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Laudato Si’!

The text below is part of Erika’s testimony at the most recent eRko youth sustainable camp, which took place in Slovakia in September 2022.

I took part to the most recent Slovakian eco camp organized by eRko – Christian Children Communities Movement – during the third weekend in September. Many young people from different Orava and Liptov regions’ parishes gathered! The camp took place in a guesthouse located in the Orava village of Párnica. The main weekend pillar was: “Laudato Si”, inspired by the encyclical of Pope Francis that focuses on care and sustainability for the natural environment and our planet. The program of the camp was real exciting mix of activities and reflection.

During the camp’s length, we were visited by special guests who stayed with us throughout the whole weekend – the Lazoríks couple and Katka Bilíková. The Lazoríks founded an ecological farm called “Adamov dvor“. They live there with their four children, grow pest-free crops and share their knowledge with others. Peter Lazorík is also a Greek Catholic priest and heads the Roma mission in a nearby parish.

Our second guest Katka has been a volunteer in the community of St. Egidio in Bratislava, who works with homeless people. It was a very rich and enriching weekend for me personally. In addition to discussions and prepared interviews at round tables, we also had informal conversations with the guests throughout the weekend. It was interesting to hear that it is possible to live in a different way, that we don’t have to have everything and know everything, that it is possible to live more moderately for us and more sustainable for our planet and ultimately, for the generation that will come after us. We don’t have to get everything here and right now, but everything has its time and appointed moment for planting, growth, transplanting and for harvesting, too. And I don’t mean it just refers to the garden. In my opinion, we ourselves try to absorb a lot of fast information, fast food, fast relationships, and etc. very quickly. We don’t let things go naturally. We don’t select information. We don’t think about what we eat and where our food comes from. We don’t go deep in relationships. We don’t care about quality, but about quantity. We care more about me being well, and not all of us and our Earth.

Food was also an important theme of the weekend. The pescetarian diet mainly contained local and sustainable crops for the planet. The guests Lazoríks brought us ten types of tomatoes to taste and they have grown them themselves. Finally, they grow up to fifty species in total including pumpkin, from which we cooked soup, or squash and zucchini for pancakes. We even learned how to make homemade yogurt. I am a pescetarian personally, so this menu was not unknown to me at all. I eat every day like this. But many others consider the dishes new and unfamiliar. Some of them were influenced in way to change their eating habits at home to a certain extent. One participant has limited meat in his own household and his family eats meat not five times a week, but only two or three times.

It was a very rewarding weekend for me personally. In addition to meeting with my eRko friends after a very long time and eventual realizing how kind and good human treasures there are among us, I left encouraged that I could influence and change my surroundings with my little bit greatly. And also motivated to specific actions, perhaps also through the starting eRko campaign named DOBROčiny (good deeds).


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