“I know it is my place. The sense of home prevails. I have felt this special sense of intimacy and belonging ever since I started to perceive myself as an individual. I am aware that I need the place to the same extent the place needs me. A lot of efforts still need to be invested in the house to maintain the place, but it is worth to do it”, says Ilze Stabulniece, the owner of the horse farm “Klajumi” in Latvia, Kraslava district.
Undoubtfully, Ilze can be thought to belong to the category of those women who never put their hands up in challenging situations. Although the economic crisis hit Latvia and especially its borderlands to a great extent, making the entrepreneurs struggle, Ilze tries to be optimistic: “We plan to offer our tourists new airing trails which will be free of charge, we want to organize new landscaped riding tours as well as finishing the construction of the horse hotel”. It means, when tourists come to Klajumi for a weekend and stay in the traditional guest maisonettes, their horses will be able to spend the time in specially designed horse hotel. If we succeed, it will become the first animal hotel in the whole region”.
Although Ilze works as a director of the Euroregion “country of lakes” where she develops different initiatives for cross border cooperation projects, her passion is nature. Together with her family and supporters she has established a group of volunteers who are working, saving cultural and historical heritage and taking care of environmental values. “We ride horses and collect the litter other people have left in the nature park”.
That was one of the reasons the farm was awarded in the national competition for Ecotourism businesses in 2007. “Klajumi” received the “Green Certificate” for being the most friendly tourism farm in Latgale region. Ilze is very proud of that and strives to teach “green thinking” also to her children.
She is certain that nothing will make her change her mind and move to the city. “I will refuse electricity, I will stock firewood by myself and take the water from the well, but I will never leave my home. The earth gives unimaginable strength, my home is my little paradise”.
Ilze is one of the best examples which prove that women are able to do everything they want – they can work, nurture children, they can be employed in the businesses, organize voluntary groups, but most importantly, they never loose their love and the irfeeling of belonging.
Pictures taken from Ilze Stabulniece’s personal archive.