Some weeks before the 24th Lumia told me about a Teachers Training in Bulgaria. I had noticed that there was an e-mail about it but I didn’t really look into it because I had to write some documents for a client. After Lumia told me about it again I read the PDF and thought that this might be something I could do, something I actually would need in the future. So I filled in the application form online and in no time got feedback from Mihaela from Bulgaria. She wrote me that we need to be 3 people from one country to participate. I then commented on the post in Facebook and contacted some people I knew would really enjoy the course. After some time all Finnish participants were confirmed and I had to pack for Bulgaria.

On the 24th Lumia brought me to Hämeenlinna and from there I took the bus to Helsinki Kamppi. I met Maria from the Helsinki local group for a meeting about the upcoming permaculture association Pikkujoulu which she is organising with me. From there I went to Kalle for couch surfing. We both then travelled by train to the airport, checked in and met Anton at the gate. We first flew to Frankfurt, where we met the Irish team, and then to Sofia, Bulgaria.

After check-out we were standing in the airport hall and noticed that there were a bunch of people that were waiting like us. We suddenly realized that this were the other participants. It was a big “hello” and “meet and greet” and I realized that I had at least met some from the Norwegian team before (in Oslo during the Nordic Institute meeting).

We travelled by bus from Sofia to Gorno Draglishte where Mihaela from the Green School Village welcomed us. We were shown our rooms and then met at the dining room from dinner, Bulgarian dance and music – and raki.

The fist lesson day was Tuesday and we started early with a morning circle in the field close to the guest house. With games we learned our fellow participants names but also discussed admin tasks. Back to the guest house the “Training Permaculture Teachers” (TPT) course started. Our teachers were Candela Vargas, Mihaela Tzarchinska, Mihail Kossev and Philip Varionov. What to say about our teachers other than: Great! Thoughtful! Helpful! Knowledgable! Amazing! Actually the course was supposed to be taught by Alfred Decker. But to be honest: I didn’t really miss him.

The TPT was developed by Rosemary Morrow based on here experience and on the Permaculture Educators course - and in our case with a special context: refugees. Therefore the course had a lot of participants that worked directly, or in my case indirectly (Blueprint Alliance) with refugees. Bringing them together to discuss how Permaculture can enhance the lives of refugees was and is a great idea. For a long time I haven’t experienced that spirit that I found amongst our group. It was a marvellous course and we already, at least here in Finland, have put some ideas into motion. Through the whole course I had fun in using different methodologies and tools in teaching. Most enjoyable were the micro teaching sessions. Never before got I more inspired to teach Permaculture than in this course.

After one week in Bulgaria, far away from our modern reality, I got a little sad when it was time to leave. But before that I put a contribution to the no-talent show up. My topic: a view onto Finnish culture from a migrants perspective. I think I had the laughters on my side. Actually the whole no-talent show was filled up with a lot of talent, story telling, music, dancing, and so on. And while I got 5 hours of sleep that night others only had a power-nap.

When I was at the airport I already started missing the country side and the mountains around Gorno Draglishte. I felt kind of romantic about that beautiful land. It is one of the places I have to come back to.

Or, to put it with the words of Andrea from Italy: "What about the chicken?". 

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Nick

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Gardener, Biogas Practitioner and Webdeveloper. Living beyond buckthorns since 2016.

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A shed at Beyond Buckthorns
Solar panel being moved onto the roof
Cranes over the barn
Red tomatoes hanging on a bush
Organic apple juice made in Finland
4.6KWP Photovoltaic system on a house in Finland
DIY Biogas Workshop at Sedu Ilmajoki, Finland
Strawberry field with straw and newspaper covering the soil