The last day

The day has come - with the 26.07. my voluntary service in Hungary ends and instead of a last working day both my organisation and the local community take the chance to properly say goodbye to me.

Medveotthon - Bear Home

We talked about this place for the first time when we visited the zoo in Budapest, just after Linda’s arrival in Hungary: Medveotthon, an animal shelter focussing on taking in mistreated bears which the visitors can feed with honey.

And as a farewell trip for my EVS my organisation invites us volunteers and my mother and sister to a visit of this shelter.

The weather is predicted to be warm, but probably a little rainy, even though the rain itself only shows up for a very short time and doesn’t even get close to Vereb. Between us four volunteers we get two full bottles of honey. Linda and I especially enjoy putting the sweet snack on wooden spoons to push it into the cage of the bears and together we watch them lick the honey off - every bear in their own style.

Besides the big bear area, where we can also observe lots of ravens and a few wolves, there are other cages for more wolves, reindeer and coatis. In a few smaller paddocks rabbits, goats and sheep live, too.

Early afternoon - after the honey has been successfully spread between the bears and we also had a good lunch in the restaurant - we travel back to Vereb, to prepare my goodbye party.

Goodbye among familiar faces

During the last year I met a few people that I’ve grown very fond of. And to avoid simply leaving and having all of them wonder where I suddenly disappeared to I wanted to say goodbye to them officially - with a small party in our camp.

I already said goodbye to my Baranta- and Teahouse-group in the beginning of July, so we were only about twenty people this evening - a few of my relatives who came to pick me up by car (so I’d be able to take all the stuff I gathered during the year home with me), a few volunteers from my trainings, a few people of the local community and my organisation.

The first guests arrived around 19:00, and more and more come until sunset. More and more conversations start all around and with me, not only with people already known to each other, but also between those who have never met prior to this evening.

Before starting the campfire between the yurts we gather in the commonplace with the presentation area and enjoy a small look back to my year in Hungary, with pictures, videos, “thank you”s and memories.

Afterwards we let the evening die away together, with palinka and mead, with fresh vegetables and fire-grilled bacon, with music and conversation. The later it gets, the more people have to go home, and where they wish me good luck for my future, I get to thank them and tell them goodbye on my own.

It’s nearly three in the morning before we decide to turn off the music and let the fire burn out, even though at that point it’s only me and the other volunteers from my trainings sharing stories about us and our time in Hungary.

A little inebriated, wistful but with a lighter heart than I would have expected I finally go back to my apartment, to pack my things for the trip back home the next morning. After all, I can sleep the whole ride back in the car.

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