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We live in Tejeguate (search for it!) on El Hierro and are a family of six, two parents and four children (2006–2012) with a big ecologic permaculture garden, many fruit trees, some animals (horse 🐴 [she likes if you go for a walk with her, or even ride, if you are brave, because she is quite energetic but also stubborn], hens 🐔🐣, ducks 🦆, bees 🐝🍯), a big climbing frame with swings and a trapeze, and a lot of ideas to improve our infrastructure.
At the moment we live in a wooden house with two storeys made of Euro pallets. Our plan is to have some stone houses (made of natural volcanic stones) for us and some wooden houses for our guests (friends, helpers).
We are searching for LONGTERM helpers (at least one month, better longer)
We don’t offer payment
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
You will learn how to live self-sufficient with minimum resources, how to grow food, and you will enjoy the very natural island of El Hierro, which is like being sent back in time 50 years (compared to the rest of Europe).
You will learn how we manage living in a big family with four children that are/(some were) taught at home (homeschooled).
You will have the time to
• hike or cycle through the wonderful landscape of this youngest and active volcanic island
• explore caves (many long and adventurous lava tubes)
• swim and dive (there are a lot of animals in the sea around El Hierro —they like it quiet!)
• and fly (paragliding) if you want.
We parents are tourist guides and can show you the island, and can give you a lot of good ideas for trips and special places.
We need three kind of people. Either
• experience in working with wood (at least for oiling and maintaining),
• household / kitchen aid,
• it would also be nice to have some creative artists or architects with ideas how to beautify our houses and surroundings.
Our idea is to improve the situation for our visitors: build small houses or huts made of natural volcanic stones or recycled wood. That means also build the roof and the interior (some furniture, doors, windows) and oil the wooden parts.
• cooking (for a lot of people WITH our fruits and vegetables from the garden!),
• cleaning the dishes,
• hang out the washing to dry,
• buy some stuff in the village,
• carry waste to the waste container.
• seed vegetables
• plant trees
• care for trees
• harvest fruits and vegetables (we tell you where and what)
• irrigate (give water) the garden and trees
And for the children it would be nice (but we don’t need anybody ONLY for that, this is only a bonus)
• to do some artistic gymnastics (on the floor, parkour) and aerobatics (trapeze, aerial silk) or similar
• to do some language practice
This host offers a language exchange
It would be nice to practice French, Arabic, Russian or Turkish.
You will sleep
• in one of the wooden cabins or
• in the guest house made of Euro pallets (which is cute but simple) or
• if you like sleep under the open sky, for viewing the stars and planets and the milky way or
• in your tent (← if we are full and you still want to come) or
• you can bring your caravan or mobile home.
At the moment we have one composting toilet, a second, much more beautiful and comfortable one is almost finished.
The shower for our helpers is open air (in a hidden place).
We produce our own electricity with our solar powered mini photovoltaic power plant (but only during the day, because we have a very small battery system).
We have a bicycle that you can use. We have no car. Hitchhiking on El Hierro is very easy. The bus («guagua») is cheap, but only circulates 5 times a day.
We have one of the fastest internet connections in Europe, 300 Mbit/s up- and downstream (symmetric!).
Meals and diet
We mostly eat vegetarian, even quite a lot vegan. On some very special occasions we eat fish from a friend or from the fisher cooperative on El Hierro.
Most of our food comes from our ecological permaculture garden. But we also are still learning and improving. With time many things became better and we have better harvests. Many new ideas and experiments have lead to bigger fruits, less problems with plant diseases and we even found a solution for the strong wind we sometimes have in winter.
If we buy food, we try to buy regional food (preferably from El Hierro, or at least Canaries).
El Hierro with an extension of 16 × 30 km is the smallest and youngest and therefore most active volcanic island of the Canaries (the island is still growing). As the island is the youngest, it has a lot of steep mountains and a steep coast (but you can take bathes in many of the natural swimming pools at the coast, that were formed by volcanic eruptions and erosion). There are also some fine sand beaches which you can reach by bus or hitchhiking. With only 7000 real inhabitants (many more are registered due to cheap taxes and benefits) the island has a lot of untouched nature and quite wilderness with incredibly many beautiful hiking paths. We have wet green forests, and dry forests with enormous Canarian Pine trees and one of the last forests with many 500 years old Juniper trees (the symbol of El Hierro). And in contrast to that we also have many recent lava fields of different kind (like on Hawaii, like on Lanzarote, like in Italy, like in Iceland): It is a small island, but it has everything that all the other big Canary Islands have, except for the alpine region (and it has almost no tourism, therefore also no shopping centers, almost no hotels, and only private parties etc.). The island also has one of the highest density of lava tubes and volcanic caves, many of them several kilometers long (6,5 km is the longest).
The Canary Islands are quite close to West Africa (Lanzarote only 90 km from Africa), but the island of El Hierro is the farthest from the African coast, with a distance of 400 km.
The whole year between 20–25 °C during the day. In the night 5 degrees less. In winter often cloudy and sometimes a bit of rain, in summer no clouds at all (bring your hat/sombrero!). The whole year a soft breeze. In winter sometimes hot + dry strong winds (Calima).
We really recommend (and eat quite a lot at home) the famous cheese of El Hierro: «Queso Herreño», which is a well balanced mixture of goat (=cabra), sheep (=oveja) and cow (=vaca) milk. This cheese has been produced since the 15th century. There are four kinds of it: ahumado, fresco, tierno, curado.
• The best known (and most exported) is the smoked (yellowish) «ahumado».
• There is also the fresh and tender (white) «tierno», matured for 15 days, which is used to make the Quesadilla Herreña.
• Then there is the cured «curado» (with a black edge), which tastes similar to Parmesan cheese, and the semi-dry «semi-curado» (with a red pepper edge) – favorite of our children.
• The totally fresh and soft one «fresco» is not sold all the year, but my older son likes this one most.
And we also recommend and love the sweet pastries «Quesadilla» which are ONLY produced on Hierro – every village produces it's own Quesadilla, and all have a slightly different taste and it’s fans.
You should try also a very delicious coffee from only El Hierro, La Palma and Tenerife: «Barraquito especial». I can recommend you some places where they make the best ones.
How to get here: You need to arrive to Tenerife or Gran Canaria with airplane or ship and from there use the ferry (2 h) or airplane (40 min) to El Hierro. Then with the bus to Frontera and then 15 minutes walk to Tejeguate.
• Ferry (boat, ship, ferries): navieraarmas.com
• Airplane: bintercanarias.com
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have one of the fastest internet connections in Europe: 300 Mbit/s symmetric optical fibre connection. That means you can download or upload a big video file of 1 Gigabyte (GB) in 26 seconds. Also we have 3000 Watts of solar power, so you can use and charge all your devices all day (not night) long as much as you want to. We have 802.11AC WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet connections.
We have a big parking space, you can wash your car or camper (we have very high water pressure) and you can also clean it inside with our (solar power using) Dyson vacuum cleaner.
More than two
5 hours per day, 5 days per week
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