Update: We have opened for business and have had a few customers. Simultaneously building, etc at the same time. Always an endless amount of things to do here.
My name is Blake and I am a 48 year old French and Canadian (not French Canadian ) and am married to Angie, from Colombia. We have a six year old and a three year old daughters.
I use to be a division 2 professional basketball player in Europe who then got his MBA and was working in PR and taught in university. Now I am on a new chapter in life.
Currently we are living in the north eastern part of Colombia. I have bought 20 acres of land on the Caribbean Sea.
We are 1km from a village called La Punta de los Remedios, which is a two hour drive east from the city of Santa Marta. If looking on Google Maps, then we are 5 km east of the town of Dibulla.
To get here from Santa Marta,you take the bus to Riohacha, but get off 40 minutes before, in a place called Campana Nuevo. From there you pay 5000 COP for the ten minute moto taxi ride to our village.
Volunteers stay in one of the rooms on bunk beds. It's best to get dropped off directly on the project. This means that from the point you enter La Punta, you have to go a further one and a half kilometres by traversing the village and driving to the outskirts where we are. Tell your driver, otherwise he will plop you down in La Punta and you will have to do the twenty minute walk on foot.
If you have to walk, then you just follow the coast line, which bends around La Punta. We are beachfront, so you can't go wrong. From La Punta walk one kilometer east and the road leads you directly there. If you are beside the beach then you are going in the right direction.
At the moment I have built a modest hotel which is composed of six independent modules We have an improvised bar and restaurant until we get more funding to expand and complete the project we initially envisioned...if that ever happens. For the time being we are starting very small, though it is a much bigger project than I initially thought of doing.
Recently we have been homeschooling our children, so volonteers that can teach our children are also welcome.
Our needs are very eclectic and priorities change every few months, so email me to find out what we are looking for at the moment. At risk of repeating myself I'll say it again:if you have energy and are honest and genuinely want to help,then we always need someone like you!
We are the first foreigners in the area, so this is an unadulterated and authentic experience. Depending on what dates you arrive here, we will be needing different sorts of things. I believe that even if you have no skills in particular, if you are enthusiastic to help us, then we could surely use your help here.
Angie is a theater and dance instructor and we plan to do such projects here in the future. For now we are doing all the grunt work and all the fun work will come later.
There is always a need of some sort to be done. At the moment it is very rough and raw, so it would not appeal to sensitive types. The heat is quite overwhelming at times, if you are not use to it. It all depends on the time of year,as to what sort of weather you will experience. For example in May it is raining tons.
I have been doing workaway for a few years now, so I have had many kinds of volunteers. From you I would expect 25 hours of weekly work, and in return I will provide you with breakfast and sleeping accommodations. You are welcome to work 5 hours a day from Monday to Friday, or another system if you prefer. You will be responsible for buying your own groceries for your lunch and dinner and cooking them yourself.
If you would like for me to provide your lunch and dinner also, then I would expect for you to work from morning to evening with us and at a good rhythm. If you are interested in this option, then please mention it in your communication with me, otherwise I will assume that you plan on only working five hours a day in exchange for only breakfast and accomodation.
If you plan on working full days, then I can provide groceries and you can cook for yourself or I can cook for you or we all cook together or you cook for all of us. It all depends on what is happening in the period that you arrive.
I have a private Internet line and will give you the password for WiFi.
I am looking for uncomplicated and independent volunteers. I am not sure what I am expecting in return. There is always a need for labour here, but if you are a big eater, then I could get a local to do twice as many hours as you for the same price as your grocery bill, to put into perspective how affordable manual labor is here. If you are serious about helping us,then I find that tasks and solutions for what you can do become easily apparent.
If you have any skills, then they are probably needed. I have had little success with couples who volunteer together, but am open to it. With a few exceptions, I have not had much success with volunteers in their early twenties, but am open to being proven wrong if you happen to be different. I don't want volunteers that are here for less than a month and prefer those who plan to hang around for several months.
I've ended up hiring particularly helpful volonteers, so this also can be an option. The pay is low because it matches local wages, but it is of interest to people sometimes.
This sounds terrible to say, but my philosophy is that bluntness is best: if you are here for a vacation, then this place is probably not for you. If you are looking to save money by coming for free food and sleep, that´s okay, but don´t be a lazy slacker and do give an honest five hours of engaged work. Seriously, for $8 a day a local will give eight hours of really hard labour work, so please earn your keep. I am not here to exploit you, but it's annoying to see how many people are not really into helping. If you want all three meals per day, then obviously I would expect your effort in proportion to this increase. Once again, I hate sounding so rude but best that I be direct and this way everyone is clear and there are no subsequent tensions. I'm friendly and rather write this here and get it out of the way :)
Some volunteers left two hours after arriving here, while others loved it and extended their stays, so it all matters on what sort of person you are. Some volunteers couldn't wait to get out of here while others came back for a second tour of duty because they were happy here. Please give yourself an honest self evaluation before contacting me. I hate sounding so rude, but it boggles my mind as to how someone can come here and immediately leave, while others love it. What were the leavers expecting before they arrived?!
Low maintenance volunteers who are self motivated are super welcome.
I don't want to discourage you from coming and I enjoy having workaways here, while at the same time I don't want to waste your time or mine, so I prefer to be straight forward.
There are many wonderful and warm people here and I choose to live here due to the beauty and the lovely aspects that come with living here. My terrain is rough at the moment but it is on a beach which is excellent for swimming and I am slowly making all the surroundings more beautiful.
Slowly and through a lot of hard work, my project is taking shape and I am excited for what it will be eventually transforming into. I am very grateful to some of the volunteers who have passed through here and really improved this project for me.
It can be very hot or very rainy. Sometimes there are a lot of mosquitos. At times it is not a comfortable atmosphere. Please be prepared for whatever may come.
Once You contact me via workaway.info and know for sure that you are coming, I will then pass on my personal contact information. If you do Whatsapp, then even better.
If you are interested in coming to stay with us at any capacity, then please get in touch.
Thank you for reading this,
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This is unpopulated by tourism and therefore a genuine experience with Colombians who are curious and keen to engage. As for all the surprises that come with undertaking a project of this magnitude in a developing country, you can learn from my mistakes and skewed approach on various issues.
I am very open to any suggestions. Any skills you have will probably be of help.
If you feel you don't have a particular skill but genuinely want to help, then surely we can figure something out.
Either bunk bed or bed.
I enjoy a good chat when there is time and like to understand people and share what helps me in life and learn what can help me. I enjoy the friendships I have made with a lot of the volunteers and the realization that we are all lost and wandering through life.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week