Croatia, Kuterevo, Sunday, 5th of January. The place where you can hear the forgotten sounds of the nature, the specific silence of the forest and of course a bear roar. 25 people from 5 countries – Croatia, Germany, Latvia, Hungary and Bulgaria met here for the Youth Exchange Winter Peace in Kuterevo, organized with the support of the Youth in Action program.
We brought with us enough warm clothes to handle the freezing winter temperature and the snow. We did not know that we would find the mountain like is just about to be spring, at time of the year when it should be cold, windy and snowy. The thing is that we are here to talk and exchange some ideas about peace and nature and how people influence natural cycles and how we can change it. We’re exploring for example how peace/conflicts, nature/civilization and sustainable lifestyle/consumerism are connected. Our talks and activities are especially centered about 6 topics: activism and volunteering, our relation with wilderness, culture of peace, permaculture, ecological footprint and climate justice. We have started to learn and exchange about all of this during some workshops and debates but we still have a lot to discover! Yesterday, we also got further knowledge from Luka Tomac, a professional photographer and co-worker of Friends of the Earth Croatia, who explained to us his work, his different experiences as an activist and presented some of his trips and projects around the world, from Arctic to Cameroun forests.
We are really enjoying the time we spend here, not only because we learn more about nature, how it change and most important WHY is it changing and HOW to help to save it from the threat we cause. We are as well having a really nice experience learning about local culture. For instance, on Monday, 6th of January, we had the chance to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas Eve in Vrhovine, a village close to Kuterevo where we were welcomed by the local Serbian community which presented us their customs and traditions. We then went all together to the Orthodox Church for the Christmas liturgy.
And for many of us, the best part so far was this morning excursion through the forest surrounding Kuterevo, the following visit of the bear refuge and the meeting of the volunteer team.
More news very soon 🙂
Boryana, Siegbert, Amelie
Pictures: Dennis Todorov