*️️️️*️️️️ Please read through our profile carefully. Yes, it is long, but we rather be clear about our project and motivations for being on Workaway to avoid confusion. Please check our calendar for availability*️️️️*️️️️*️️️️
We get lots of inquiries about volunteering with us. It is wonderful that so many people are interested in our project, but unfortunately we cannot host everyone. Due to the nature of our project it is very important for us that our volunteers share our vision as we are looking for more than the typical Workaway exchange. We would like to share a rewarding experience with people who are interested in more than tourism and are passionate to help our project rather than feeling obliged to work to earn their dinner and bed. We prefer to host people who can commit a reasonable amount of time to the project (minimum one month) as we would like to have time to form relationships with our volunteers . In your email, please tell us about yourself, your view of the world, interests and skills. Also, please include dates (as specific as possible) and an estimate of how long you would like to stay. Thanks!!!
Welcome! The long-term goal of our project is to develop a research centre for appropriate technology. Our vision is inspired by the concepts of a resource-based economy (RBE), a socio-economic system in which all resources of the planet are equitably distributed, available to all without the use of money. Our aim is to develop and test technologies (in the field of energy, agriculture, education, social interactions etc.) that take steps toward enabling a transition to an RBE (or other healthier social system). In parallel, we are developing a small community in rural Peru, where we are evaluating these technologies and using them to achieve a degree of self-sufficiency. We are registered as a non-profit organisation in Peru and are in the processing of registering ourselves as a research institute to allow more formal collaborations with students and other researchers.
The co-founders (Vladimir and Julie) live permanently on campus, along with our young son (6 years old). We are building the infrastructure of the campus and doing as much research work as we can along the way. We collaborate with local and international universities and researchers and try to attract long-term/permanent participants. We are both scientists/engineers and the focus of our project is to use the scientific method as broadly as possible in the development of all areas of the project (including social and emotional development). We are not a company, NGO, charity, or religious/spiritual group. Neither are we an eco-village, hippie commune, or meditation/yoga retreat. After six years and around 300 volunteers, we have observed that we tend to clash with people who identify strongly with spiritualism, shammanism etc. as a major part of their life path. While we have no problem with everyone having their own beliefs, these fundamental differences in our outlook in life are reflected in the way we work and communicate and can result in an experience that is less than rewarding for everyone.
We are in the very early stages of this project and hence we work hard and need real support from our volunteers. Unfortunately, as we are only a few people (with a young kid), we don´t have as much time for teaching and working with our volunteers as we would like. Therefore, self-motivated people with some specific skills to share, who can find their own way, will have a more rewarding experience.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
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. We unfortunately don´t have a lot of time for one-on-one teaching, but we are happy to share as much knowledge as we can. Our motivation for taking volunteers is not to get free workers. 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!
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
*️️️️*️️️️ We try to keep this list up to date, but please ask us when you email so we can let you know exactly what our priorities are at the time *️️️️*️️️️
Over the last nearly nine years, we have constructed our communal house, workshop, water storage/treatment systems, and a hydroelectric plant to supply electricity. Optimisation of the hydroelectric plant is an on-going research project and usually a priority. The next priority is preparation of the land and installation of infrastructure. We try to arrange work that suits the skills and interests of our volunteers, but there are always priorities we need to focus on and limitations (e.g. the wet season). Let us know if there is anything you would particularly like to work on. We cannot promise you will be working all the time on your primary interest and sometimes the only available tasks may be the day-to-day jobs (see below).
PRIORITES IN 2022-2023
*️️️️ HYDROELECTRIC PLANT: As this plant provides our electricity and enables future projects, work on this system is always top priority. It runs now without frequent problems, but there is always maintenance work (cleaning leaf screens, moving rocks in the river).
*️️️️ INFRASTRUCTURE: We have cleared a large part of land for future construction and have placed paths and mapped out building sites. This area continuously needs attention to keep it clean. In addition, we are digging trenches and placing cables/pipes etc. for water, electricity and internet. In late 2022, we are planning to build a second house (pressed brick construction).
*️️️️ FOOD FOREST: We have several sections of new food forests that need continuous care. Tasks include, planting seeds, maintaining a fruit tree nursery, clearing the food forest areas. We have ongoing research projects on environmentally friendly antibacterial/antifungal products that we are doing field tests with. A long-term priority is planting crops for feeding the chickens and reforestation of a part of the land with timber (mostly not active).
*️️️️ RESEARCH: As we have many different projects and technologies in mind for future development, there is always the scope for research by those with experience, skills, enthusiasm in fields such as construction, water treatment, biogas, holistic education etc.
*BIOGAS: In 2022, we started constructing the biogas plant for waste treatment and methane production. The new house will be connected to this system as a sewage tank. Eventually, this system could be included in a collaboration with an agricultural university in Lima.
General maintenance of the house, rain water system, drainage, paths and gardens.
Keeping the jungle under control, clearing paths, weeding, and planting.
Taking care of our animals (dog, cat, chickens).
Improvements of the house and workshop (building furniture, painting, etc)
Cooking, cleaning, and other household chores.
Helping out amusing our son.
ON-GOING AND FUTURE PROJECTS include: (in the design phase)
Construction of walipinis (underground greenhouses)
Construction of fibre-composite buildings
It would be great to work with volunteers with specific skills relevant to our areas of work (construction, mechanics, hydroponics/aquaponics, permaculture, IT/communications, renewable energy, waste water treatment, biogas systems, etc). We would prefer longer-term volunteers (minimum one month) and also welcome anyone who might be interested in longer-term collaboration.
We speak both Spanish and English at home. As most volunteers are trying to learn/improve Spanish (or don´t speak English) we often converse in Spanish at mealtimes. We try to plan our groups of volunteers to match language skills so we can all feel comfortable and talk together.
Our main motivation for seeking volunteers is to find like-minded people to build our network and develop our project. We are passionate about creating change in the world and want to learn and teach as much as possible about the amazing technologies that exist for improving the quality of life of everyone. We believe that sharing of knowledge is fundamental to achieving this and hence we will offer everything developed within our project free to anyone who is interested. We hope that our volunteers can help spread this knowledge.
We have a 6-bedroom communal house which can accommodate up to 4-5 volunteers. 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 (hot water) and latrine toilets. 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. We do eat meat (by preference our own chickens), but can easily cater for vegetarians as well. We eat a lot of eggs, but dairy products rarely. We can definitely manage vegan diets as well, but we understand that veganism is more than the diet, and you should let us know if you will have a problem with us killing chickens or consuming animal products while you are here (for example). We have some fruits growing on our land (bananas, avocados, papaya) 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). We do not have a space for smoking and do not want even smoke smell on clothes in the house. Therefore, we cannot accommodate smokers unless they are willing to give it up for the time they are here. We usually avoid sugar (for health reasons) and try to not have it in the house often. We have a young son, so we need to provide a child-friendly atmosphere. Julie is allergic to peanuts, so it would be great if you could avoid bringing peanuts (or be careful eating them around us).
The location is in a tropical region of Peru where the temperature is around 25-30 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, boat rides 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 trees). 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...). Sometimes we have very little time for such social activities, need to travel, or have family commitments. In these times, volunteers will need to fend for themselves. We will let you know if we expect such commitments while you are here.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We also have remote work, so we try to keep the power and internet as reliable as possible. Despite many backups, there are still sometimes unavoidable outages.
We have a lot of space to accommodate vehicles.
We have cats, dogs, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits etc. We have had pets visit before. As long as they are well behaved, they are welcome.
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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