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Welcome! We would love to host you in our volunteer house! Our non-profit organization is focused on hurricane response, recovery, and resiliency against future hurricanes on the small island of Vieques. We also are also working on fostering community resiliency for future hurricanes, supporting food security/autonomy and sustainable local agriculture, developing a community compost program, and raising environmental awareness, among other projects.
We work in partnership with other organizations on the island so we can be as efficient as possible. For example, some of the long-term volunteers in the past have worked at the Boys and Girls Club of Vieques, developing math curriculum materials and being STEM mentors. There are also environmental projects to help with such as beach clean-ups, which happen on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Our motivation there is to help sustain the tourism on the island, which is a major source of income to many island residents.
Some of the projects we have focused on in the past include:
- debris clearing
- building a large scale chicken coop for a resident's farm who grows food, helping to sustain the island
- installing tanks to provide access to clean water for residents
- coordinating the installment of solar panels on the local cancer center
Come join us at our volunteer house to help out in the community with various recovery efforts and/or help make our house more self-sufficient and sustainable! We are establishing a farm and garden at the house and there's always something that needs to be done, from animal pen maintenance, to weeding, to planting fruit trees, and collecting eggs from the chickens and ducks. We have also have sheep, pigs, two turkeys, and two cats but the list is growing! We need your help with caring for the animals and maintaining/expanding the kitchen gardens, and in continuing to make the house more sustainable.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
The local community members we help often love having visitors and telling them about their lives and experiences. Vieques has a unique history and context within the Caribbean, long before Hurricanes Irma and Maria knocked out communication with the outside world. There's no better way to learn about it than hearing first-hand stories from the people who lived through it. People are generally willing to help you practice your Spanish here as well. Vieques is expanding as a tourist destination. The island is home to the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world! The island is the home to many beautiful beaches and thousands of wild horses.
We currently need long term volunteers (staying for longer than a month) who are hard workers and self motivated to fill the following positions:
- Garden Supervisor: Someone who can take charge of the garden. Make a plan and assign garden related tasks to volunteers. Supervise care of the garden. We've been very lucky to have hosted wonderful volunteers over the past few years and our gardens are growing in scope and complexity. We'd love to have someone who is able to contribute to this.
- Construction Supervisor: Someone handy to oversee, assign, and plan any construction projects. For example building new animal pens and fixing things at the farm, and projects for community members such as building chicken coops.
- Mechanic: Someone who has the ability to work on our cars at the farm. Vieques is extremely hard on cars and they often need creative fixes. We do not require certification as long as you have experience.
We are also accepting short term volunteers as well who are self motivated and hard workers. We are looking for volunteers to assist long term volunteers with their projects/tasks and to help with daily and weekly tasks at the farm such as:
-feeding grain to the animals twice a day
-letting animals out to graze during the day and putting them back in their pens in the evenings
-collecting buckets with food waste from the restaurants each night
-feeding the food waste buckets to the pigs each afternoon and then cleaning the buckets
-checking and refilling the animals’ water
-weeding the garden
-working on the compost
-cutting grass and adding it to the bird coops
-collecting pallets for fencing
-reinforcing fencing on an as-needed basis
We ask volunteers to work a minimum of 4 hours a day, 5 days a week while staying here. We ask that people staying at the house pick up after themselves to help keep the living space clean and tidy. Generally we do a big house clean-up once a week.
English, Spanish, Italian, French
The volunteer house is two stories with the upstairs being inhabited by long term volunteers and downstairs level for short term volunteers. Each story has a full kitchen. The bottom story includes 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, living room, and laundry room. We have 10 bunk beds. There are 5 cots and 2 air mattresses. We also have space available outside for camping. We have WiFi and a car for transportation.
We are in the process of making the house self-sustainable and growing more of our own food. US policy towards Puerto Rico has historically prioritized the industrial and manufacturing sectors over sustaining local agriculture, so few people grow their own food anymore – encouraging local food security and autonomy is another branch of our work here, too. As our garden develops we will have produce available, but for now we provide fresh duck and chicken eggs, home-made fresh bread, rice, beans, coffee, pasta and general pantry staples for volunteers to prepare their own meals. We also use produce from the garden, which varies in variety and quantity throughout the seasons but usually includes some kind of greens for salad or to cook with, as well as smaller items like peppers and tomatoes.
There is also a produce market that has a wider selection of fruits and vegetables than generally on offer at the supermarkets, and we go there twice a week, usually combined with a trip to the grocery store, so volunteers are welcome to buy their own fresh produce, dairy, and other preferred food items on those trips.
Most of us are on different schedules and working different projects, so volunteers are generally on their own to prepare food (although if someone is cooking and other folks are home, we’ll generally make enough for everyone). We eat dinner together at least twice a week so we can discuss house business.
GETTING TO VIEQUES AND THE VOLUNTEER HOUSE:
You will either need to fly from San Juan to the tiny airport in Vieques or take the ferry from Ceiba on the east side of the big island (ferries no longer leave from Fajardo, only from Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba - there is some outdated information online, so be mindful of that).
To get from San Juan to the ferry terminal in Ceiba you can take a taxi (around $80-$100 one way, takes 90-120 minutes depending on traffic) or a public bus (around $40 one way, can take up to four hours – go to the Rio Piedras terminal in San Juan to catch the bus). Please note that the public buses (called 'publicos' or ‘guaguas’) do not run on Sundays. There are multiple ferry crossings each day, but the most accurate schedule is not always available online & ferry service can be unreliable – best to leave yourself plenty of time. Depending on your arrival time in San Juan, it may make sense for you to stay the night there and then get the ferry following morning.
We will come and pick you up at the ferry terminal in Vieques (we’ll be in touch beforehand once dates are confirmed). If you are flying to Vieques from San Juan, please send us your flight information and we will pick you up at the airport. While there are a few taxis on Vieques, it's easier for us to pick you up and take you to the house the first time rather than explain to you how to get to the house on your own.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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