We are Tamara and Viktor, two Macedonians who met here in Kuterevo by mere chanceon the EVS program. Kuterevo is a medium sized village in Croatia, two and a half hours away from Zagreb. The magic of this place is the bear shelter, which is at the same time the only one existing in the region. Nine bears, each one of them with a different life story, can make you fall in love with this place.
Our tasks begin at 9 o’clock in the morning and last until 18 o’clock with a 3 hour break in the middle. We have a meeting where we decide our tasks for that day, which vary a lot – from gathering food for the bears, feeding them, preparing new shelters for them, cooking for the whole team, crafting souvenirs, feeling jars with honey (eating it as well J), taking care of the gardens, giving tours for the guests around the shelter etc.
The owner of the shelter, Ivan, who is the only permanently present man here, has a special tradition for every person who volunteers there at least four days. One day for each season of the year – that is his idea. In return he does a small ceremony that takes part in Kopijam small valley in the mountain and and gives away small bearshaped necklaces, made by Slovenian artist Matija, to the volunteers for their dedication.
We have been here in this small piece of heaven for three weeks and we have two left. We got the opportunity to meet with people from all around the world and we are sure that we will miss each one of them when we return in Macedonia.
Here is an advice from us to everyone – if you ever have the opportunity, apply for an EVS in Kuterevo, you won’t regret it. Many people have found their inner peace here and many more have found their true self here.
Tamara, Viktor and the bears.