When I chose to go for a workcamp in Ukraine I expected few things: it will be interesting to work on the conservation and preservation of a real medieval castle (you don’t usually do this in your everyday life), I will meet nice and friendly people and I will probably widen my knowledge about this beautiful country.
The work around the castle was hard but really satisfying and we even had lectures from real archeologist who showed us how to recognize the different pieces of ceramic we found while digging. This was also the end of my romantic idea of archeology. It is a hard and dirty job, it requires passion and patience. Our hosts were people who have fully dedicated their lives to preserving the castle and preventing it from destruction. They were an inspirational example of people who have found their life goal and would do everything to achieve it. My first expectation was met on the first days of work and so was the second.
Our group was hardworking, ready to cooperate, eager to learn and have fun. Despite the hard conditions on the camp-side – we were sleeping in tents, cooking on fire and showering with solar water, we managed to have the best under-the-stars beds, great dishes (sometimes traditional recipes were exchanged) and to keep everything clean while saving the resources we were given. It was more than relaxing to live so simple and close to the nature.
And about my third expectation – I knew we will have some free time and we will probably travel but I couldn’t imagine all of the beautiful places we’d visit. The region of Uzhgorod is beautiful combination of history and nature and fortunately we managed to see both. We traveled to some cities nearby, we saw different castles, fortresses and museums but we also had the chance to hike in the nature and visit one of the best parks in this region – Synevir. Not only I have widen my knowledge about Ukraine, I now have a sense of what is it like to live there and there is no excursion or road trip that can show you so much about one place, than the workcamp.
If someone asks me now if I will go to a workcamp again, my answer would be yes, of course. Recharging your batteries can be more exciting than just lying on the beach, it could be a lifetime experience.
Want to have your own workcamp experience? There are plenty of short term voluntary projects you can still join, just check our workcamps database!