The road to sustainable and self-sufficient life! Fajã Grande, Flores Azores - Portugal

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Portugal

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    18/07/2019

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  2019 

 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

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  • Description

    Description

    I´m Riku, living in Fajã Grande, west side of Flores ,Azores. My main goal is living well, sustainably and self-sufficiently. I studied math, physics, computer sciences and later construction. Basically worked in Finland until I realized there must be a better way and place for living. So now I´m trying to make it here. My domain is one big & one small house in Fajã, one land mainly for fruit trees in Fajã and very nice eco cottage with lands near Lomba. I have a dogs living with me, couple of chickens, perhaps some sheep. I speak only English and Finnish. There are several people in Fajã Grande with the same kind of ideas/projects in mind so there is three other organic gardens where some of the work would be. Two with ready houses and families living in them, one with a single starting farmer with plans for a house. We do quite a lot trips to parties around the island and there is often some sort of party in my house. The parties on this island are generally small however. We also play a lot of board- and role playing games.

    The help is needed for chores around the farms and houses, for general building maintenance and various construction projects . The workload will be about 6 hours per day 4 days per week or 4-5 hours per day 5 days per week. Housing will be provided. Food will be made during workdays. During your days off food will provided if you participate in cooking/ cleaning the dishes. If you go on a trip during your days off, you might have to provide your own food. I eat a lot of meat & fish produced on the island and also a lot from gardens. Now because we are not selling any food from gardens there is almost too much.

    Fajã Grande is the islands party capital! There is 7 cafes/restaurants in a village with less than 200 people. Many islanders come here to spend their free time. There are good natural pools, opportunities for diving and fishing as well as good walking trails and beautiful waterfalls. There are bus lines to other parts of the island and I have a car with which we sometimes move around but there might be too many people to fit inside sometimes. Fishing and spearfishing is possible. We have equipment for that.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Gardening
    Building
    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Other
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Art project
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    There are a lot of eco projects here in the island. There is a possiblity to see people from different cultures doing their visions here. Portuguese empire renamed the island Flores because of the natural beauty. So they considered it one of the most wonderful places in whole planet and so do I. The food is excellent. Because its remote location there isn´t much polluting industry nearby. The soil is very fertile, the fish are very tasty, farmed animals roam free and the chefs are good. Its hard even to think where the enviroment for food producing would be better. Since this isn´t city life or even normal big farm living, there are many projects running and you have a lot to see / learn. My living is "easy" for city people. For more extreme eco farming projects there are other hosts, who provide more experience for living in jungle, washing clothes by hand etc. Well, of course you can live in a tent in Fajã also.

    The change of lifestyle from city is so total that its hard to decribe it here. Also small time eco projects are different from normal mainland Europe farms. So there is probably a lot to learn. Even for people who have seen other such projects, since there are so many on a small island and people are trying new stuff here all the time and learning from each other.

  • Help

    Help

    Gardening / Help with Eco project: This is small scale farming. We don´t use chemicals or industrial fertilizers, aiming for permaculture. Although the gardens are smallish, I was surprised how much they produce. The island is very fertile and things grown here taste very good. The most experienced eco farmer has done eco farming 13 years here and started very young in Finland, so there is a lot to learn here!

    Building / General Maintenance: Buildings involved in the projects range from a 188m2 stone house to a tiny treehouse (a very nice and comfortable home - one couple lives there). We are intending to build some more, at least a sauna, one more small house and some greenhouses. Houses do need maintenance. For example - the house I would call a hobbit hole had its earth roof damaged by chickens recently. Three of us have experience building a house from scratch and two of the houses here were built by us. We are not professionals, though, especially with gas, electricity and plumbing where help would be mostly appreciated.

    Cooking / shopping / house chores: There is at least 4 people eating here daily - me and a couple with a small kid. However, there is often a few more and with workaways it might mean 10 or more people. When you add to this the visitors which include family, friends and other islanders visiting Faja Grande, this number easily goes to 20. Visitors help some, but there is always some cleaning left for next day where your help will be needed. The main chef had a restaurant in the village which was two times rated the best in Azores and the fresh local ingredients are delicious so the food is generally excellent! I've also learned a lot about cooking while being here and I'm sure you will as well. Shopping has to be done in one of the larger villages, best done with car. I usually do it myself.

    Help with Computers / internet / Art project: I have Huion draw pad for computer and could get another. If you have any experience with illustrations/drawing we could use your help. My friend and his mother have been making all sorts of things from recycled/reasonable for nature materials. I have a sewing machine and some tools for that. At the moment, we are not focusing on this.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Finnish

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Big house has 3 bedrooms. 2 small ones and one big. This house has unlimited internet, washing machine and dryer. Small house doesn't have either of those. Both houses should have hot water, but currently don´t (needs fixing). Local camping has free hot showers in case of malfunctions like this, though. Both houses have electricity, gas stove (big one´s oven is electric), fridge & freezer. Big house has 2 bathrooms, one for the big bedroom and the other for all others. Small house has a bathroom. All bathrooms are traditional water ones with showers. Cottage in Lomba is quite primitive, yet very interesting, if you are into eco projects.

    I sleep in the big bedroom with the dog.

    The small rooms are kind of nice. I lived in one more than a year.

    If you get the small house, prepare for roommate(s). These are actually very good for couples.

    Cottage in Lomba has two rooms, though the rooms are not nearly as private as those in Fajã.

    Well those are "the official offers". However, if you are willing to live in a tent/with less comfort, there might be somewhere for you to stay, even if the place is "full". You will still be able to use things here like the washer and dryer.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The island is full of walking trails and swimming/diving opportunities. There are a couple of museums, which might be slightly interesting, since they tell about islands history.The island has many festivities, especially during summer when there is at least one festival every week. In those you can experience the local culture and some of them have free food and drinks, music shows etc. The immigrants have jam sessions / other parties where you can easily meet other workaways / wwoofers. For travelling there are bus lines, which go about 2 times a day; Taxis which might be hard to get during tourist seasons. Of course, since one of the main attractions of Flores is hiking, walking around is a good way to see the island. Since Fajã is famous for its shore, I don´t even see a reason to move around much - I basically go only for shopping & parties myself.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Overall view
This is the garden bed Tania & Smirna made. Maybe too much hoe... so splitting the grass mats too small. That makes harder to keep grass roots upwards.
Some peas that workaways planted and wanted to make forever with camera
Making the walls of cabin with clay, straw & bottles
Garden of cabin before work
Road from cabin
Cabin seen from the fireplace
Kitchen of the cabin. Now there is gas stove also
Picture from my parking lot down the street.
This about what the walking paths look like. There are more amazing places, but I want to save them for real life. Anyways camera can´t catch the full experience.
The coast is very steep. Well the island has 914m highest peak and is only 143km2, so there are many steep places.
My neighbour, two visitors and one visiting workaway taking bark off my neighbours logs.
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