Natasha A. from Centar za zastitu zivotne sredine /Centre for environment Banja Luka, Bosina
It is 7:30 am and I am sitting on a wooden chair at the most beautiful lake I have ever visited. I am at Lake Belgika in Bulgaria at the Young Friends of the Earth Europe Summer Camp. I would like for you to see, because it is impossible to describe with words.
I am not usually a morning person, and I normally have problems getting up early, so this makes me particularly happy because it is not usually the highlight of my day. The night had been cold in the tent, and my body is grateful for the rays that are shining from the sun to me. This camp is really giving me new perspectives on some things.
Also, I have done some things here for the first time. To start with, this is actually my first time camping! I did my first canoeing session yesterday and my first yoga this morning. Canoeing was my highlight in this camp until now. In the middle of the lake, with the forest around and rainbow colours from the reflection of the sunset in the water. Magic: no one does it better than nature.
I am trying new things here and it is what I am enjoying the most. I hate monotony and if I don’t travel anywhere for few months I start to feel something like I have depression. Sometimes I really believe I live to travel. After my first yoga – an interesting experience – we had breakfast. Here we have just vegetarian food, which is also new for me.
When I realised that I would go to this camp with only vegetarian food, I was like “Oh my God, I will die without meat.” I like meat so much and I almost can`t imagine a day without it for even one dish. I can’t count how many times I argued with my mum because I don’t want to eat muesli for breakfast for example. Usually I don’t have healthy habits, particularly about food. So, this is a great chance for me to change my perspective and I am doing that right now. At first I realised that I can survive without meat and furthermore, I feel good eating like this.
After hiking, having lunch and swimming I am with you again to share my impressions. Hiking was so cool. We went to the forest with a girl who was explaining to us cool things about mushrooms and trees. I started to think how I didn’t know anything about it even though I used to live in the country side for the first 4 years of my life.
After lunch, even though it wasn’t warm enough to swim, we decided to go anyway. There I met three adorable girls who were playing and running around the lake. They were so friendly and started to talk to me. I could understand them a little I speak Serbian because I am from Bosnia, and all Balkan languages are quite similar. I like children and their free minds. They don’t have problems with asking what they want to know, or saying what they think... it is a little sad how people lose it with age.
After half an hour staring at the lake and watching people from Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland jumping in and repeating that it’s not cold, finally I went in. And of course it was so cold! They are from the north of Europe, so their opinion about what is cold doesn’t count. Nothing is cold for them! I am not saying this in negative way – I really like this international environment where we can exchange our different styles of living and conditions and everything else without prejudice.
I like all of this: I lake adventures, meeting people from other countries, and exchanging opinions with them. I like to see what youths abroad think about my country, how they live, and how they see us. I like active young people, nature and how people are taking care of it and good health. This camp has all of it, and I am in love with this camp.
Sofija from Dvizenje na Ekologistite od Makeodnija / Young Friends of the Earth Macedonia
Being a part of the Young Friends of the Earth Summer Camp is an amazing opportunity and a great experience. There is a fully-filled program with a lot of sessions, useful games, skill shares, excursions etc.
Besides all of those activities, we all have to feel the real side of camping. Sleeping in a tent, being close to pure nature and being without electricity is really inspiring, especially for us environmentalists. What really keeps us moving forward and ‘surviving’ the busy day is doing yoga.
It is wonderful to be by the calm lake, under the sun that has only just risen in the blue sky, and take some time for yourself to relax. That’s the perfect way to practise yoga.
Yoga is famous worldwide for curing stress, keeping your mind and body at peace and helping your spirit. So, as we are doing it every morning we are more motivated and creative to face the next steps and succeed in the goals of this camp.