Helping in the post fire recovery in Monchique, Portugal

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Portugal

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    Last activity

    13/08/2019

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  2019 

 Min stay requested: 1 week or less

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  • Description

    Description

    It's funny to read our old profile (still below) and see how things have changed dramatically.
    We had big plans and things were progressing but then the big fire that happened in August 2018, swept trough the land leaving a trail of complete destruction. All our structures, all our trees and soil got burned down.
    Fire is part of a cycle but this one was stronger than any of the ones before....that's what you hear the old man saying each other in the cafe.
    We are motivated to make this work again and we do need help. But in order to come you will have to be resourceful, able to do physical work and self motivated.
    Don't want to trick people into coming because at the moment it looks like a bomb dropped.
    It is however a great opportunity to "read" the land and improve on many aspects.
    At the moment our priorities are:
    - Finishing compost toilet / build shower
    - Fix warehouse for tool storage and other things
    - Tree felling and processing it for construction, firewood, mulch
    - Build temporary kitchen
    - hopefully plant our orchard this winter

    So ideally you would be skilled in construction and forestry work or just ultra motivated.
    If you decide to come you there is a tiny caravan, a trailer/tent and a couple of big tents with inflatable mattresses etc
    At the moment we still don't have hot water or electricity. You would have to bring good sleeping bags because it might get cold in the night.

    All the best



    Old Profile

    We are located on a slope facing northwest in the beautiful hills of Monchique.
    We are giving the first steps to establish a health retreat centre in which people will come to follow a holistic programme based on Nature elements, cycles and interconnections making the bridge between Man and Nature. This programme will be composed by a set of healing arts such as nutrition, water and body therapies (Shiatsu, Osteopathy, Watsu, etc) nature connection activities (day and night walks, practical work).
    We also want to reach out to the local community and organise cultural events, workshops and environmental education classes.
    We are already hosting our first Permaculture design course in May 2018!

    However we have just started and there's quite a lot to do before we can achieve any of the above. We are not a retreat centre yet!!
    For now we need to do a lot of practical work to make this farm productive again and a haven for wildlife too.
    The upper part of the farm is composed by a mixed forest dominated by cork oak trees, eucalyptus and strawberry fruit trees.
    Half way down the slope there is a lake which which serves for both recreational and farming purposes. The water quality is very good and it has cured a few people that had skin problems.
    The lower part of the farm is composed by beautiful man made terraces in which most of our food production is going to take place following the principles of agroforestry.

    After a devastating year of wildfires in Portugal, the importance of re populating our forest with native species has never been so important.
    The monoculture of eucalyptus annihilates biodiversity, "dries out" the land and promotes the social desertification of the interior of Portugal so one of our main goals is to replace this exotic species with native species.
    The reforestation will be done using species such as sweet chestnut, cork oak, azinheira, strawberry fruit tree and native bushes in the understorey layer.
    The cut down eucalyptus will be used for the production of edible mushrooms (mainly shiitake) and construction.
    Water is another of our big concerns so we are designing a system that will use retain water in the land a much as we can by creating a series of ponds and water storage tanks.
    This is crucial for everything else that comes afterwards so that's where we will be spending most of our energy in the first couple of years - managing the forest, food production, water management and creating more and better infrastructures using natural materials sourced from the farm whenever possible.
    It is hard work - we are not going to lie - so if you're not physically fit or very much inclined to do some hard labour this is not the right place to volunteer.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Gardening
    Building
    General Maintenance
    Farmstay
    Help with Eco project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You'll be able to learn about sustainable land management, natural building and what's like to live a quiet and beautiful life in countryside.
    At the moment we're focusing on infra structures so there will be loads of construction work to do but also forest management, improving accesses and so on.
    You'll also benefit from drinking fresh, pure water and to have the best swimming pond at your disposal!
    Monchique is quite a magical place and has beautiful places to visit. Because of its hills, industrial agriculture never reached here and you'll still be able to see how people used to farm in the old days.
    The people from Monchique are incredibly friendly and the food is just amazing!
    45 Min drive away there are the most beautiful beaches in Portugal that we go to regularly so you'll be able to join us.

  • Help

    Help

    At the moment our priorities are:
    - Finishing compost toilet / build shower
    - Fix warehouse for tool storage and other things
    - Tree felling and processing it for construction, firewood, mulch
    - Build temporary kitchen
    - hopefully plant our orchard this winter

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    Portuguese, English, Spanish

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    If you decide to come you there is a tiny caravan, a trailer/tent and a couple of big tents with inflatable mattresses etc
    At the moment we still don't have hot water or electricity. You would have to bring good sleeping bags because it might get cold in the night.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Monchique is full trails that you can explore walking. The most beautiful beaches in Portugal are about 45 min away and in Spring/Summer we plan to go at least once a week. You will be welcome to join us.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week





Host ref number: 639166671717