My time as a bear sanctuary volunteer in Romania – by Rosie Dutton

Volunteer in RomaniaWe are excited about Rosie’s blog sequence as it shows how the days are so different on this project. Find out more about Rosie’s life as a volunteer in Romania, and how she is constantly learning and enjoying new things.

Day 10:

Today we had a day off, so we ultimately had a 3-day weekend.  This was due to the driver who takes us to the sanctuary having something to do and because Ivy (another bear volunteer) was going paragliding.  I went with some of the other girls to watch them paraglide and take some photographs of them.  When we got home, we had a well-deserved rest.  I also said goodbye to one of my friends I had made here who travelled home that morning.  Morgan was working with the Child Care programme and her 3 weeks had come to an end.  It was sad saying goodbye but at the same time this is what meeting new people is all about.  Later that evening I wandered around town to get some photos of the square at night.  Unfortunately, it rained and the outing was short lived, but it was nice to have an explore nevertheless.

Day 11:

Bear watchingBack to work today and today was yet again something new.  This morning we went around with a couple of tours, I guess you could say our role was crowed control as it’s important to keep the group together and stop people wandering off on their own and getting too close to the fences etc.  People were also asking us some questions which was really nice and I enjoyed answering them!  Another great thing about the tour is that despite working there a week and talking to the workers, I still found out new information such as what happened to Graeme’s eye (one of the bears who has one pale eye).  It turns out he and his brother lived near a mine and the miners use to feed them.  When the mines got closed however they had no means of food and so when there was some they would fight.  Their fighting got worse and worse and Graeme’s brother caught him bad on the face and damaged his eye.  Unfortunately, one day the fighting got out of hand and Graeme killed his brother, he was then brought to the sanctuary to live out the rest of his days and have all the food he needs.  This was really interesting to find out.
The tour guides are so passionate about the bears and despite doing this every morning all week they never lose the passion for what they are saying about the bears, and I think this is very special.  In the afternoon we returned to food prep and yet again sorted through the stacks of meat.  Finally, the dogs get more and more trusting each day with us and they all love a good cuddle!  Today Cora and Veronique where particularly loving!  I’m excited for the rest of the week as always!

Day 12:

Today we were back on the dairy products, a well-timed decision in my opinion, I think it did me good having a day off from meat.  Today the weather was very unpredictable, so as usual I set off in my shorts and t-shirt.  By lunch the heavens opened and it was very wet for the rest of the day, however I am very happy that we are in a large open building which sheltered us from the rain and thunder.  During the afternoons work, the young bears were giving us quite the performance and the male was climbing up and down the tree and pulling off the branches the higher up he got.  I actually filmed him doing this and watching it back is hilarious!  All in all, today was yet another great day.  I wonder what the bears will be treating us to tomorrow!

Making new friends in RomaniaDay 13

Today we tackled both meat and dairy as there was lots of them both!  Nothing out of the ordinary happened today so we just enjoying the view of the wolves and bears playing happily with one another!  Just as we were leaving the heavens opened however and we were running to the car in the thunder and lightning getting soaked through, we got home and all had hot showers which felt amazing!
That evening was another goodbye meal for the remaining three volunteers who had arrived before me.  Ivy who has just completed her second week, Nikita who had completed her third week and Saskia who had completed a full four weeks.  We ate in a traditional Romanian restaurant just in the old square called Casa Romanesca, this was everyone’s first traditional Romanian meal and we were all very happy and enjoyed the meal.  We then moved onto the modern square and had some drinks in the Irish Pub called Deane’s where the music and atmosphere was great.  I have to say that all the girls I have met here have been truly amazing.  We have all bonded and gelled amazingly and I never thought I would make such great friends so quickly.  Even when the days are a bit long and tiring knowing your close friends are only a door knock away was so comforting and this is just after two weeks of knowing each other.  We are actually planning a reunion sometime next year which will be great.  When we returned home we all pretty much collapsed into bed after a long tiring day!

Day 14

Well I can’t actually believe that I am half way through my adventure here!  2 weeks ago today I arrived very much looking forward to the experience, fourteen days on and I say ‘bring on the rest’.  I am absolutely loving my time here and it is just going so quickly!  Today’s work was the same as yesterdays, but a lot wetter… today it rained continuously and we were all soaked and a little cold, but the bears cheered us all up!  We returned home and cleaned a little as the new volunteers will be arriving shortly.  We will be taking them for their Italian welcome meal which is what I was received this time 2 weeks ago. I am looking forward to making some more new and great friends!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer in Romania, find further details on our bear sanctuary volunteering page.

Volunteer trip with bears

 

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