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We are an English (Steve) / Colombian (Diana) couple in our 30s/40s. We are privileged to live in our own little slice of paradise, a 7-hectare farm, with spectacular canyon views to one side, and our own accessible patch of river on the other. We have our own waterfalls, and are within 10 minutes walk of a series of public waterfalls. We live about an hour's walk from town, taking in breathtaking valleys and small-scale coffee farms. Our aim to is to be entirely self-sufficient economically and in terms of food.
We are working towards achieving food self-sustainability, using the principles of Permaculture to try and reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible. We have taken local courses on organic farming, and are slowly working to improve the soil health. We are trying to adapt our diet to more traditional local foods, including 'Achira', manioc, Plantain/Banana, Sweet Potato, Wild rasberries/blackberries, sweet cucumber, Yota, etc. However, we have been mostly dedicated to building recently so our garden has been neglected a little.
Our main house is available exclusively for volunteers while we live in a second cottage nearby. We are mostly vegan, though we do buy fresh eggs from our neighbour. Please don't bring meat/fish to the farm. Volunteers cook on a rota basis, and volunteers are also expected to help keep the house clean and tidy.
Steve has lived for 16 years in Colombia, first working as a teacher in Cali, then looking to find a more natural, less hectic life in San Agustin around 5 years ago. He is a qualified life coach, enjoys playing the guitar, badminton (we have a net!), permaculture projects and writing. Diana is a biologist who is involved in local charity work with abandoned animals, and with other local projects. We both work full time bringing up our beautiful 3-year-old girl, who enjoys the company of people who like to make silly faces.
We ask for US$5 per day (COP $15,000) per person contribution to cover 3 meals, gas which is brought by motorcycle, electricity, water, and internet which needs to be faster with more people (and is therefore more expensive). We buy a good quantity of fruit for breakfast and other high-quality ingredients such as olive oil, pure sunflower oil, seeds and nuts, which are expensive in Colombia.
In exchange we can share our knowledge of permaculture and natural building, and you can experience a truly stunning setting with a great atmosphere, with views over a canyon and nature reserve. It's great for birding / birdwatching. You can also offer workshops / products (see below...). Come along we could use your help!
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
We are building a continuous community of volunteers in our main house, with the idea being to share skills and knowledge. We have a board where volunteers and members of the community can offer courses and workshops, which can either be free, donation-based, or fixed-price but affordable. Maybe you never thought of offering your skills, but here could be a good place to start, which could also help you extend your travels. We also encourage volunteers and members of the local community to offer their products. For our part, we can offer yoga, salsa, and Spanish classes. We can organise teachers to come and offer pottery, jewellery/crafts, drumming etc. Steve is a qualified life coach and offers group life coaching for travellers. It's good to find a community of like-minded individuals, sit back and reflect. It might help you realise why you are travelling in the first place, what you are moving away from, what you want to move towards....
We have made some lifelong volunteers friends in the past, and we are happy to share our experiences of living in Colombia / the Colombian countryside. We also have experience of building using bamboo / earth techniques. Though we are still in the learning stages in terms of organic agriculture, we've made some good progress, and have been studying with local experts. We are eager to share our knowledge and listen to suggestions.
We have so much to do that it's difficult to know where to start. We always need help with cleaning the house and cooking.
At the time of writing in mid-2019 we are thinking about the following projects:
1. Finishing the walls of the 3rd floor of our main house, which is a common room / yoga / activity room.
2. Prepare terraces and compost to really start focusing on organic agriculture.
3. Finish a compost toilet and children's play area in bamboo.
4. Building a tool room in super-adobe and with a green roof.
5. Generally making the main house comfortable for travellers (furniture etc)
English and Spanish
We have a dorm downstairs with a double bed and 2 bunk beds. Upstairs we have 2 small rooms, and a dorm with 6 bunk beds. When we have families we tend to have them in the downstairs room. Couples are given priority for the small rooms.
We use compost toilets, which are without water. Please Google this if you don't know what it is....
We are located behind the San Agustín archaeological park, in the Huila region of Colombia. We are 15 minutes from the town by motorbike, or an hour's walk through beautiful valleys. Motorbike taxi to town costs COP 7000 or COP25,000 by car taxi.
San Agustin has a temperate climate, neither hot nor cold. It has the highest concentration of national parks in Colombia, and has a variety of activities for tourists including: visiting archaeological sites (we are within walking distance of the UNESCO World Heritage SIte Archaeological Park and other statues); Horse riding (we can organise cheap tours from the farm); cycling tours; Jeep tours; coffee growing tours. We can rent our motorbike.
The town is steadily receiving more interest from foreign tourists, but is still relatively 'undiscovered' when compared to comparable sites in Colombia and South America. Our neighbours still live in a simple, traditional way. You can find locally-produced milk, cheese, eggs, and honey within a short walk from the farm.
Our ideology is based on the japanese Fukuoka, which involves learning to live with and observe nature. We are interested in people who want to participate in this project and go back to their roots, to the essence of free nature, less controlled by man.
Particularly welcome are badminton players, musicians and lovers of 90s rock, biologists, animal lovers, Vipassana meditators and yoga practicioners, and wanderers looking for an answer to life's contradictions... Also, if you have children you are more than welcome as we have a 3-year-old!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
The morning = 4-5 hours, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.
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