Stanciova and the Price of Gold

After vising Atelier DIY in Timisoara, we made the short afternoon cycle 35km along a busy dual road, but luckily it was flat and with some kind of bikepath, of which the main features of the landscape were gigantic crucifixes in the distance. As we turned off for the last 10km it became vineyards, rolling hills, and the setting sun. We reached our sleeping place at Stanciova Farm just as it was getting dark, arriving to a warm welcome, an open fire and delicious home cooked food by Irina and Gab with vegetables from their garden and beautiful cup cakes!!!

Stanciova, is a project with Ecotopia Biketour history, and was set up after being inspired by participating in previous Biketours, and having a role in organising one of the Ecotopia Gatherings in Romania in 2006.

Originally we planned to just stay there for one night, but after an intense evening circle, we decided to accept their warm invitation to stay longer, particularly as some people were feeling quite drained from the intense time in the city. Besides it gave people the opportunity to rest, wash clothes, pick vegetables in their permaculture garden and plan workshops.

We also scheduled some time for a ‘Go Round’, where each person has time to freely express how they are coping with the tour or any of the topics important to them. These Go Rounds, although sounding daunting, became a really important way for the group to be able to empathize with each other, and a time free from practicalities, tasks or rotas, just to listen and be heard.

That evening (pictured above) we joined the people from the community to watch some films about Rosia Montana, including Prețul de Aur (The Price of Gold) as the description on You Tube states: ‘A 2004 documentary film about the Romans in Rosia Montana, displaced, disunited and turned into RMGC corporate hyenas.’

We also heard about the early days of the farm, and how they had been inspired by attending previous Biketours and Gatherings. Stanciova began as a place for people to volunteer and visit the permaculture gardens, but also as an eco community project, with an Ecotopia House where we were being hosted. Paul and Cristina told of how in the early years there was no communication facilities in the village, and so they raised money to set up a scheme to buy bikes for the children to become ‘Green Messengers’, to deliver mesages or errands for the less able bodied people. The Green Meggengers have since been replaced by a telephone line and the internet, but some of the bikes still remain!

Another project they started that is still in use is an internet surfing point outside the village hall. Inspired by something they had seen in Africa, there was a computer set behind the window facing out into the street with USB ports coming out of the wall. If anyone wanted to use the internet, they just had to collect the keyboard and mouse from next door and learn how to use it themselves. Apparently the usage is quite a bit of facebook not surprisingly, but also clearly for some homework. The idea is just to provide a place where people can teach themselves how to use a computer where there was nothing like that previously available.

The folowing stretch of the tour was to be quite a few days of wild camping in not so great weather, so persoanlly I was very greatful to spend an extra day recouporating with people who were so empathetic to the group, in beautiful surroundings, and use some time to mentally and physically prepare for the Transylvania mountains!

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