Eco-construction project in Bajouca, Portugal



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  • Description


    Hi, my name is Paul Bruno, my father is Italian and my mother is Dutch, and I mostly grew up in the Netherlands, where in 1998 I got my diploma as an art teacher, after which I worked as an independent artist with my own company called arti parti - Multi Medial Happy Happenings, combining all art forms into one harmonic experience for which I then constructed large bamboo structures using Sacred Geometry, until I left for Kenya in 2011 to set up a permacultural project, but after 5 years of trying my best but repeatedly failing to cooperate with locals at various locations I finally gave up and moved to Portugal in 2017 to buy my own piece of land (which isnt possible in Kenya for foreigners), but it took me an other 4 years to find a suitable piece of land for my project, which I finally found and bought this summer in Bajouca, near Leiria, in a beautiful moderately populated region of central Portugal at only 20 kilometres from the sea, that is specialised in pottery and forestry and has many nice places to visit nearby like museums, restaurants, pizzerias, and bars, various festivals, natural parks, lakes, hotsprings, and ofcourse the beach, one of which (at Nazare) had the Guinness world record highest wave that was ever surfed!
    My piece of land is a true slice of paradise of more than 5 hectares that even exceeded my own expectations; half of it used to be a clay quarry upto around 15 years ago, where clay was collected for many years to be used for ceramics, so now this part looks like a secret valley to me, or like the crater of a volcano because of the clay walls of over 10 meters high around the large flat-bottomed pit where all that clay was removed. This part is perfectly suitable for the Sacred Geometry based design of my permacultural project, although I can't start activities there before February 2022.
    The other half of my land is a wild forest full of large indigenous trees and shrubs with a lovely river alongside it, and it is here where I set up my base camp and where I will now need some help in the construction of my first house, before the 5 other cob buildings included in my permaculture design can be built. I've used my rudimentary base camp along with my car to sleep in upto now, which but its actually a bit too small for that, especially after the heavy rains started that make living there in winter a bit harsh, uncomfortable and claustrophobic.
    For the volunteers there are tents (and hammocks if you prefer) to sleep in and I will also provide 3 meals a day in exchange for maximally 5 hours of work.
    A lot of work preparing the land with a bulldozer is now done so there is now a beautiful circular area cleared and flattened in the middle of the forest where we can start building once the poles are in the ground (that will arrive next week), so we can close the walls inbetween those poles using strawbales, that will then be covered with cob, after which we can start building the wooden dome on the second floor that will also serve as the roof.
    After this house is built our next mission is building a greenhouse and kitchen garden so we can start moving towards the maximally self-sufficient ecovillage that this project is eventually meant to be, so there will always be plenty of work to be done for which volunteers will forever be welcomed, and even more permanent arrangements could be made for people who want to be part of the cooperative I will set up once we produce a marketable surplus of farming products, and when also some cob houses for ecotourists have been built that will generate extra income, so although my project here is just setting its first baby steps who knows what this invitation might still lead to in the future...

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Sacred Geometry and permaculture (design) are my two main areas of expertise which I am eager to transfer to all who are willing to learn more about these subjects, but I'm not sure this fully counts as cultural exchange, so in the more classic sense this area offers an insight into an aspect of traditional Portuguese culture relating to ceramics and also to forestry, as nearby the forests are situated which provided the straight pinewood from which the Portuguese ships were built that conquered "the new world" during the colonial era.

  • Help


    As mentioned in my introduction I firstly need help in construction of my house. For this work some building experience would help, but is not a necessary requirement, because I have lots of building experience and skills myself, so just some more helping hands is all I really need.
    The next job will be building the greenhouse and permacultural kitchen garden, and also for this experience is helpful but not a necessity, as I have been farming for the past 15 years.
    Then comes setting up my permaculture design based on Sacred Geometry at the former clay quarry, for which the same (lack of) necessary requirements apply.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    German: Beginner
    Spanish: Beginner
    French: Beginner
    Portuguese: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    I would like to learn how to speak Portuguese more fluently, as I am still only at the beginners level and when Portuguese people speak rapidly among themselves I miss most of the details.

  • Accommodation


    Tents and hammocks for the guests and use of my base camp with 4 couches covered by two large tarps under which I also just built a rudimentary kitchen. For now I have only one hammock and tarp, so I will buy the tents when I know what type of tent sizes would be the most appropriate accommodation for the volunteers depending on being singles, couples, or families.
    The food provided will be breakfast, lunch and dinner which we will eat together, I can prepare this myself, as I love to cook, but if one of the volunteers likes to concern themselves with this task this could also work well, so I can remain focussed on coordinating the other tasks.
    Vegetarian or vegan is possible, but not necessary, depending on the wishes of the volunteers.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    There is a bus stop at less than one minute walking from the entrance of my land, which goes to the nearest big city of Leiria, from where one can take public transport to the rest of Portugal.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    You can make use of my mobile internet connection whenever you like using my phone as a hotspot (tethering), sharing my 40 GB a month.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    There are many spaces available where a (camper)van or car can be parked, although during heavy rains the clay soil and roads can get too slippery (snowchains or ofcourse 4WD would help in this case), but otherwise there is also a big parking space right next to the main tarmac road where this is not a problem.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    All pets are most welcome!

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 526949554184