From the 18th to the 30th of july 2017. After an arrival in Russia full of surprises between crossing the border from Georgia and the night spent with the Rockers of Mineralnye Vody, I took the train again (by night this time) till Rostov-on-Don, then a bus to go to the small and lost village of Dubovoy in the Rostov Oblast. I spent 2 weeks there (Instead of 1 as it was planned at the beginning) gardenning, cooking, and some DIY, but not only!! Most importantly, I met amazing people, Sergey, Sofya, Lisa and Arina who welcomed me in their home and also other members of this little russian eco-village, with who I spent a lot of time talking, singing,weaving or dancing.
(Cet article est aussi disponible en français : “Eco-villade de Dubovoy : Séjour rural dans les plaines de l’Oblast de Rostov“)
My 2 nights in Mineralnye Vody allow me to plan (A little… I’m not gonna overdo don’t worry) the next step of my trip (As I was saying in my last post… the truth is that I arrived in Russia without any preparation…). After my interesting wwoofing experiences in Romania (Volunteering in exchange of accomodation and food in organic farms and gardens), I thought it could worth it to give a try here in Russia and that it could be a really good way to fully immerse myself in the culture of this huge country. After registering myself on the network and sending emails to different potential hosts, I had the good surprise to receive very quickly a positive answer from a family ready to host almost immediately. They live in Dubovoy, a really small village located in the Rostov Oblast.
I went to the train station to buy my ticket. I chose a night train with a departure time at 11:00 pm. At the end of the afternoon, I left the hostel with my backpack and walked to the station. As usual when I got in the train, people looked at me as if I was an alien and smiled at me seeing the size of my bag which was barely passing through the narrow corridor of the 3rd class. The night in the train has been pretty comfortable. Actually I really liked it. The train is a transportation way I enjoy a lot and more the sleeper overnight trains!!
On the early morning, I arrived in Rostov-on-Don. I didn’t have time to visit, I needed to find a way to go to the bus station because my trip wasn’t over yet, I needed to catch a bus to go in the middle of I don’t know where in the russian countryside.
I succeeded to buy my bus ticket (really few people are speaking english, but I started already having a list of useful vocabulary). The bus was leaving in 30 minutes, just the time for me to grab some food before my 2 hours trip. Before getting in the bus, I managed to ask to the driver to warn me when we will arrive in Dubovoy (Everything in Russian! Believe it or not 😉 !!).
We left the city, and slowly I was discovering the plains which were opening themselves in front of me. I could see them passing before my eyes through the window under the morning sun. We didn’t run into so many other vehicules on this road stud of holes to avoid and sometimes even some areas where it seemed that they abandonned the renovation works without finishing them…
At some point, the bus stopped and the driver told me to get off. I was arrived… Where? It seemed to me that I was in the middle of nowhere. The bus left. I turned round and saw only huge fiels from one side and a landscape of golden hills on the other side. Sergey wasn’t there yet. That gace me some time to appreciate this little part of the russian countryside. I became aware for the first time of the hugeness of this country.
After few minutes, I saw a little light green car coming in my direction from the little road in front of me. It was Sergey. We loaded my bags, I jumped in the car and we left. There are some people like this who makes you feel at ease quickly and breath happiness. Sergey is one of them. In less than 5 minutes of conversation, I was feeling really welcome and he started talking to me about the village, his family and the community. When we arrived, he presented me to Sofya, his wife, Arina and Lisa his two daughters. They showed me my room and gave me some time to settle.
It was a sunny day, we spent our time to go take some water, to cook and eat, to visit the house and the garden, to present me the cats, Marfa, Mars and Dima, and the dogs, Cory and Lors, to say “hello” to the chickens, to go to swim in the river (hard life 😉 ).
After several years spent in Cyprus, they decided to come back in Russia, but this time, there was no way for them to live in a city anymore. They decided to settle in Dubovoy, in this small eco-village where the inhabitants are living in a solid community and try to live simply in the most ecological way, to become self-sufficient in term of food, and to use the permaculture principals to grow food and build their houses (For most of them they have been built with local materials by the inhabitants themselves).
The life of the village is organised around a common space and shared times with divers activities and events happening throughout the whole year. I had the chance to be able to integrate myself during 15 days this amazing community and to meet very nice and kind people.
The daily life program was usually starting early to take advantage of the lowest temperatures to work in the garden or in the house, because after the lunch it was to hot outside. Then I was often cooking with Sofya for the various meals. And in the afternoon and evening, everybody was doing his own occupations, DIY, swimming, I took advantage of this free time also to practice my ukulélé… We also spent a lot of time talking of everything.
The inhabitants have a weekly meeting at the common house to talk about the organisation of the community life, activities and events. It was for me the occasion to meet them all and to visit other people’s houses and gardens.
I had the good surprise to find out that they were organising an event in the honor of “The Earth” that I will be able to join. A group of women, including Sofya and Lisa, had decided to create a choreography for the occasion, and they invited me to join them. This special day started under thunders and heavy rain. But eventually, when the sky stopped crying, we had the opportunity to go out and the afternoon was organised around danses, games, songs and a collective and participative meal with an evening around a campfire singing, and playing music.
I also brought with me from France some wool in order to weave medieval galons during my spare time when travelling (I admit that finally, I don’t really have spare time…). On the way, I created my own weaving cards. When I took it out, Sofya told me that Marina, one of their neighboors was also weaving and I had the opportunity to talk with her and learn new techniques with improvised classes.
In my turn, when they learned that I was dancing ATS (American Tribal Style), they immediately liked the concept of this kind of collective improvisation dances and decided to organise some sessions for me to make them discover the basics.
To end this story, my time in Dubovoy has been inspiring, full of emotions, laughts, warm and joyful moments, disoveries and exchanges. And obviously, the moment I had to go back on the road has been a bit difficult, because I again met people who welcomed me with open arms in their world and that I’m now considering as close friends who I hope to see again one day.
Vidéo time !!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂