Newsletter XXVII

Dear Lords and Ladies,
friends of Movile,

the churchfortress-bees in magical Movile have been so busy that they forgot to write one of their legendary newsletters during the last weeks! So here comes number 27, the first draft we wrote in bright sunshine, the mighty churchfortress behind us! However, since then we had to suffer a heavy blow of fate, which is why we would like to point out right at the beginning that we will ask you for your support. More about this later…

Some members came back to Movile this year already in April to enjoy the peace and quiet of this wonderful place. Then it was rather cold and wet, but we could be happy about a first completed construction site at the teacher’s house! Daniel, a friend from the village, and a few helpers have rebricked and better interlocked some wall sections and put in a new window in the kitchen. Another important step on the way to our future clubhouse, which we plan to use to implement many other village projects in the coming years. Noroc.

Since we were very satisfied with Daniel’s work and since we can strengthen the value chain in the village by hiring local craftsmen, our fireside group planned a new construction site with him right after their arrival in May: Bricking up the kitchen fireplace using traditional construction methods with lime mortar and recycled, handmade bricks. The support of our restoration work by Daniel and his capable equipa of real good craftsmen from the village put us in the position to also complete this construction site in just a few days and toast together to this success. So now all we needed was a stove to keep the old teacher’s house warm even in winter…. And as things often work out here in Transylvania, the right stove came directly to us! Thanks once again to our friend, Stefan Vaida, who heard about our search at a campfire evening at the church castle and without hesitation made his used Swedish stove available.

Unfortunately, we also had a leaking water pipe and tap during the winter, which is why it got a bit wet in the teacher’s house kitchen. However, the leaks were quickly found and promptly repaired! Also the shaft for the pump, which will pump the waste water into our constructed wetland, was probably not as stable as hoped, so a terrific team spent a week building a new shaft and also added more plantings to the wetland – super helpful was a Duss stone chisel, which was donated along with many other practical tools by Hermann Buncsak and our supporting member Markus Roepke – thank you very much for your support, without which so many of our projects would not be possible!

Another important topic for us this year has been the general statics of the teachers’ house, as we have noticed some potential problem areas in this historic house during our restoration work so far. So, since the winter, we have been working hard on foundations, drainage design, vault cracks, and support beams. Professional help for an assessment of the structural problems came from our friend Sebastian Bethge, craftsman and historic preservationist from neighboring Apold. The good news: The teachers’ house is stable! Nevertheless, even after the many projects of the last few years, there are still some cracks in the masonry that we will address.

In order to avoid future damage to the house as much as possible and to make the best and most sustainable use of the donations spent on restoration in recent years, we want to install new rain gutters on the house this year in cooperation with another expert from the region, which will then prevent rainwater from continuing to seep uncontrollably into our foundation. And we would also like to express our sincere thanks to one of our sponsoring members for this project! When Anatol heard that we would not be able to realize the rain gutter project for the time being only because of the decreasing balance of our association account, he did not hesitate for a minute and provided us with the necessary financial means.

An upsetting message reached us from our friend Victor from nearby Pretai / Brateiu. The coppersmith from the Cortorar tribe, known from some previous newsletters, was involved in a car accident with his entire family, in which Victor and his wife suffered severe injuries to their legs and spine. The cost of the necessary surgeries far exceeds the family’s financial means. We would like to help this family beyond our private donations. Our restoration plan for the teacher’s house includes a large, central, handmade copper lampshade in each room. The plan was not to commission our master copper craftsman friend to make them until one of the next few years, after the major restoration work was completed. But now, due to the serious accident, a situation has arisen in which Victor can use every order, so we want to look for a donor in the ranks of our noble lords and ladies who would take over the financing for us and thus both support the regional craft and help a family in need. The cost is €350 for each of the three individual pieces, so the total cost of the order is about €1,000.

n addition to the many projects around the teacher’s house, our association members are also active in numerous other areas in and around the beautiful village of Hundertbücheln. What has been causing us increasing concern for years is the constantly growing, intensive agricultural use in our beloved Bücheln. It is sprayed more and more poison, many small fields are merged by an agrarian investor to a single always growing corn field, even this spring the foot of a Büchel with heavy machines was simply dug off. With the excavation also another small wetland was filled recklessly and plowed over, in order to increase the intensive field also at this place by some few rows… An irretrievable loss of singular habitats (e.g. for the strongly threatened European pond turtle and many further rare and threatened kinds) in a protected area designated after European right. Many people in the village are also expressing concern. To prevent possible irreversible damage to this Natura 2000 protected area, we are in contact with the newly founded Peisaj Deschis Federation (“Open Landscape”). This initiative was pushed forward by our association member Vicky, among others. In addition, we try to use all possible channels to make the local authorities and a larger public aware of this progressive destruction of an impressive natural wonder.

We had a little time to let the magic of Movile work its magic on us. Well supplied with cheese, eggs and bread from the village we enjoyed the sun and the warm nights at the campfire with friends!

Shortly after we had finished our successful project weeks in the first half of the year and the hard-working friends of Hundertbücheln had dispersed into all directions of the wind, we received news and pictures that were hard to bear. On Thursday, June 22, 2023, the floodgates of the sky opened and unprecedented rainfall fell on our village in a short time. After a short time, the small streams and ditches of the village swelled, overflowed their banks and turned into raging torrents. The water masses developed an unimaginable power, stopped at nothing and simply tore away what was in their way. After the rain finally subsided the following day, the destructive power of the water became clear. Severe damage was evident everywhere along a swath through the center of the village: cellars filled up, paths and bridges were washed out, farm gates were lifted off their hinges and carried away, buildings were damaged, fences were torn out of their anchors, our recently completed constructed wetland was completely demolished, chicken coops had disappeared along with the animals, and a layer of mud several centimeters thick covered the lower-lying areas. As with all of our neighbors, our vegetable garden was completely devastated. Fortunately, it seems that all the villagers were able to get to safety. The damage is not yet fully visible, but we already know that not only in the teacher’s house the work of years was destroyed in this one night.

We all have to digest this shock and document the exact damage. But without any question we will soon start to rebuild. The first friends of Movile are already drafting a reconstruction plan. If you can and want to help us, your support has never been so welcome as in these days. We intend to use the incoming financial aid to help the people from the village who have been hit the hardest to rebuild quickly and unbureaucratically.

In order to make this possible and not to come into conflict with the tax office, our association member Rainer has made an account available. We will use all amounts received on this account exclusively for the removal of the flood damages. Since this is not always provable with receipts in such an exceptional case, we ask you this time to transfer your support to the following account:

Rainer Schamel
IBAN DE58 5001 0517 5549 3969 90
Subject: Flood relief Movile

Thank you very much for your support!