Our family (which consists of the grandmother, the married couple and two children aged 13 and 15) emigrated from the city of Bogotá (the capital of Colombia), to the countryside with the purpose of starting a new life project, away from the consumerism and closer to nature.
Rita, the grandmother, loves to prepare delicious dishes, cooking is one of her passions as well as the flower garden and ornamental indoor plants. With the exception of her, who does not speak English, the rest of the family have an intermediate level of English, some with a little more fluency than others.
The married couple have a diverse educational background: Erika, the mother, studied early childhood education and fashion design; and Alejandro, the father, social communication and did a master's degree in anthropology. Her interests are good cooking, singing, children, and the arts. He loves to listen to music of all kinds, he loves to read and write; as well as spending time in photography and gardening. Both are fixated on design, in the broadest sense of the word.
Violeta, 13, lives fascinated with the natural world, she will probably become a biologist. She loves taking care of animals and interacting with them as much as possible. She is currently working on a project for the implementation of bee colonies on the farm. She also loves reading stories, as well as writing literary stories about animals. Perhaps, she too will develop as a writer or artist (she likes to paint a lot).
Tomás, 15, is a super chess fan. He spends a lot of time studying and practicing this sport on a daily basis. He is also very interested in music, he is learning (with an intermediate level) guitar and keyboard. He dreams of being an industrial designer, which is why he takes many drawing and sketching courses.
As a family, we all consider ourselves very good hosts. We have experience in receiving guests and making them feel at home, due, among other things, to the fact that we have a long trajectory hosting guests on our farm through an online rental site, which, by the way, has considered us a Superhost since 2014.
On the other hand, we believe that we are living in a historical moment that poses multiple challenges due to the confluence of multiple global crises, around energy, ecology, water, finance, etc ... This is one of the reasons that drives us to work for self-sustainability. This does not mean that we are already 100% self-sustaining, but that with each passing day we depend a little less on external markets. The above also explains why we are homeschoolers, gardeners, permaculturists, and community promoters. Hence, we are starting a language teaching project for needy children and young people in the community, who would not have the opportunity to learn a second language if it were not for the work of international volunteers.
Our workawayers will be able to learn about the culture and lifestyle of a Colombian family and the rural community to which it is linked. Specifically, they will be able to know our routines, what we love to eat (food is very important to us), the way we speak, what we think of the world, our concerns, as well as our hopes and the vision of tomorrow that we are building.
Additionally, they will also be able to learn or improve their Spanish and many of the knowledge that we have acquired in recent years on topics such as self-sustainability, degrowth, voluntary simplicity, garden cultivation, raising chickens and fish, permaculture, water purification, reuse of materials for construction, community networking, gift economy, dry toilet, etc.
We love to have deep and not so deep conversations, which represents a good opportunity to learn a lot about the meaning we give to life.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We are looking for someone who speaks English as a native language and (born and raised in Canada, the United States or England because we want to have a cultural exchange with the Anglo-Saxon world) and who are active, open, organized and eager to learn new points of view about life.
For us it is very important to be able to establish a good connection with aspiring volunteers from the beginning. So we will request videoconference conversations before accepting our workawayers. Then we can clarify all the doubts you have before coming and clarify the routines, what we can offer and what we hope to receive.
Basically, we need people to help us with a well-defined task, which is the improvement of all the English language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) of the family and some people in the community.
We do not think only of grammar classes, but of the practice of the language through conversations, walks, games and learning aspects related to our interests. So if the workawayer manages to integrate the teaching of the language with something specific to their educational background, profession or interests, it would be great (experience in music, drawing, art, culinary, biology, history, are highly appreciated aspects).
While our family will sponsor the workawayer and will be aware of everything he needs while he is linked to the project, it will be one of the members of the community who is in charge of offering the accommodation.
The house where you will stay is a short 5 to 7 minute walk from our home, so it is easy to go back and forth between them. It has great view of the beautiful mountain range and the valley that can be seen from the top of the mountain where we live. One of the most beautiful things about living here is being able to observe the sunrise every morning behind the mountain range, as well as the green valley that can be seen from our place.
Our workawayers will have a private room with a double bed (or we can arrange two single beds in the room). The room is about 12 square meters and there is a bathroom that is next to the room. The room is modern, clean, and comfortable, with very good lighting and ventilation.
There are options for having Internet, however, there is not wifi at the house where you will stay. At our house there is limited Internet attached to our desktop computer. You may use our computer for basic tasks, but we are not equipped for heavy usage. You can, however, purchase a SIM card for data, since there is coverage here, and data plans are very inexpensive compared to the US.
We offer our workawayers lodging and full meals, that is, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The meals will be the same that we consume as a family, some traditional dishes from different regions of Colombia. We love that our food is delicious, so get ready to indulge yourself by tasting the seasoning of our cuisine.
We live in a pleasant temperate climate (close to 21 degrees Celsius during the day, although at night it is cooler, which does not require the use of air conditioning).
Our place is located outside of the town of Sylvania, which is close to Bogota. There are supermarkets, restaurants, a clinic, commercial stores of different types, the mayor's office, some churches, among other things of interest in Sylvania.
From Bogota, you may take a bus from Terminal Salitre (the main bus terminal) to Sylvania, which costs about $4 USD, and takes 1.5 to 2 hours.
Another option is to take a bus from Terminal Sur in Bogota to Sylvania, which takes about 45 minutes.
The buses run from about 7:00am to 6:00pm.
A taxi from Bogota is also an option (regardless of the time) but it is more expensive, at around $70 USD.
Once you arrive in Sylvania we will pick you up for the drive from the town to our home.
Regarding things to do during your visit:
1-) 45 minutes by car from our place there is a spectacular ecological walk to Cerro del Quinini, which was a sacred place for an indigenous group that inhabited the area long ago. The plan is to walk from the bottom of the mountain to the top, which can take 2 hours. Then enter a nature reserve with stunning views of the landscape and an oak forest. A great diversity of flora and fauna is observed, particularly birds. Another attraction of this place are the vestiges of the indigenous Panche culture, embodied in petroglyphs (engraved in rocks) and, at the beginning of the walk, the ruins of an old coffee production factory. This is an all day plan.
2-) In the surroundings of our place you can go mountain biking.
3-) You can play shuffleboard (national sport) on a court that is in the area.
4-) You can do a variety of ecological walks in the surroundings, ranging from 45 minutes to 6 hours. This last option is to visit a small town called Tibacuy, which is reached by crossing the mountain.
5-) You can also rest without doing much inside the farm, contemplating the gardens, or the lake in which we have created a beautiful aquatic ecosystem. It is an ideal environment to reflect or read.
6-) Visit a natural waterfall of more than 15 meters high, which is a hidden gem in the area, since very few people know of its existence.
7-) If you wish, you can get involved in gardening, gardening or caring for animals.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Our workawayers will have a desk and an internet connection to perform basic tasks.
We offer free parking
five hours a day, five days a week.