancestors lived and farmed in the period of the 13th-14th centuries thanks to a tour of the nature archaeological museum Villa Nova in Uhřínov, which helps to understand the medieval village using experimental archaeology. We attended an informative lecture on agroforestry and extensive fruit farming by the students of the Farmers’ School and their colleagues from Germany, and together with residents from near and far we watched Drahomíra Vihanová’s short documentary about Franz Eimann, Daily I Come Before Your Face, about the power of faith and the strong relationship to one’s home.
Each morning we were able to participate in the ringing of birds living around the Keith Morris Center. The ringing was always accompanied by a short introduction of the species – we learned a lot of useful information not only about great tits, but also about the dipper, Eurasian wren, goldcrest and especially the beautiful kingfisher, which is called the Flying Jewel for its beautiful colouring.
We believe that next year we will be able to repeat this successful event, during which we had the opportunity to “taste” the community way of life, and we will welcome you to it as well.