We are a British-Indian couple with two young sons and three dogs. Venetia and the boys (and the dogs of course) right now live on the farm, while Gautam commutes there on the weekend from Bangalore. Our hope is that this piece of land, a few acres straddling jungle and meadow, will eventually be home to an eclectic community of residents and volunteers where we and others can live and learn.
We have spent the last two years focusing on the basic infrastructure necessities using alternative building techniques - earthbags, mud blocks, compost loos, shipping containers. We now want to open the place up as a blank canvas for all kinds of projects from the artistic to the horticultural, from creating a jungle gym to setting up log bee hives, to make it more beautiful, more comfortable and more fun. Ideas and enthusiastic volunteers most welcome. (For most of 2018, Venetia will also need help with more basic tasks such as cooking and holding the baby.)
We have a decent sized vegetable garden and lots of fruit tree saplings. We like to forage as much wild food as possible,including jackfruit, jungle mango, jamun, greens and herbs and also make our our own bread, jam, chutney, sweets, snacks and so on when we can. We hope to start growing some grains and pulses at some point. Most of our toiletries (shampoo, tooth powder etc) and cleaning products are also home-made.
We are fairly remote. There is no other house in sight and we are a good kilometre from the village. We get plenty of visitors from the jungle, including snakes, jackals, wild boar and elephants. There is no internet and very little mobile signal, which is for us a massive blessing. We spend our days outdoors and our evenings by the campfire under the stars. We also now have a huge pond with a swing (for the brave) where we swim.
Our children are unschooled and share our life exactly as it is. We also often have other children, visitors from the village and further afield. Volunteers who like being with children and are open to their company as they go about their tasks will enjoy it best.
The nearest town is Sakleshpur, a small coffee-growing hill station in Karnataka, South India. Sakleshpur is easily accessible by train and bus from Bangalore and Mangalore; it's about 4-5 hours from either city. From Goa, go to Karwar (near Gokarna) and take the Yeshwantpur-Karwar Express, a direct train which takes about 12 hours. Or travel to Mangalore and take a bus/train from there. From Hampi, take a bus to Hassan and then change onto a bus for Sakleshpur. From Mumbai or Kerala, you can reach us via Mangalore or Bangalore.
From Sakleshpur, you can take a bus or an auto to our place. If the jeep happens to be going into town that day then you can get a lift back.
The nearest shops are about 10km away in Sakleshpur so please buy everything you need before you get here. If you need to go into Sakleshpur during your stay here to buy something or for internet access, there are one or two local buses and/or auto-rickshaws that can be booked in advance
As there is so little internet access it is easiest to coordinate via phone or whataspp - I will send numbers for both when you first get in touch.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
There is always plenty to do on a day-to-day basis and we invite all volunteers to pitch in with cooking, gardening, general maintenance etc if they would like to.
In addition we have all kinds of ideas for new projects including a chicken coop, bamboo furniture, hot composting etc which we would like help with. We really welcome new ideas that our volunteers bring too and have implemented several things, including a banana circle, which volunteers suggested.
We prefer that volunteers work on things they are interested in and enjoy, and are totally open to people working in the way they prefer and when they prefer. Often we find volunteers like to take on a project (sometimes their own idea) from design to execution and then work on it at their own pace. All we ask is that everyone participate and contribute to community life.
There is plenty of opportunity here for seeing how life in a typical indian village is and we have many friendly neighbours. If you happen to be here during the wedding season or a festival you are welcome to come and participate; hospitality here in India is legendary. We are learning new things every day, from the people around us and from the place itself - lots of trial and lots of errors too... Experimenters and explorers welcome.
English, Hindi, Kannada, Sanskrit
We have converted two shipping container into three basic rooms. We also have compost loos, bathrooms with hot water and a fully equipped off-grid open kitchen with a wood-fired bread and pizza oven.
We are in the Western Ghats, an incredibly rich and biodiverse area and one of great beauty. There are walks galore among the coffee plantations and paddy fields and also proper expedition treks in the thick jungle of the Ghats. Sakleshpur is also one of the off roading hubs of India.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week