I firmly believe that we need to change how we live on this planet if we want to leave a planet for future generations. So, I'm founding an eco community and am looking for support with two key areas (medium to long term) as well as a few small projects.
I'm from the US, living in Panama for the past 15 years and have done a bit of traveling. I have a background in Sustainable Community Development, Business, Economics, and in Training / Development (facilitating learning). I also have a Permaculture Design Certificate.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This is a rural small town, outside of the normal 'tourist' areas, so when you come here you experience 'the real Panama'. There are lots of places nearby to visit by public transportation - mountains, beaches, other small towns, etc. There are touristy beaches and remote beaches. Mountain trails to waterfalls that you need to find a local person to guide you to, and well-marked tourist areas in the mountains. The town itself is a friendly place - people love to sit out and chat in the evening when the sun goes down. There's a local museum, park, fresh veggie/meat/fish market. It's a pretty cool place. Oh and when the town parties -- it really parties!
Personally - I'm from the US so that's my cultural background but have lived/traveled/worked in Latin America for most of my life. I speak fluent Spanish and nearly fluent Portuguese (Brazilian), understand French & German. I'd love to share / study together about Permaculture & related topics.
Our Project has available several opportunities for long-term (preferably 3+ month) volunteers. The learning potential here is enormous, as we are building an intentional community from scratch!
Our center of operations is our shared living space, which is open to travelers and digital nomads as one of our means of support. In addition, we have our Finca, 21ha of land in its natural state – a mix of rolling grasslands, highly eroded areas and forested gullies, escarpments and galleries along the river and stream. In the past 2 years we built an access bridge, planted a 1/2Ha food forest garden, established a couple of swales, and built the Bunkhouse in our pioneer camp area with dry compost toilet, rainwater capture for shower and sinks and an outdoor kitchen. We're making dams & other water catchment systems. The casa is in the town of Antón, Panama and the Finca is about 30 minutes away by car.
For the technology positions (see below), we hope that you're eco-conscious and interested in Permaculture. We also hope that if you're here while we're running a Permaculture course you'll participate in it. For the Finca Projects prior experience designing Permaculture interventions in one or more of our areas of need is extremely helpful, and preferably also interest in participating in a PDC while you're here (we tend to hold them quarterly). These courses are quite affordable and when there are several people here studying, we hold live discussion groups and practical hands-on exercises to complement the online curriculum.
We are pleased that Workaway is now looking at the legalities around this service, and are happy to report that none of the work that we ask of our workawayers take jobs from local people. We have always been very conscious of this. We have 1 person on salary and occasionally employ day labor on the Finca. This is a very small operation with a very big goal. Depending on the project you work on, you'll be interacting with Rebecca (US), Mundi (my partner from Panama), Candy (our staff from Panama), and local day laborers.
In addition to the key needs which require long-term commitments, there are some smaller projects & a special project listed below.
KEY NEEDS -- preferably a 3+ month commitment (1 month minimum):
*️Technology: Website, Positioning, Marketing*️ (Max 2 positions)
These positions are housed at the Guest House and require knowledge and experience in Word Press website design and maintenance, SEO, digital/online marketing including social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (and other emerging outlets). Tasks include updating and improving the website, improving and implementing marketing plans, creating/editing content, interacting on social media platforms to increase engagement and followers, troubleshooting technology issues. Ideally also includes taking photographs and videos, and administrative support (e.g., replying to emails, replying and creating engagements on social media platforms).
3-5 hrs per day – 5 days/week – live at the guest house. Number of hours and meals to be agreed together with scope.
*️Finca Projects; food forest gardens, water systems, power systems*️ (Max 4 positions)
We need to tend the existing food forest, help on water systems and start to look at options for generating electricity at our camp. We’re also planning some structures like a ‘rancho’ or ‘gazebo’ type shelter for meetings and training events, swales, dams made of recycled materials, clay, rocks, etc. with spillways, ponds and irrigation channels. We also need detailed topographical maps showing contours, vegetation, paths/trails and roads, and other features of note such as streams, springs (if any), gullies/run-off ditches, changes in elevation, etc. We expect that those helping at the finca will each take primary responsibility for one area and will collaborate with one another as needed. The four main areas we see at the moment are mapping (so we can develop a comprehensive site plan), water systems/swales, etc, buildings, and electricity.
3-5 hrs per day, 5 days/week. Number of hours and meals to be agreed together with scope. Live on the land in the bunkhouse or a tent - project provides a food allowance for volunteers if helping more than 3 hours per day. *️bonus*️ includes up to 2 days per week at the guest house. Rotate time away from the finca so that there’s always someone on the land.
* compost system - I tried once to implement a system but I think I was missing something. This needs to be small scale as I only have two small courtyard gardens and one of them is in the Guest House (needs to be ornamental as well). Currently I carry food waste to a compost pile at the camp. Maybe you can figure out a better system.
* design, test, install solar water heating system, starting with 1 test & potentially expanding to cover the entire guest house. I have a complete guide on how to do it -- just needs doing!!
* cooking & general support - especially if there are multiple workaways here, it would be great to have someone support with the cooking. but even on a daily basis, i would enjoy having someone to share healthy-cooking with as i often don't make the time
SPECIAL PROJECT: (1 to 2 months for it to take hold)
Support in developing a healthy eating practice, exercise routine, meditation and/or yoga. This can be combined with some of the above small projects.
Rooms currently have double and single beds and either private baths or a bath shared with 1 other room. Depending on the number of workaways (and if there are guests or residents at the casa) you may be in a private room with a shared bath, or a shared room with a private bath. All rooms have ceiling fans and we currently don't have hot water (remember we're in the tropics, so it's hot here).
I can't promise to cook for folks as I often don't make the time to cook for myself due to my schedule. If there's not someone here helping with food prep, we can take turns cooking.
Finca helpers will stay in the bunkhouse or tents (if they prefer to use their own). It is a rustic camping experience with dry compost toilet, outdoor kitchen and rainwater catchment for shower & sinks.
What can you do with your time off -- well, beaches, mountains, permaculture studies -- public transportation here is good - you can get anywhere on a bus or chiva or taxi. There is a lot to see within a few hours of here. And the casa is a pretty cool place to kick back and relax.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
3 - 5 hours a day, 5 days a week