Summer Camp for Teenagers from Berlin

In August 2017 a very special event took place in Movile: a group of teenagers from the protestant parish in Berlin-Kreuzberg spent their yearly summer camp in Transylvania. We designed the program for their two weeks long stay in Romania and offered the teenagers a special insight into Transylvania and a fascinating and diversified summertime.

On a very hot day in August we could welcome the 35 youngsters after their long journey by bus from Berlin. The Fortified Church in Apold marked the first stop where we set our camp for the first two nights. The places for camping mattresses and hammocks in the Oat Tower and the White Tower where chosen quickly and a first stroll through the village and its surroundings could be started. First contacts to village inhabitants were made immediately. The soccer match with the young guys from Apold lasted until late in the evening. After a rich and delicious dinner which Marilena from Apold had prepared for us the evening was finished cosy at the bonfire.

Next day’s program included visiting Sighisoara, native town of Vlad “Drăculea” Țepeș. We spend lunchtime with a picnic in the shade of several hundred year old oaks in the natural reserve “Breite”. Getting there was quite a challenge for our bus driver Hartmut which he mastered with ease and the help of several strong arms which cleared the road from fallen branches and trees. Relaxed and ready for new experiences we continued on to Brateiu to meet Victor, a copper smith and Kalderasch Gypsy who showed us the culture, traditions and craftsmanship of this group of Romani. Afterwards a few souvenirs were acquired and special unique copies of copper products were ordered from Victor.

The next day started early in the morning. Virtually at sunrise the alarm went off and all the luggage had to be put back into the bus. Through the morning fog we headed to the Carpathians where we could go on an impressive excursion to one of the last pristine beech forests in Europe. In the evening we went to Movile where we should stay for the coming ten days. After distributing the sleeping berths in the Parish House, the Parish Hall or in tents in the Parish Garden everybody could enjoy the luxury of a warm shower, which had already been bitterly missed in Apold.

With the help of many helping hands the time in Movile was used to carry out several bigger and smaller projects around the Parish House and the Fortified Church. Summer showers in the garden were constructed in order to prevent the fountain to run out of water even with such a large group visiting. The old Baking House which was used as chaotic store-room, was cleared out and cleaned. New stairs were built at the entrance to the Fortified Church from the Parish Garden and the fruit trees in the garden were cleaned from dead wood. A part of the rubbish in the courtyard of the Teacher’s House was transported outside and used to repair the roads and areas in front of the cattle watering fountains. A new sign attached to the fence of the Parish Garden now reminds people not to throw garbage into the garden. Loads of ripe apples were collected in the garden and processed into a delicious apple puree. The openings in the church were closed in order to prevent animals to enter the church and create a mess inside. A new shoe rack and a collection bin for plastic bottles are now part of the inventory of the Parish House. Even bus driver Hartmut mucked in and bricked up a new bonfire place including a barbecue area.

Additionally it was busily snipped, cooked, washed up and dried in order to fill the hungry stomachs of the whole group. Each evening fresh milk for the next day was collected directly from the cow. Everybody could try himself to get some milk out of the cow’s udder by hand. The bio-waste and leftovers in the “pig bucket” had to be brought to their designated recipients. Last but not least the two little kittens “Pünktchen” and “Antonia” had to be fed with a syringe regularly and of course had to be extensively cuddled and stroked.

Of course fun should not get lost aside of all the work. Therefore one of the first actions was to set up an improvised volleyball net on the village green. Two small soccer goals were put together out of wood remains in order to be able to challenge the youngsters of the village in dribbling contests. The brand new Fortified Churches Memory and Fortified Churches Card Game was played extensively – Movile of course was declared as the unbeatable Joker card. Also the daily cow cinema could not be missing. Occasionally long sessions with Cajon and guitar at the bonfire took place in the evenings before the day was ended with a common “Good-Night-Snail”.

The excursion into the hills definitely marked one of the highlights of the trip. On six horse wagons we went on the way to explore the spectacular landscape of the hundred hills. A short rest at the shepherd was used to try out the riding skills and try fresh sheep cheese. Despite a partially quite bumpy journey over hill and dale and a tire breakdown everybody arrived back to the village safely. In the evening the young people from Movile awaited us with a presentation of traditional dances, which ended up in a euphoric party together.

The end of the time in Movile was marked by a colourful afternoon with Holy-Colours and an equally colourful evening, rehearsing and performing a short theatre play, singing, laughing and dancing together with the Romanians.

After two intensive and exciting, but also very nice and fascinating weeks it was time to say goodbye and the group went on their journey back to Berlin. We from Churchfortress have enjoyed the stay very much and hope to see as many as possible back in Movile very soon!

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