Interviewing Costi and Adi- Mountain People
Interviewing Costi and Adi- Mountain People
Trimis de Livia B la Dum, 07/16/2017 - 12:02
Maybe some of the most sensitive topics about Romania are natural resources management and education. There are also positive initiatives that deserve to gain visibility and which we can all contribute to, even from afar. Let me introduce you two people who thought about solutions, who invest time and energy for a better world: Constantin and Adrian, Mountain People.
Casa-romanilor.ch (C.R.): Shortly: what is Mountain People?
Constantin Țeposu (Costi): We are nature lovers with development projects in different areas: tourism, education, ecology, economy, and culture. It all started with a Facebook page and a few one-day activities dedicated to ecology. We were three people who met on a hike, we barely knew each other. The project grew with activities on maintenance and reestablishment of the markers on some mountain trails, with evenings and competitions dedicated to mountain music, hikes and bike rides in the mountains. We also have bigger projects, such as renovating some mountain shelters. All these projects have also an educational part: parents bring their children along, we have Mountain People and Little Mountain People, we share the joy of being together, but more importantly, each of us learns something.
C.R.: You were established in 2015. What has been the biggest achievement so far?
Costi: Materially, our 2015 project: rebuilding the Strunga shelter in the Bucegi Mountains, at 1893 m altitude. Especially because everything took place quickly: we started collecting materials in June, until August we had most of the things we needed and we started the work. In October, as we were mounting the last door, Winter almost caught us there. However, the true achievements or accomplishments are not material. First, we are truly a community of mountain lovers: we have beautiful friendships, people come again and again to volunteer without feeling pressed or obliged to- from the 60 people who worked at Strunga, 6 of them, who were for the first time among us, joined us at the following activities. Moreover, we are examples- one of our volunteers established his own foundation dedicated to the maintenance of the Cindrel area. Another accomplishment is the trust we built with our sponsors and supporters- the company that helped with the roof for the shelter in 2016 will help us in the next project too.
C.R.: What was the largest stone to carry in this first big project?
Costi (smiling): The physical stones. The 4 tons of materials could be carried with a carriage to a certain point and then piece by piece, no matter how heavy, everything was transported by people, on the back, 300 meters altitude change. Even though there could have been some alternatives, such as asking someone to help us with the helicopter, it would not have had the same impact. This way, all the Mountain People and Mountain Little People were actively involved in the project and got attached to the beautiful thing they contributed to.
C.R.: How do you get in touch with the volunteers?
Costi: Most people answered our calls on Facebook. We started from zero, in 2015, because there were plenty of Facebook mountaineers groups that didn’t know what the other one was doing. On the first day we got 100 likes and the organic growth (since we’ve never paid for advertisements) was exponential. Now over 22 k people follow us, listen and write to us, some of them also join us. Other people hear about us from friends. I’ve noticed something: some people don’t have a sparkle when they hear about a project. This because they don’t recognize themselves in what they do. Here, everyone contributes how they can, doing what makes them happy. We are all open to suggestions to develop efficient long-lasting solutions.
C.R.: Does your professional path relate to this project anyhow?
Adrian: For me quite a bit, I am a mechanical engineer and work in protrusion- this is how I did the 3D model of our future project. However, no matter what we work on, we do it together. A man from Iasi suggested the sketch, Costi has some experience in construction and this is how we were able to estimate what we need for this project and how we can actually make it real.
C.R.: Talking about the future project- what are you up to?
Costi: This year we will rebuild the Flora Shelter that was built in the 70s by the Tourism Group Floreiul from Comarnic. It is located at 1200 m altitude, in the Baiului Mountains.
C.R.: Why did you choose to do it there?
Costi: We like the story a lot. At the “Shelter House”, as the ones in the Group used to call it, ski camps, contests, summer schools were taking place yearly. We want to be able to do what was possible to do back then, adapted to the today’s needs and requirements. 16 children would be able to join a proper non-formal school. In this regard, we are still expanding the team: we want to organize workshops on recycled materials, on ceramics modelling or various sports…
C.R.: Whom are you collaborating with?
Costi: No matter what we do, we have the Mountain Rescue Team (Salvamont) by our side. They are familar with the trails and are very experienced in the mountains. We feel safe having them around. There are also small companies, entrepreneurs and freelancers who support our projects in several ways, even before implementing any project. A gentleman helped us with the law issues. A lady sews and croaks. Her hand made articles, that she creates especially for Mountain People and that she donates are sold for fundraising. Other people support us with materials- they seem to be more receptive when they can donate paintings, screws, wood or construction materials. This is why we try to elaborate our projects to the last detail, to be able to ask exactly for what we need. Otherwise, people tend to be skeptical when they have to donate money.
C.R.: What was the most unusual thing you got as a donation?
Costi: A bed. A friend returned to Romania after a longer stay in Germany and asked us if his bed would be helpful for us. First I thought that the wood could be used for construction. Then we realized that we can do so much more with it: soon, you’ll be invited at the Zero stars hotel- a high class bed on top of the mountains, where you are always welcome.
Adrian: It will be the perfect way to enjoy pure nature and find out more about our projects. And after all, it is a unique idea.
C.R.: How did Mountain People change you?
Costi: Such an experience transforms you a lot. You live with a little and this way you can see what really matters. You see how the biggest changes take place in thousands of steps, taken one by one. Day by day, the people around you influence you: they teach you what they know, you borrow their beliefs. We manage to become better persons, helping each other. Therefore, our projects are not about mountain hikes- we learn things that develop us as human beings.
Adrian (with sparkling eyes): Last year I joined the association after meeting Costi. I did my first step on a hike mostly out of curiosity. Since then, this turned into passion. Each trail is a new experience, through the things you discover in nature and mostly through the connections you establish with the hiking buddies. I am grateful to the people in the association who welcomed me so kindly and accepted me among them so easily and warmly.
We are privileged to enjoy in Switzerland amazing Alpine views, wild forests, hiking trails, via ferrata and alike. Moreover, there is a sports culture and children get in touch with nature at the youngest age- every child from a public school goes on a hike, learns to respect nature and adapt to extreme conditions. Informal education is something normal and everyone in Western Europe recognizes its benefits in children’s education, since they develop notions and a skill set that the formal school does not.
Maybe the moment has come to stop hearing negative things from or about Romania. We can grow in this regard, exploit the existent potential, vision and desire to create. We are the ones responsible to offer support!
You can offer your financial support here:
Asociația „Om pe Munte” CIF: 35055076
Interviewed by Livia Balacescu, July 2017