The fisherman showed up early on a foggy morning and saw us in the distance. When we went closer he picked up a casual conversation. The man was in his mid 50s. He looked older and even his sincere smile couldn’t hide how tired he was. We talked about Bulgaria, Montana (the town by Ogosta dam), the people and the story of the dam. “There are barely any people left around the region” – he said. “Most of them moved to Sofia or even abroad. A few of us are still here but at leats it’s peaceful. And this is where I feel most at home” – he continued telling us. “Over there” – the fisherman pointed to what seemed to us the middle of the dam – “I spent my childhood. It was where my grandparents’ house was.”
Short story of Ogosta dam
It turned out that Ogosta dam is one of the inheritances left from the communist times. Many, many years ago there were 2 small villages – Zhivovtsi and Kalimanitsa. The political party then decided that the region needs a dam and people were forced to leave their homes and move. Most of them relocated to Montana – others left Northern Bulgaria for good. The fisherman’s grandparents were amongst the people who didn’t want to go far from home and built their new house meters away from the shore of Ogosta dam. He still fishes there nowadays and says that:
Life is an intersting chain of events. Once there was the garden that fed his family and him. Nowadays, what feels like lightyears later, the fish from the dam is often his main dish. The land that fed you once will always do. As long as you love and respect it.