I'm a Belgian National and Peruvian resident, working in a development cooperation programme on how tu use sustainable natural resources management as a means of poverty alleviation. For the past 4 years I have been living in the city of Oxapampa, on the eastern slopes of the central Andes, where cloudforests form the transition between the higlands and the amazon jungle. in 2014 I built a house here, where I am living off-grid: Solar power, collecting and recycling rainwater (with a greywater system and biodigester for treatment) and small-scale agroecological production of fruits and vegetables, with animals (chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs and bees).
Heimwerker- und Bauarbeiten
Mithilfe auf einem Bauernhof
Betreuung von Tieren
People who are agroecology-enthousiasts, keen on working in the garden or just like a rural, off-grid lifestile would have a site where they can combine staying in a very relaxed and beautiful setting with working on a small-scale garden-project or maintaining an agro-ecological garden. In terms of cultural exchange, from me and the work here they could get to know what it means to live off-grid and try to be (at least partly) self-sustaining - apart from that Oxapampa itself is a melting pot of different cultures (an enclave of descendants of austro-german colonists in the 1800's, native amazon tribes, mestizo migrants from the andes), a bit atypical by peruvian standards, but still very representative of rural areas in the cloud-forests. In terms of knowledge exchange, that would depend on the expertise they have themselves, but I where I am an amateur in agro-ecological gaderning, I am an experienced professional in Land Use Planning, Sustainable Production Systems, the Landscape Approach - which can all be related to a topics as holistic as agroecology and self-sustainability.
I am trying to make my garden an exemple for agroecological production for self-sustainability at the household level, but unfortunately I can't dedicate enough time to the garden as I should. I have to travel frequently for work, which makes maintenance and infrastructure works complicated. For example, I am composting, but without much criteria, just piling up organic matter in a shaded place. Same goes for vermi-compost, I have a small plastic worm bin but would like to expand. I try to observe the amount and diversity of insects and other parts of my garden ecosystem, but don't have the time to do a basic entomological survey. I have a coop for my chickens and other animals, but would like to design and build a better one...or just pulling out weeds and taking care of the vegetables as they grow, preparing Experts on these subjects would be most welcome, but enthousiastic amateurs just as well (I consider myself in that category), we could work together on finding the best solutions, bringing up ideas,...
Apart from that I also have some carpentry work left to do in the kitchen (cupboards and such).
The house has two bedrooms of about 4x4m, each with their own bathroom (shower), where I can accomodate 1-2 people. I can provide meals (breakfast and dinner) when I'm at home, but frecuently I have to travel for work, so I won't always be able to do that. I do have an almost-fully-equipped kitchen (solar panels for the moment don't allow for the use of the electrical oven), which volunteers could use when I am not around with inputs I'd buy (and/or from the garden) to cook themselves. The house is located about 2 km from the town centre, there is no paved road that leads directly to the house, with a 20 min-walk to the nearest road with public transport (moto-taxi). There is always the option to hire transport that can get to the house, but that has a small cost). Next to the house is a river, which in summertime (april - october) is ideal for swimming. Last but not least, the landscapes are incredible and make for a unique experience.
While not a major tourist destination within Peru, Oxapampa definitely has some very valuable and exciting places to visit in the surroundings, especially for the more adventurous travelers and those interested in nature and birdwatching. There are three national parks at less than a day traveling, one of them of the most biodiverse on the planet, the landscapes are impressive, the climate not too hot nor too cold (around 20-25°C throughout the year), and it's one of the better-known coffee-producing areas of Peru.
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