We are a young Estonian-Canadian family (Iisak, Maris and our kids Jaako and Raahel) + 2 horses, cats and the friendliest dog ever, Skalli. We live in an old farm property in the deep south of Estonia, surrounded by forests which we share with deer, moose, wild boar, foxes and endless species of birds. We ourselves enjoy fruit and veggies from our organic garden (and eggs from our one chicken!) and awesome rides in the forest on our horses Kalver and Semu.
We are optimistic, driven and welcoming people who enjoy having good conversations but also value our private family time. Iisak plays bass in the local village band (Nedsaja Küla Bänd) and Maris sings with other village women in the traditional Seto Leelo choir (Lummo Kati leelokoor).
We moved down here 8 years ago when the property had been forsaken for years. By today, we have slowly cleaned up the place, took apart and rebuilt numerous buildings, (and built a brand new one) cleared a lot of land for pasture etc but there is still a lot to do. '
We have both had extensive volunteering experience ourselves here in Estonia, in Canada, Iceland, Ecuador & Australia and are looking for ~5hrs work/day 5days/week in exchange for food and accommodation. Volunteer accommodation is simple - we have created a basic living space in our 100-year old barn (details below). We eat simple food, mostly vegetarian (often vegan). We will have lunches all together in our house while breakfast and dinner we will do separately (ingredients are of course provided by us).
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
We live in a very unique area of Estonia called Setomaa where the ancient Seto culture is still very much alive. The Seto people have lived between two worlds, the East and the West, for centuries and have developed a unique and inspiring culture. The most remarkable part of it is definitely the UNESCO-listed "Seto Leelo" - the ancient polyphonic singing tradition. There are lots of traditional Seto village parties which you might be able to attend during your stay, also 3 museums and some restaurants to try out local cuisine.
Check out the short tourist video called "Tere tulemast Setomaale ja Seto Külävüüle!" in Youtube to learn more about the culture - at the beginning you can also see our horse Semu and our village!
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
In 2022 we are looking for 1 or 2 people to come and stay with us for a minimum of 1 month (longer stays also possible and even preferred). We like longer stays because our previous experience both as hosts and as volunteers has shown that this way everyone gets the most out of this exchange. Deeper conversations, a better understanding of the local lifestyle, a chance to see a project from start to finish etc are just some of the advantages.
In 2022 we are looking for help in following fields:
*️️️️help with the VEGETABLE GARDEN and FOOD
- tend to (planting, weeding, harvesting, watering) our organic vegetable garden and greenhouse
- gather wild foods (berries, mushrooms, herbs for tea and medicine)
*️️️️help with GENERAL FARM MAINTENANCE and BUILDING PROJECTS
- yard chores (mowing, trimming etc.)
- DIY and building projects (chicken koop and stable renos, wood shed etc)
- brush cutting, chopping and stacking firewood
*️️️️help with ANIMALS
- daily animal chores such as feeding, giving water, cleaning poop, walking (potentially also riding) horses etc
- build and fix fencing for our pasture land
*️️️️ help with CLEANING and BABYSITTING
- spend time with our 4.5 and 2.5 year old (english speaking) kids Jaako and Raahel
- help with cleaning up in our rentable B&B cabin or other general cleaning jobs around the farm
Volunteer accommodation is in our 100-year old log barn which we have equipped with running water, small cooking stove, a fireplace, table, chairs, sofa and beds. Toilet is outside and washing is next door (hot shower) or in our wood-heated sauna by the pond (hopefully usable again by May). If preferred, sleeping in a tent or a hammock under the stars is also possible. There´s also a small fire pit and free wifi for volunteer use.
During your free time, we have bicycles for exploring the forests (including the Mustoja nature park just 2km away), visiting lakes, caves and other swimming holes, and instruments for playing (guitar, djembe, ukulele, kalimba, clarinet and more). We are also rather social so you can expect to meet some of our friends and family while you are here too.
There are daily buses and trains to and from local towns so it is possible (though not the most convenient) to go explore nearby towns (Võru, Põlva, Räpina, Tartu). Some of our neighbours also accept helpers so you will most likely meet other travellers who are located just a few kilometers away.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host can provide space for campervans.
Maybe. Let´s talk it over and see if we can make it work considering our dog, cats, small kids and farm animals.
roughly 5 hours/day, 5 days/week
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