It was just a regular January in Montenegro. Temperatures mild, post-festive fever high, new goals, new plans, resolutions – all prepared. The FitCamp Community House – full of people from all over the world.
We were shaping plans with our volunteers to improve our backyard and patio for the upcoming season, and just like that, a snowstorm caught us! At first, we were enthusiastic about it, as well as our dogs, but then things went a bit further and… Well, let’s go day by day!
Snow woke us up on Friday, January 20th. Bucolic. All white and beautiful. Arya immediately wanted to go for a walk, as that is her favourite weather forecast – snow and more snow, please! (dire wolf indeed 🐺)
We put our winter clothes and boots on (note: we barely made to find these, as with the climate change, the winters in Montenegro are mild, and we didn’t have this amount of snow in Central Montenegro for years) and decided to make a community hike around the village. It was amusing, as we didn’t enjoy a white hike in ages and the dogs were so happy! We even made a Snowman in the valley. A perfect start to the last working day of the week!
Saturday, January 21st
The weekend opening came with even more snow than the day before. We cleaned around the houses and spent most of the day outdoors. When the night came, the snow intensified, and our team was out until the middle of the night, cleaning the roof and trying to save trees in the yard. Further, at 11:30 pm, there was an electricity cut.
Anybody who knows anything about the Montenegrin rural areas knows the conditions of the electric network that runs through the villages – very poor, mono phase and unstable. That is why we were so afraid of this cut, as we knew that weather conditions are not favourable for the electricity company to get out and fix it in the middle of the night. Additionally, we are collecting rainfall and snowfall too for our water supply system, which is built by us and connected to the electric water pump. Meaning – no electricity, no water!
We couldn’t do much that night and it was getting late. Hoping that a good sleep will solve everything, we went to bed.
Sunday, January 22nd
On Sunday morning, we woke up to idyllic scenery but, clearly, we were cut off from civilisation. No electricity, no water and no road connection to the city. During the night, the snowfall was around 1 m. As a cherry on top of the cake, one of the acacia trees fell onto our car. Luckily, the snow and the suitcase holders absorbed much of a fall, so there wasn’t damage to the car, whatsoever.
We spent the whole day cleaning. Our team, volunteers and guests – all out, cleaning nonstop, protecting the roofs, making passages, and collecting snowfall for the water container. Exhausted, we entered the house in the late afternoon, cooked the food in the wood stove, melted snow for the toilets and indeed felt what living in the wilderness means.
Just when we thought the day was about to end, the snow blower appeared with a lot of noise. We run out of the house to welcome him, but we wish it was only welcoming him! Due to very high snowfall, he couldn’t pass our house and we needed to help them clean with shovels to be able to pass our house and go further.
Now we could go to bed with hope because we at least had the road clean, compared to yesterday.
Monday, January 23rd
Lovely people from our village who live in the city and are visiting daily, have been thinking of us so in the early morning we’ve got fresh bread and coffee delivery. What a beautiful moment of belonging to the local community!
Now, back to reality. Even if the road was clean, our car was trapped by the levy of snow left by the snow blower. We can’t blame them, of course, but it meant another day without the possibility of visiting the city (or better said, civilisation). Obviously, no electricity or water yet so we didn’t have many options but to continue maintaining the house and the yard. The project of the day – cleaning dishes in the snow. Middle Ages or, better say, Djekna – for Balkans’ readers of this blog. 😊
Tuesday, January 24th
Finally, the day has come! You think it’s electricity, but no! It’s the car. We freed it so that we could go to the city, have lunch, get a shower at Andjela’s parents’ house, and recharge the batteries on all devices.
Honestly, this was the day, or a moment, that we realised how we are passing through a digital detox no one asked for. On our way back to the FitCamp estate that night, the hope ignited our beings at the entrance to the village – the part of the area called Sume got the electricity back!
7 km further, enthusiasm disappeared – we were still in the dark. Still, the majority stood well, the spirits were up, and we were inventing things to do without being online. Cards, games, and just talking were enough to spend the night.
Wednesday, January 25th
Being used to the situation, after breakfast, we divided tasks between us and started organising the yard and the house. The good part about this amount of snow was the fact that we filled our water container nicely, collecting snow daily and putting it into the underground water tank. This was a beautiful sunny day, so everything seemed to be easier.
Around 3 pm, the electricity got back. Unfortunately, it was a false alarm, as the next cut came 10 min later. So, finally, similar to last night, after a bit of cooking the old-fashioned way, laughing, and wine, we went to bed with hope.
Thursday, January 26th
Used to the situation, we were now performing our new routines like it was completely normal. Living detached in the 21st century is easy but, we are glad to say we made it, and we didn’t miss anything at all!
After a long walk with the dogs, we collected more snowfall for the water tank, cleaned up, cooked and hung out when false alarm #2 occurred around 6 pm. We already started planning who’s going to the shower first and how to organise the rest when the new cut came. We received it relaxed. We now knew this game.
Friday, January 27th
Not all of us receive things the same way and what the majority reflects is not always the case for each member of the community. Thus, this was a day when our electricity cut team grow smaller as our guest left us. It was just enough for him and he decided to find a new place to stay. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused, but indeed this was out of our power. Nature was showing us that is stronger than modern society, once again. Most of us enjoyed it, some of us did not, and that is more than fine!
Another day without electricity and water went great, as we now knew the system. We were playing as a team, and all was easy!
Saturday, January 28th
Sunshine woke us up. All white and blue outside. We felt it was a day to get back.
Back to civilisation.
Back in the 21st century.
Back to so-called normal.
And so it was.
Overall, this was a waking experience. A pack of different personalities from around the world trapped in the conditions of the middle ages. Positivity shined bright, and we are now proud of the love and positive energy we shared amongst ourselves.
The common understanding, the proper reaction, the compassion and empathy – this electricity cut turned out to be an outstanding experience with a bunch of individuals, who are capable of moving mountains if necessary. Hard, but not impossible, this event crafted irreplaceable memories in our heads, and we couldn’t resist sharing it with all of you! We can guarantee one thing – our community works exactly as it should in all the conditions!