It is important that you read this entire profile!!
This volunteer opportunity is normally only available during the "winter" months of November through March and sometimes in April
Rich and Shari are retired, living in Idaho, USA, but spending the winter months in beautiful Baja Mexico. We have a beachside property near the growing village of El Sargento, not too far from La Paz, BCS.
We are non-smokers, interested in health conscious, ecologically responsible lifestyles, respecting different cultures and ideas. Shari is very interested in music, being a semi-retired piano and voice teacher. Rich is a competent builder and handyman. If you want to learn building, maintenance or repair skills and would like to volunteer assistance while gaining knowledge, we welcome your request!
Since we do not live here full time, nor are of Mexican or Spanish American heritage, the "Mexican" cultural experience we can offer you is limited. We know some of Mexican holidays, customs and history, and can help you learn or practice more Spanish (although we are only intermediate level speakers). There are however many opportunities to experience more culture and language within the community.
Directly we can teach you about the US and primarily western culture plus provide you practice with your English. In addition, Shari has a great deal of experience with teaching and sharing musical and theatrical knowledge and talent. Rich is very knowledgeable about many practical things, especially mechanical, electrical and most things regarding the construction professions.
We host volunteers of all ages, but volunteers must be fit and reasonably strong as some of your assistance may involve lifting and moving moderately weighted objects. Building or maintenance skills, and familiarity with tools are not necessary, but would be beneficial. The ability to work safely, listen carefully, pay attention to details, remember instructions, ask pertinent questions, and learn simple skills is important.
Volunteer tasks might include helping to: build short stone retaining walls, move and level soil, pour and finish concrete, paint, lift and position building components, clean and sand surfaces, and make and install shelves, doors and cabinets. Skills that can be learned or practiced include: stone masonry, concrete forming/ placement/ finishing, plastering & stucco, painting, sheetrock installation & finishing, simple electrical/plumbing, cabinet making and general woodworking, fabric (PVC) assembly, automobile maintenance/repair, welding, gardening, and landscaping.
You could also volunteer help with general maintenance, which might include grounds cleanup, pruning select vegetation, manual watering, fertilizing, possible transplantation or removal of plants, rust removal, re-painting, and fence repair.
English (expert), Spanish (intermediate)
A small private trailer with a “double” bed for one person or a partnered couple is available. The trailer is not used by the hosts and has a table, sink, stove and closet.
Bedding is provided. A flushing toilet is shared by all volunteers (hosts have a separate one). Currently, one shower is shared by volunteers and with the hosts.
Shari keeps our living areas pretty clean and tidy and we expect volunteers to keep their private living spaces and the common ones they share with us, reasonably clean and tidy also.
You can bring your own RV (we have electrical, water and sewage connections) or tent if you prefer.
Under most circumstances we ask for a minimum stay of 4 weeks if you are desiring accommodations provided by us (if you bring your own tent or RV - we ask for a minimum stay of 2 weeks). However, we may allow for a brief stay under special and preapproved arrangements. We strongly honor OUR commitments to host you, so if you agree to come for a set period of time we expect you to honor that commitment also. Granted, there are some circumstances that require leaving early (such as health or family issues), but your spontaneous change in desires or plans may incur our disapproval. Hopefully you understand this. If you have any concerns that might affect your commitment to stay, please discuss this prior to arrival.
We allow pets only if they are well behaved, will not cause ANY problems, and are capable of being confined if we request this (you must provide the means of confinement).
The hosts will provide food, internet access, electricity, water and laundry services. You can also have periodic use of some of our recreational equipment. We can provide limited transportation (via automobile) to La Paz, shopping and other nearby areas.
A little about our diet. Rich and Shari are mostly vegetarian - eating a very small amount of fish, eggs and dairy. We center our diets around whole food fruits, vegetables, beans and seeds, also eating some grains , bread (usually homemade) and pasta. We do not drink coffee or soda, and Rich rarely drinks alcoholic beverages (Shari never), hence we do not provide these for volunteers. We do provide some additional dairy and eggs for volunteers if they desire to consume these more frequently than we do. We ask you not cook meat while here, but satisfy your meat consumption at local restaurants. Normally we ask that volunteers be responsible for their own cooking and meal preparation, however we enjoy eating together which usually takes the form of sharing responsibility for preparing group dinners. Proper cleanup is expected after food preparation to avoid pest invasion.
The community of El Sargento is almost 1 mile away. It is another 3 miles to La Ventana. The area is a popular destination for water sports aficionados - mainly kite boarding and windsurfing - but also kayaking, SUP, sailing, scuba, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, whale/dolphin/sea-life watching and more. There is also excellent mountain biking, hiking and beach walking opportunities. The community has a decent artistic and musical population. We participate musically by attending and sometimes performing at local weekly "open mic" sessions. You can find Yoga (and other misc. classes), occasional music venues, various restaurants, and lots of small family run eateries. There are local groups that play Pickle-ball, go hiking, mountain biking and more. There are plenty of Spanish speaking locals and a large number of English/French/German/(more) speaking seasonal "snowbirds" (who winter in the area) if you want to chat in different languages.
Nearby La Paz is a busy city with just about everything. There is limited bus transport to La Paz and frequent buses from La Paz to other major towns and cities. Hitchhiking is fairly easy here in the peninsula (according to prior volunteers).
We have a wide,uncrowded, sandy beach just in front of our 3 acre property and a fantastic view of the sea and Isla Cerralvo. Sea turtles often lay their eggs here, so you might get the opportunity to see them hatch if lucky. You can occasionally see jumping rays, porpoises, plenty of sea birds, underwater marine life and even whales out in the ocean off our beach. Our neighborhood is normally quiet, with mostly native flora being home to small wildlife (birds, ground squirrels, rabbits, etc.). . We like campfires, music, sharing experiences and stories with our volunteers, laughing and having fun.
Normal temperatures in winter are ideal, with lots of sunshine, warm days, cool evenings (great for sleeping). Humidity is fairly low for such close proximity to the ocean. It can be quite windy at times (almost every afternoon). Not very many pesty insects - and most reptiles are hibernating or keeping a low profile. Sunrises are often dramatic - aglow in reds and oranges - especially when weather brings in more cloud cover. We have plenty of transitory birds (including hummingbirds) visiting this time of year.
We prefer volunteers with feedback. In lieu of that, we may ask for personal references.
We always leave feedback for volunteers staying with us. Our feedback has primarily been excellent. Unfortunately we have hosted a few volunteers who we gave a neutral feedback due to their leaving us (as in "sneaking off") without prior communication or notice. We find this behavior cowardly and disrespectful. Their response feedback was also neutral (possibly in retaliation?). We can direct you to more excellent references on the "other" popular work volunteer site should you desire these. You can expect an honest review from us if you stay here, and we also expect you to provide us with your feedback within 30 days of your departure.
If you have a fully completed and informative profile with photos, and you submit a personalized request (instead of a standard cut-and-paste one), you stand a much better chance of being accepted.
Here's an important part, so pay attention. We believe in respectful behavior and communication between hosts and volunteers. Unfortunately we have encountered many examples to the contrary, so we feel compelled to establish the following condition. If you commit to spend time with us and at some later time change your mind, we expect to be notified - or - if we are having an "email dialogue" with you, we expect a response - both within a reasonable time frame. If you fail to extend this common courtesy we may leave a non-positive feedback for you regarding this behavior.
Make sure you include the words "cardon cactus" somewhere in your initial request . That way we are pretty certain you have read everything here and have carefully considered the information therein. Otherwise you may be refused.
Congratulations you made it through this lengthy profile and we look forward to receiving your request. Cheers!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
25 hours maximum