Have you ever had the urge to be "in" a foreign country,
rather than just "passing through?"
|War memorial and le Castellas on top of the hill|
|Closeup of Inscriptions:|
"The commune of
St Victor la Coste
died for their country
died for their country
1914 - 1918"
Then those who died in WWII,
I’m sure you’ve gathered that I
Tours are a great thing for seeing all manner of sights and sites: quilt expositions (bien sûr); museums, large and famous, intimate and obscure; great cities and quaint villages, national wonders and grand vistas, rural and urban; great cathedrals and humble chapels. Concerts, films, markets, dégustations, animals. And walk, walk, walk.
Speaking in general, a tour is a "moving" thing: you’re passing through, looking at. And the people become set pieces, to cater to your needs, or, regrettably, to serve as a "typical" adjunct to the scenery. And you may gauge your impressions of the people of a country by these commercial encounters.
Many of Jeanne’s tours incorporate get-togethers with, for example, French quilters, or with American expats living in France who are doing projects of interest to us as quilters, such as fabric dyeing and photography.
But, more than once, I've wanted to be "in" the country, rather than passing through.
So if you, like me, ever have that urge to be "in" a country, if you've dreamed of building castles, let me tell you about one thing you can do: volunteer at La Sabranenque, Saint-Victor la Coste, France, to "participate, discover and learn the traditional building techniques at an international volunteer project."
|The door to my little room|
I describe toward the end of "What Was She Thinking?" about how I came to spend two weeks in a Summer Volunteer Program at La Sab, an interlude in Nice, then one more week in a Volunteer and Visit session during September/October of 2004.
|My blue door and its neighbors|
I’ve wanted to go back, but I’m afraid I’m no longer up to the physical demands. I was 67 back then, yet there were people even older, so age is not a disqualifying criterion.
Some pictures from my stay:
|Looking at the town from le Castellas.|
|A broader view of the town|
|The tower was rebuilt by volunteers.|
|Entrance to the excavation area. That’s me.|
|Our group . . .|
. . . looking inside a chapel within le Castellas restored by earlier volunteers.
|Vineyards outside of town|
|"Garrigue" to the southwest of le Castellas . . .|
|Our crew at work on upgrading the trail to le Castellas|
|Ginou teaches me to patch a hole in a wall.|
|Assembling for lunch . . . meals taken here|
|At the end of every meal|
|On an outing to Arles, we decide to make a picnic in the forest for lunch.|
|"Ginou" describes to us (in French) how this cave |
was used in times past for religious services.
Director of La Sabranenque International Center, co-founder of the association, has a French national degree in direction of group projects. He has obtained several French National awards and medals for his long dedication, of 40 years, to the preservation of French heritage. Ginou will work with the participants on the various work projects, offering his expertise while training the volunteers in the traditional building techniques.
Summer volunteer program: in two-week sessions between June 4 through Sept. 22, 2012
Provençal Cooking May 7-12
Volunteer & wine exploration in the Côtes du Rhône region May 21-26
Volunteer & visit in Provence May 14-19 and Oct. 8-13
Volunteer, hike and discover in Provence May 28-June 2 and Oct. 1-6
Lots more details and pictures at La Sabranenque's website and leave me a comment if you check it out.
See you soon.