Help rebuild eco-guesthouse and permaculture gardens after destruction by Hurricane Maria (Dominica)



Favourited 121 times

  • rating

    Host rating

  • feedbacks



  • last activity

    Last activity


  • Last email replied

    Reply rate

    75.0 %

  • Last email replied

    Average reply time:

    within 23 days

  • Badges

    Super Host
Contact Register

 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description



    Our site unfortunately suffered severe damage during the passing of Category 5 Hurricane Maria on the night of September 18th 2017. All 5 wooden structures including 2 homes, 2 guesthouse cabins and our school space were totally destroyed and the Family Tree community project has been put on hold. We lost absolutely everything from our floorboards to our solar panels including our fridge, oven, furniture, mattresses, kids toys, clothes and, most heart-breakingly, all our books and 90% of our tree and garden crops.

    - Natural spring water source
    - Double vault compost toilet (minus the walls and roof.... for now!)
    - Tool shed with temporary roof - and most tools still operational
    - A bunch of scrap lumber
    - Seeds and the means to harvest some basic organic produce
    - Herbaceous plants
    - Our cow (who became pregnant within days of the storm...), 2 dogs and a cat :-)
    - A fiercely motivated energy to restore our piece of paradise
    - LIFE

    Plans are being made to reconstruct 2 homes and restore the garden. We are mostly looking for help to build 2 wooden cottages in Sept-Nov 2019, plus some community and garden related projects, which include:
    - constructing a small roundhouse, concrete or 'earthship style'
    - rebuilding the structure around the compost toilet
    - building a cob oven
    - installing a simple outdoor shower
    - planting wind-breaks such as bamboo and erosion control such as vetiver grass.

    Before the storm, both our families were under financial strain developing the property and did not have insurance.
    Our families are now homeless, broke and need to rebuild our lives from scratch... We need support from committed, conscious, kindhearted helpers who can handle (and enjoy!) very basic living conditions - essentially, wild camping style. We no longer have internet and our power supply is VERY limited.


    *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ This was our profile before Maria *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️

    We are 2 families living on a beautiful mountainside, developing an off-grid homesteading community using the principles of permaculture design. Amazing location nestled in the foothills of Morne Fraser overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and sheltered bay of Castle Bruce beach on the east coast of Dominica. This site started as an eco-guesthouse and organic gardens, run by Sian, but the strain of doing this alone (with a toddler), led to a transition to communal living alongside accommodating tourists. Two cabins are rented to environmentally-conscious budget travellers, one of which is a grass-roofed hut - a replica of an indigenous Kalinago dwelling. Wherever possible we use local materials, including hardwoods, bamboo and vetiver grass, which is used for the thatched roof.

    Our long-term vision is to create a self-sufficient, educational community that allows travellers to experience life in harmony with the thriving natural world whilst offering a range of yoga and mindfulness retreats, permaculture design courses and natural building workshops.

    Volunteers will stay in a cabin if available, or a tent with shared bathroom facilities. There is slow internet available via my phone for checking mails (on your own device).

    We are located in a fairly remote rural area surrounded by farms and forest. Beautiful hiking trails and river hang-out spots are close by. The beach is a 25 minute walk.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Babysitting / child care
    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Charity work
    Art project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You will learn....

    - to survive in the bush with very little resources
    - to cook a meal for 10 people on an open fire
    - to construct an earthen house with your bare hands
    - to live without electricity and internet connection
    - to see the beauty of the natural world in its purest form
    - to love and laugh no matter your hardships

  • Help


    We are hoping to host volunteers with some building skills, especially carpenters and people with experience of adobe construction - but this is not essential. More important to be fairly strong and physically fit, possess positive and conscious vibes and have the right attitude and work ethic.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, learning French and Spanish.

  • Accommodation


    In tents - if you have your own please bring it as we have very limited resources and want to attract a team of 8 for this rebuild project. As mentioned above, all lodgings were destroyed so conditions are primitive/camping style.

    We will have some basic, shared bathroom facilities... 1 of our compost toilets survived the hurricane and just needs new walls and roof. Outdoor showers will be made before volunteers arrive. Some previous volunteers have preferred to bathe in the small rain-forested river at the border of the property, if the water level is high enough. I am predicting drought this year since the storm destroyed the rainforest... not good for the land, but great for building adobe!

    At the time of writing this I have no idea about the status of kitchen facilities but we have a stove with gas bottle, pots and pans and awesome fire making skills - we will eat!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Buses run to Roseau (capital) monday-saturday. We are close to the beach, river, hiking trails, Kalinago territory for indigenous culture, mountains, rainforest... Nature adventures to be had at every turn.

  • 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

    Flexible but totalling 25 hours per week

Host ref number: 284495423436