We are Julie and Vladimir, a couple that has been living in rural Peru for the past five years. We had a double motivation for starting a life here; firstly, to remove ourselves from the city life and live in a more sustainable and simple way, and secondly, to find a location for developing a research centre for appropriate technology. We are both scientists/engineers and the focus of our project is the broad use of the scientific method in the development of all aspects of developing a healthier society. In parallel, we are devloping a small community where we are evaluating these technologies and using them to achieve a degree of self-sufficiency.
We have a three-year-old son who has grown up here surrounded by visitors and volunteers in a communal environment. In addition to our son, our other baby is our project, which we are very passionate about and work very hard to push along. We do not want our son to be limited by our lack of time to give him everything he needs, so we are searching for a little help. We strongly believe that it takes a village to raise a child and we want our son to benefit from a wide range of interactions and experiences.
We have decided not to send him to school as we want to limit his exposure to many common aspects of society that we feel are undesirable or damaging (until he develops a sufficient level of maturity and critical thinking), such as violent games, consumerism, non-empathetic communication, junk foods etc. We are educating him in a "forest school" and Montessori-inspired way with very little structured learning and lots of on-the-job learning in the kitchen, around the house, in the workshop, taking care of the animals etc. We are trying to give him a holistic education that will allow him to become a useful and well-balanced person.
Babysitting / child care
Help in the house
We consider our volunteers a part of our family while they are here. Our volunteers are our main social group and we are very interested in mutually beneficial exchange with them. We always learn something from every volunteer and we hope that we can teach everyone something as well. Our motivation for taking volunteers is not to get free workers, but to have positive experiences with like-minded people and expose our son to a wider range of the world's lovely people. Living communally, sharing ideas, resolving conflicts, working on non-violent communication etc. are all great learning experiences for us. We hope that we can share some of our stories and motivation for distancing ourselves from traditional society and the lessons we have learnt during our adventure so far. We are actively promoting an open-minded, non-judgemental environment and are gay, cis, trans, poly, gender neutral, label-free etc. etc. friendly. We welcome all colours and flavours of humanity!
We take volunteers for various aspects of our project (see our other Workaway profile here ), but we would like to have a volunteer dedicated to looking after our son. We are both working around the house and property most days, so it will be collaborative child-care. We need someone to spend a few hours a day dedicated to playing with him, taking him outside (for a walk, play on the swing, play with the animals etc). Julie works from the house, which is easier if the house is quiet for some hours during the morning. In addition, you could help out with his daily schooling, we have all the activities prepared and can brief you about what we are trying to teach. In addition, some help with cooking and taking care of the house would be very welcome (and our son helps out with these tasks too).
Obviously, it would be great if you have experience in early education, child-care, child psychology etc. We are very interested in the theoretical aspects of raising a child (brain development, behavioural science etc.) and it would be wonderful to learn more from someone with more experience than us. It is very important to us that our volunteers are like-minded; our motivation for using Workaway to look for child care is that we think it is an easier forum to find people who share our values. In addition to academic and technical skills, we are trying to teach emotional intelligence, non-violent communication, consent etc., which are all reflected in our interactions with him.
We generally like our volunteers to be able to commit for a month or more (as we have found that this creates a much more rewarding experience for everyone). We would also like some stability for our son. That being said, he has grown up with people coming and going and is very sociable and quick to make friends with visitors.
English and Spanish
We have a 6-bedroom communal house where we also live. We will provide a bed and have most basic bedding (sheets, blankets, mosquito nets etc.). You are welcome to bring your own sleeping bag etc. Our house is mostly bug-proof, so mosquito nets are not really required. Although the weather is generally hot during the day it gets cold at night, so a good blanket and some warm clothes are required. We have showers (cold water only at the moment) and latrine toilets. We will try to make you as comfortable as possible during your stay and you will be living as we do. We have electricity from the hydroelectric plant (and power from the grid or solar panels as back-up). We have wifi internet that is quite reliable and fast enough for Skype etc.
We provide all meals and cook hearty and nutritious food. Our preferred way of eating is close to paleo (avoiding processed foods, grains, sugar, and vegetable oils), but for the moment our diet is more flexible due to the requirements of feeding a group with limited resources. Most of our meals are vegetarian, we eat meat rarely (mainly our own chickens). We eat a lot of eggs, but dairy products very rarely. We have some fruits growing on our land (bananas, avocados, papaya, and cacao) as well as ginger, mushrooms and other crops we can harvest from the forest. At the moment we are not focusing much on growing vegetable gardens and buy most produce in town. We enjoy learning how to provide the basics off-grid and prepare our vinegar and fermented foods. We try to provide a healthy environment for everyone and ask that our guests do not bring or consume any drugs (including cigarettes and alcohol) in the community. We avoid sugar (for health reasons) which we do not provide. We need to provide a child-friendly atmosphere. Julie is allergic to peanuts (and we are worried about this for our son as well), so it would be great if you could avoid bringing penuts (or be careful eating them around us).
The location is in a tropical region of Peru where the temperature is around 25 C all year round. December – March is the rainy season where we get quite heavy rain most days. There is not a big problem with mosquito-borne diseases (malaria, dengue etc), however there can be biting insects (annoying but not dangerous). A yellow-fever injection is recommended, and the certificate can be required for boarding flights within South America or return to your country (e.g. Australia). This vaccination is free in hospitals here but not active for ten days. We have been asked about Rabies vaccine by some volunteers... we haven't had it and haven't heard of it being a problem in our area, but talk to your doctor and make your own decision.
We are located near Pichanaki in Chanchamayo, Junin. This area is the primary coffee-growing in Peru and is very agricultural (also growing lots of bananas, pineapples, corn etc). There is not a well-established tourist industry and the natural jungle areas are still hard to access. However, tourist attractions in the region include waterfalls, kayaking and rafting on the rivers, butterfly parks and visits to native communities. On our land we have a beautiful river were we can swim most of the year, some forested areas and some natural jungle (with lots of avocado, cacao and coffee plants). There is a large biodiversity of plants, insects/butterflies, birds and animals. We have seen monkeys, squirrels, snakes, toucans, parrots, glowing worms and many different weird and wonderful insects! In our spare time we enjoy solving the world´s problems with passionate debates, watching documentaries and movies, dancing salsa, talking around the campfire and pursuing our own hobbies (reading, sewing, craft, coding...)
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week