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We are a small off grid community of two families with four young children between us and a collection of animals. Venetia and Gautam have been living here for the last 2-3 years while Jeune and Avin moved here recently from Bangalore. Our hope is that this piece of land, a few acres straddling jungle and meadow, will eventually be home to an eclectic group of residents and volunteers where we and others can live and learn.
We have spent the last two years focusing on the basic infrastructure necessities using alternative building techniques - earthbags, mud blocks, compost loos, shipping containers. We now want to open the place up as a blank canvas for all kinds of projects from the artistic to the horticultural, from creating a jungle gym to setting up log bee hives, to make it more beautiful, more comfortable and more fun. Ideas and enthusiastic volunteers most welcome.
We have a decent sized vegetable garden and lots of fruit tree saplings, and we have just got our first chickens. We like to forage as much wild food as possible, including jackfruit, jungle mango, jamun, greens and herbs and also make our our own bread, jam, chutney, sweets, snacks and so on when we can. Most of our medicines, toiletries (shampoo, tooth powder etc) and cleaning products are also home-made.
We are fairly remote. There is no other house in sight and we are a good kilometre from the village. We get plenty of visitors from the jungle, including snakes, jackals, wild boar and elephants. There is little or no mobile signal and/or Internet, which is for us quite a blessing. We spend our days outdoors and our evenings around the fire. We also have a large mud pond with a swing where we swim most days.
Our children are unschooled and share our life exactly as it is. We also often have other children, visitors from the village and further afield. Volunteers who like being with children and are open to their company as they go about their tasks will enjoy it best.
The nearest town is Sakleshpur, a small coffee-growing hill station in Karnataka, South India. Sakleshpur is easily accessible by train and bus from Bangalore and Mangalore; it's about 4-5 hours from either city. From Goa, go to Karwar (near Gokarna) and take the Yeshwantpur-Karwar Express, a direct train which takes about 12 hours. Or travel to Mangalore and take a bus/train from there. From Hampi, take a bus to Hassan and then change onto a bus for Sakleshpur. From Mumbai or Kerala, you can reach us via Mangalore or Bangalore.
From Sakleshpur, you can take a bus or an auto to our place. If the jeep happens to be going into town that day then you can get a lift back.
The nearest shops are about 10km away in Sakleshpur so please buy everything you need before you get here. If you need to go into Sakleshpur during your stay here to buy something or for internet access, there are one or two local buses and/or auto-rickshaws that can be booked in advance
As there is so little internet access it is easiest to coordinate via phone or whataspp - I will send numbers for both when you first get in touch.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
There is plenty of opportunity here for seeing how life in a typical indian village is and we have many friendly neighbours. If you happen to be here during the wedding season or a festival you are welcome to come and participate; hospitality here in India is legendary. We are learning new things every day, from the people around us and from the place itself - lots of trial and lots of errors too... Experimenters and explorers welcome.
There is always plenty to do on a day-to-day basis and we invite all volunteers to pitch in with cooking, gardening, general maintenance etc if they would like to.
In addition we have all kinds of ideas for new projects including a chicken coop, bamboo furniture, hot composting etc which we would like help with. We really welcome new ideas that our volunteers bring too and have implemented several things, including a banana circle, which volunteers suggested.
We prefer that volunteers work on things they are interested in and enjoy, and are totally open to people working in the way they prefer and when they prefer. Often we find volunteers like to take on a project (sometimes their own idea) from design to execution and then work on it at their own pace. All we ask is that everyone participate and contribute to community life.
English, Hindi, Kannada, Sanskrit
We have converted a shipping container into two basic rooms. We have some mud huts and tents. We also have compost loos, bathrooms with hot water and a fully equipped off-grid open kitchen with a wood-fired bread and pizza oven.
We are in the Western Ghats, an incredibly rich and biodiverse area and one of great beauty. There are walks galore among the coffee plantations and paddy fields and also proper expedition treks in the thick jungle of the Ghats. Sakleshpur is also one of the off roading hubs of India.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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