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We would love your help with the farm we are building at the volunteer house in Vieques. Our goal is to help bring farming back to Vieques, which currently imports 99% of its food through an unreliable ferry system that frequently breaks down. We roughly have 60 chickens, 14 sheep, 50 pigs, countless ducks, 3 turkeys, and 5 cats. Our bedrooms for volunteers have 6-10 bunks in each and also a full bathroom in each. We have an additional full bathroom in the common area. We also have lots of land for camping outside if you prefer. Come join us in helping make our house self sustainable so we can house more volunteers! Vieques is a beautiful island with incredibly friendly people, amazing beaches, and the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world! There are thousands of horses that graze on the island and tons of additional wildlife to observe!
We regularly assist the local community with volunteer projects, including beach and historical landmark cleanup, installing and maintaining solar panels on community centers or utilities, and are currently cooking 50+ meals 3 times a week for delivery to residents in need.
One of our other main projects focuses on three core needs to preserve life in times of emergency and rebuild quality of life in the aftermath-- Response, Recovery, and Resilience. Resilience focuses on preparation against the next disaster including hardening of power infrastructure, communication infrastructure and education of the population in ways to work together to help rebuild communities to be stronger for the future. We are currently deployed in Vieques, Puerto Rico assisting the community as they continue to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and become more resilient against future disasters.
We are looking for volunteers who are in alignment with our mission to serve and restore our local community.
Absolutely no violence will be tolerated.
We ask that volunteers plan to contribute $50 a week per person.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around 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.
*Due to COVID restrictions and limited hospital treatment on Vieques, we take social distancing very seriously. At the volunteer house we are without masks and work hard to keep our farm protected from outside health threats. The beaches are typically empty and there arent too many gatherings with the community unless completing necessary beneficial projects.
We currently need long term volunteers (staying for longer than a month) who are hard workers and self motivated to fill the following positions:
- 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.
- House Supervisor: Someone to supervise, assign, and participate in keeping the house clean.
- Garden Supervisor: Someone to strategize, grow, and operate our garden beds so that we may continue contributing to food security for the island.
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
-helping 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 about 5 hours of work per day. We also try to keep one weekday for light housework and a group activity, such as visiting the beach.
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.
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 dormitory bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, living room, and laundry room. Each dorm room has 6 beds (bunk style). If preferred we have cots available. 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. Our garden is developing, and we now have green onions, endless arugula and basil, passion fruit, bok choy, kale, ahi dulce peppers, oregano, walking stick cabbage, radish greens, tomatoes, soy beans, mangos, plantains, and bananas. We provide fresh duck and chicken eggs, home-made fresh bread, rice, beans, coffee, pasta, oatmeal, peanut butter, and general pantry staples for volunteers to prepare their own meals. The variety and quantity from the garden and trees varies by season.
There is also a produce market that we visit on Wednesdays to pick up food scraps for the animals and produce for the house like potatoes, onions, limes, jalapeños, tomatoes, broccoli, and other vegetables and fruits depending on what is being offered. Volunteers usually make a drive to town a couple times a week to run errands and pick up any personally preferred foods available for purchase at the super-market like dairy, nuts, and seeds. The non-profit provides meat that's usually pork and chicken.
Most of us are on different schedules and working different projects, so volunteers are generally on their own to prepare breakfast and lunch. For dinner, at least 2 volunteers will team up to cook, and we eat together as a house family every night.
We have volunteers with all different diet preferences from vegans to flexitarians.
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
Can host families
We have wifi in the house, and solar power in case of outages. However, speeds are limited, especially with a full house. It is recommended to bring a hotspot or tether your phone plan. All major US phone networks are available here, and you can check the coverage maps to be 100% certain.
We do not have hookups for draining septic tanks, but we can wire an extension cord and find a parking spot.
More than two
About 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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