I'm going to start with the big picture. For over 10 years I've been on a path towards founding an ecovillage. That's now beginning to materialize. Thing is - I've been doing this on my own. For a number of years I'd been looking for land for the ecovillage but instead found this house and decided that while I continued looking for land, I'd convert the house into a Guest House and co-living, co-work space. This would generate additional income and eventually serve as the launch-pad for the ecovillage project.
Now I've found and purchased the land 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.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
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 EcoVillage 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!
This is an EcoVillage in formation. Our center of operations is at Casa Ubuntu - our shared living and working 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 year we built an access bridge, planted a 1/2Ha food forest garden, established a couple of swales, and built the Rainbow Bunkhouse in our pioneer camp area with dry compost toilet, rainwater capture for shower and sinks. We're working on dams & other water catchment systems and will shortly be building an outdoor kitchen. Casa Ubuntu 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.
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 of work.
*️Finca Projects; food forest gardens, water systems, power systems*️ (Max 4 positions)
We need to tend the existing food forest, work on water systems and start to look at options for generating electricity at our Rainbow 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 working 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 of work. Live on the land in the bunkhouse or a tent - project provides a food allowance for volunteers if working 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.
1) kitchen garden - I have two courtyard gardens which I would like to figure out if it's possible to grow more vegetables in. I've had limited success in this to-date.
2) 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 Rainbow camp. Maybe you can figure out a better system.
3) create more bedside lamps for each of the guest rooms from recycled materials
4) 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!!
6) cooking & general support - especially if there are multiple workaways here, it would be great to have someone support with the cooking & 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. One of the rooms was recently converted into a 'dorm style' room that sleeps 5 to 7 (2 double beds and 3 singles) thanks to workaways Helene & Xavier and Charmaine. Depending on the number of workaways (and if there are guests or residents at Casa Ubuntu) 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 workers 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 Casa Ubuntu 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