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




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  • Description


    Our site suffered severe damage during the passing of Category 5 Hurricane Maria on the night of September 18th 2017. All wooden structures including 2 homes, 3 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 fridge, oven, furniture, mattresses, kids toys, clothes and, most heart-breakingly, all our books and 80% of our tree and garden crops.

    2 years on, things are getting much better and we are focussing on WHAT WE HAVE!!
    - A new concrete dwelling with open living space, kitchen, shower and flushing toilet
    - Natural spring water source
    - Double vault compost toilet (to serve upcoming campsite; structure in need of some renovations)
    - Tool shed and collection of basic tools, including a generator and some power tools.
    - A bunch of salvaged lumber
    - Seeds and some basic organic produce in the ground
    - Our cow Irie-Grace, dog Reiki and cat Rocket :-)
    - A fiercely motivated energy to restore our piece of paradise

    Before the hurricane, we were under financial strain developing the property and did not have insurance. We are rebuilding our lives from scratch on a shoestring budget... and would love support from committed, conscious, kindhearted helpers who can handle (and enjoy!) basic living conditions. Construction or home renovation experience would be amazing. Knowledge/experience of using permaculture would be ideal.

    We are now 1 family (Sian, Elvis, Mario (6) and baby Anaya) working on reconstructing 2 cabins in 2020 and restoring the garden, plus the following projects :
    - constructing a small roundhouse, concrete or 'earthship style' to be the campsite ‘hub’
    - rebuilding the structure around the compost toilet
    - building a cob oven
    - installing a simple outdoor shower
    - planting wind-breaks such as bamboo and fruit trees and erosion control such as vetiver grass.


    *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ *️️️️️️ 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

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You will learn....

    - to survive in the bush with very little resources
    - 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 construction experience - 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 limited resources. As mentioned above, all lodgings were destroyed so conditions are basic.

    We share the toilet and shower located in the house.

  • 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?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Flexible but totalling 25 hours per week

Host ref number: 284495423436