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Come and help us in July/August !
Get inspired by our new project in the German countryside, close to Bonn/Köln: surrounded by 300 year-old trees, this place is full of spirituality! With our new project, we want to inspire young people to become self-sufficient and work on sustainability. Are you also interested in making new vegetable beds (permaculture design) and making a pizza cob oven? We also want to invite yoga/meditation teachers - specialised in children/teenagers - to come to us!
Last minute: For the English Forest Camp this Saturday we urgently need one more English native speaker! After the language camps (mid July onwards), we would love to be surrounded by people who speak (native) Spanish! What is also very important: to have already some experience in permaculture, and to have an interest in working with children, and to love and enjoy healthy food! Thanks!
In our recently ecologically renovated German "Fachwerkhaus" (consisting of cob and wood), that was previously owned by a German artist, we welcome people from all over the world to work with us and create a better world!
We - my husband Sven (German) and myself Ellen (Belgian) and our two lovely daughters (5 and 13 years old) - have been living abroad for a long time (from 1998 until 2017, with long-term stays (more than 3 years) in Bolivia, Peru, Kenya and Senegal). We finally settled in Germany in 2017 and found our "dream house" in the countryside, close to Bonn and Köln, in 2018 and after a profound renovation process, we moved inside in August 2020 (so very recently). Myself, I am a social worker & cultural anthropologist and my husband is a political scientist - we both have a PhD. We both care about our environment and love animals. At the moment, we have one dog, 3 cats, 1 rooster and 4 chickens (and many chicks at the moment), 2 goats, and our daughters are dreaming of having their own horses one day.
Our place is surrounded by forest. The landscape of Oberberg is very beautiful. Our own terrain has 4 hectares (which is big for this neighbourhood) and consists mainly of forest with very old oak and beech trees (many are 200-300 years old), a fenced field for the animals and plenty of garden space. Our vegetable garden is organized by permaculture design (starting phase) and we want to expand a little part of our natural forest to a FOOD FOREST. There are also four small ponds which after some work could again become homes for trout and great places for us to have a swim.
We have plenty of work in the forest and (vegetable) garden (chopping wood, weeding, planting, etc.). People who have already experience in permaculture/food forest are more than welcome to share their ideas with us! Regarding the gardening work in the summer of 2022, we are looking for one/two workawayers to help us with the vegetable garden based on permaculture (sowing/planting and making more raise beds/ vermi-composting and hügelkultur) and some forest work (collecting wood, chopping and storing wood). We also need to clear the many brambles in the fenced field for the animals. On an every day basis, we need help with feeding the animals, walking with the dog, cooking, cleaning, and now and then taking care of our own children.
Along with the work in the garden/forest, we organise during Easter/Summer/Autumn (not during Winter) LANGUAGE CAMPS for local children. As there are a general lack of opportunities for local children to practice foreign languages and share different cultural customs, we created a place where they can learn and practice speaking these other languages, while playing in the forest and taking care of the animals. We are especially looking for NATIVE speakers in French, English and Spanish (and maybe one day also Russian!) for our Forest Language Camps with local children. The native speakers should have an interest/or have experience in wilderness pedagogic and permaculture in order to be able to come and join us for the Forest Language Camp! In 2022, the English camps will take place at the end of May (long weekend) and in July 2022 (2 weeks) and the German Autumn holidays (2 weeks). We would love to organise one French Camp in Mid August 2022. Besides the Forest Language Camp, we are starting up a "Permaculture Project with children" from March 2022 onwards (break during the summer holidays). Together with the children, we design our own garden and start sewing and planting. This project is organised on Thursday afternoons.
IN GENERAL, we love to be surrounded by people who love nature and have a big interest in permaculture and food forests; enthusiastic people who want to be part of our little community and who see themselves as open minded, colourful, spiritual, creative, easy going, rainbow people. We are looking for those who see the beauty of life and mostly, in the smile of young children. Skilled people in handicrafts/wilderness/ outdoor activities; yoga/shinrin yoku (forest bathing) practitioners and craftsmen are also more than welcome! Are you getting curious? Come and visit us soon!!!
Main topics: organic, permaculture, food forest, teaching, vegan, mindfulness, yoga, wilderness pedagogy, forest bathing, animal care.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
At our place, you are invited to try new things, explore your own personal interests and learn about living in a more sustainable and self-sufficient way. Since we have been living in different cultural settings for more than 15 years, we might share with you our different experiences. You might learn from us what is culturally appropriated and expected from you when you go and live in different settings, which might help you in the future when you plan to go and travel around the globe. At our small farm, we might teach you all sorts of things: from what it takes to make your own food to preserving the harvest. It is just important that you take yourself initiatives to learn things!
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
About the work, we like to find out your special skills and preferences in order to make them as useful as possible in our project. At the end, what matters, is that you are motivated to work! We are certain that one or more activities of our project makes you curious enough to explore! However, we are looking for people who are able to work on their own, who are not scared to make themselves dirty and who are used to work with their hands.
A big part of the general day to day work consists of gardening/maintaining the land, feeding the animals and managing the firewood. Be aware that this requires a good physical condition. We usually start the work at 9:30am (in summer time at 8:30am) and might be ready at 2-3pm (with one lunch break). However, our time table is flexible and we can discuss it.
In July 2022, we want to make new vegetable beds in front of the house and make an outside kitchen with one pizza cob oven. If you are interested to learn these skills, please come and help us.
Our garden is maintained by the principles of permaculture. We love the wild growth of all sorts of plants and herbs, but the growing of nettles, wild brambles and the wild grow of maple seedlings at certain areas are controlled tough. As we do not use herbicides, these are picked by hand (gloves) . During autumn/winter time, the work mainly consists in forest work (collecting wood, chopping wood, etc.), planting trees and getting the garden ready for spring. During spring, we start preparing the vegetable garden (principles of permaculture): planting, sawing, weeding, etc. and organise the Food Forest. During summer, we continue to take care of the plants/trees (irrigation, weeding, planting) and can start to harvest and organise food conservation (making jams and chutneys, fermenting, drying, etc.). We could also need a hand with making the ponds suitable for fish again and/or fixing some leakages.
Besides general maintenance, we need your help in the preparation and organisation of FOREST LANGUAGE CAMPS for local children. Our first English Language Camp took place in July 2020. For these camps, we are especially looking for NATIVE speakers in French, English and Spanish (and maybe one day also Russian!). The native speakers should have an interest/or have experience in wilderness pedagogic and permaculture in order to be able to come and join us for the Forest Language Camp! We will be a team of 2 to 3 workawayers and myself as the coordinator. During a period of two to three weeks, we will intensively work together. The first week, we get to know each other while doing garden work. The second week, next to garden work, we will work in small teams to prepare the content of the language camps and the material needed for the camp. The last week, we will organise fun activities in order to practice English with the ten local children. In 2022, the Forest Language Camp will take place at the end of June until mid July 2022. An English workshop on permaculture will be organised on a weekly basis from March until July 2022.
Depending on your personal interest, there may also be the possibility to get involved with/learn about:
- animal care
- baking our daily (sourdough) bread and own yoghurt
- engaging our children in activities on their level/age
- DIY projects
- Making a compost toilet
If you are a carpenter or a skilled handwork, you definitely can help with:
- Making ecological huts in the forest for the children
- making our own pizza oven and outdoor kitchen (summer 2022)
If you enjoy working with wood carvings and be creative, you are also invited to continue the 70 year old tradition of turning wood into pieces of art and displaying them on the terrain. Or if you ever fancied building a tree house for the kids, be our guest!
At the moment, we are renting out our Tiny House to weekend/week tourists. Visitors of this region are invited to stay with us to enjoy the beauty of this place. Whenever we have tourists staying with us, workawayers are invited to be tolerant and respect visitors' need of silence.
If you are eager to get to know us and our project, share with us your personal stories and background and convince us why you want to stay with us. Workawayers who write us standardised E-mails (i.e. the same mail that is sent to different hosts) are usually rejected. Be aware as well that we do not take long-term workawayers/ people who want to come with a caravan/van and want to live with us for a year or longer.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
FOOD: home-made, organic and vegan/ayurvedic (sometimes also vegetarian, and only my husband eats meat now and then). Eating healthy is very important to us. We eat together and take turns in cooking/cleaning the dishes/table. The kitchen is a communal place and everybody is asked to keep it clean (also on your free days). You are also asked to cook a special dish twice a week (not within the 5 workaway-hours).
HEATING AND ELECTRICITY: there is a central heating system (provided from our own forest wood) - and several stoves that are used during winter time. You won't be cold in the house but we expect visitors to respect some basic rules (during the night and when you are out of the apartment, the heating is on low). We also expect visitors no to exaggerate the electricity/water use as we want to save energy and in this way, reduce our footprint .
ONE OR MORE WORKAWAYERS: when there is more than one workawayer, the apartment might be shared with others. Please be flexible during summer times!
A. The brand-new apartment with central heating
- one big room with one double bed and one bunk bed
- one smaller room with one bunk bed
- private bathroom but shared when there is another workawayer
or B. Bring your own tent/caravan if the weather allows it (only during summer)
or C: The Tiny House (own bathroom and kitchen, one bunk bed downstairs and one double bed upstairs)
INTERNET ACCESS: We do not use W-lan in the house (to avoid EMF) but internet access is provided in the apartment, Tiny House and in the main house.
HABITS: We only invite non-smokers to our place. Smokers are sadly enough send back home. People who are addicted to mobile phones, computer games and television are NOT invited. Only moderate drinking habits are tolerated as we do not like the energy of drunken people among us on a daily basis. Also no use of drugs.
We live about 55km away from Bonn and Köln. From Bonn/Köln to Siegburg or Hennef, then take local Bus to Waldbröl.
Places to visit:
our place is surrounded by beautiful nature, nice walking trails and a number of historical buildings (Homburg Castle) and caves (Stalactite cave in Wiehl) to visit. There is a wonderful Open-air museum in Lindlar, open air swimming pools or lakes and a nearby wonderful Nature Reserve 'Panarbora'.
It is definitely not the place to be for party people and people who love going to cities every day, but nature lovers will be inspired by our place!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We do not use W-lan (or Wi-Fi) in the house (to avoid EMF) but internet access is provided through cable broadband in the Tiny House and in the main house.
This host can provide space for campervans.
We only accept middle-aged, older female (sterilised) dogs so that our young border collie can learn from the older one. If the relationship with the dogs does not work out well and it means that I have to lock up ours for most of the time, then it will be difficult to stay at ours.
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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