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 13 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.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in 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 6 months to 1 year) 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 our Guest House, 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. We’re in the process of designing the first interventions on the Finca, including the access bridge, forest garden, swales, dams or other water catchment systems, etc. The Guest House is in the town of Antón, Panama and the Finca is about 30 minutes away by car.
Some knowledge of Permaculture is required for our volunteer positions, since it’s the basis of our project. For the Technology/Marketing positions (see below), we will accept applicants with an interest in Permaculture who agree to enroll in the online Integral Permaculture Design course while here. For the Finca Projects (see below), prior experience designing Permaculture interventions in one or more of our areas of need is required, and preferably also interest in enrolling in the online Integral Permaculture Diploma. 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. Plus, volunteers whose time overlaps with on-site PDCs or other workshops will have the option to participate in these, space allowing.
In addition to the key needs which require long-term commitments, there are some smaller projects listed below.
KEY NEEDS -- 6 month to 1 year commitment:
*️️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’re going to start planting the food forest gardens this year, work on water systems and start to look at options for generating electricity at the Finca. 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 a tent (or under one of the first structures once built), project provides a food allowance for volunteers. *️️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. The first project (unless we manage to build them beforehand) is to build the solar shower and compost toilet.
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).
3) create more bedside lamps for each of the guest rooms from recycled materials
4) design/build more bunk beds for some of the guest rooms
5) 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
English, Spanish, Portuguese, understand German & French but kind of slaughter them when I try speaking.
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 staying at the guest house) 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 tents or under a newly-built structure (once built). It will be a rustic camping experience & if you don't have your own tent / bedding, we'll provide it.
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 Guest House is a pretty cool place to kick back and relax.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week