Help me with some reconstruction of my home re-using materials, in Alsace, France



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  • Description


    I am working on a reconstruction of a wooden hut into a brick house reusing materials that other people would give to be recycled. The house is under construction condition and is a challenge that will last for several years.

    If you are interested to come and help me with any kind of work please ask my mobile no. and find me on WhatsApp for further questions about the circumstances. I live rather in urban and not in a rural area but outside of a city.

    Ideal helper is having experience in working on any work of construction or perfect if being a professional in building trade and knowing to work independently. Please note this is an unpaid volunteering position. There is also some other work like DIY in the garden or a lot of rearranging items (which I am selling on flee market to get my income).

    My area is great to discover western Europe as it is located on three countries border of France, Germany, and Switzerland. Three countries, three dominating languages. German, French, and English (Basel is a seat of some big chemical companies who have the use of business English).

    Unfortunately, accommodation and other living costs are very high in this area. As a traveling volunteer myself (languages education) I wanted to get help on my reconstruction from kind people forming a durable friendship but I also wanted to offer a place for people to be able to travel to this part of the world in the same time. So it is a "quid pro quo". You help me and you get to feel like home (just without the cleaning service of your

    I am rebuilding my house for future community living of at least three different parties as I am without children and my last partner, with whom I started the project died of cancer. So I was left with many problems alone, without social security and without the mental support of my partner. The worst fact is that I can not do much alone.

    Having a serious disability of muscle pains (Fibromyalgia)after using them and being disabled for regular work (chronical fatigue syndrome) and having proper income to pay professional to finish the renovation, I am dependent on kind helpers to continue and try doing my best to have step by step some work done.

    Not having the budget for proper renovation I gather all kind materials in order to save buying new ones and that clutters pretty much my garden. So you won't be in a spa area if you visit me but the volunteers guest house and the equipment inside (videos, play station, games, books, etc.) are more than you would find in a hostel and I am always happy to prepare some nice food once the day (breakfast are usually cereals or typical french breakfast with bread butter and marmalade).

    If you are interested to come please get in touch and confirm the dates as I am a host on more than one volunteering platforms and might have other people miss coming in case you just don't pop up (or come and go after very short period seeing that there is real work to do).

    I thank you very much for your interest in my volunteering demand and am very happy to give you all the further information you need about the stay and help with me.

    I am a very extroverted and open person and respect all people for what they are. I speak mostly directly without a hidden agenda about what I think and what needs to be said and I appreciate transparent conversations from your side as well. I am agnostic, human right activist, sociologist and educational scientist not earning a lot of money with my knowledge but using it for volunteering work, as I can not do a lot physically.

    YOUR HELP: Your help is appreciated but only if you really like to make some change in peoples lives and don't look to have a cheap stay and food.. as we both will be disappointed. So if you like to discover the area and you think you may be able to help me, please contact me...
    I would need help on four full days (about 6.5 hours work) and on the other three, you could rest, explore the area, travel elsewhere and enjoy the life in a way you think suits best your personality.

    So far, thanks for having taken the time to read all this and particular thanks for your interest to come over and help me as it would be indeed a great help. We can agree on time how long you stay after both, you and I find out if both of us feel comfortable with the helping situation. Please if you don't like to work at all better not to contact me.

    Couples and friends are highly welcome but both/all will have to be willing to work for the stay (except professionals)
    Families only with bigger children (as the construction materials are dangerous for smaller kids).

    Thanks for reading and all the best to you

    I am host and volunteer as well!

    (Espagñol màs Abajo / Spanish further down):

    ENGLISH: Saving money on accommodation and food, while exploring the three countries France, Germany, and Switzerland in a hiking/walking distance from hosting place. Discover the mountains in those countries: The Black Forest in Germany, the Voges in France, or Jura in France and Switzerland and not far away from this three border location (CH-F-D) one to two hours drive to the Alps and another three borders like CH-D-A or CH-A-I or CH-F-I. Visit ancient cities like Basel, Bern, Lucern in Switzerland, Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse in France (Alsace( and Freiburg or other cities in Germany on economy prices on a day trip on a bus journey.
    NOTE: If you are interested in nightlife my place won't be the right one as from my village there is no bus from the evening on and the next bus or train station is 2.5 km away from the accommodation.

    Learn or improve your English, French or German language skills and the workability with tools on some constructional matter or help rearrange items for the flea market or in the garden and learn for your future life helping a physically disabled volunteer lady who loves to have friends and share working time. Get a friend for life where you can return or share time and save as a memory for life.

    Please apply for the period starting from May on and apply at least for three weeks as it takes time to settle down and get to know the work schedule and the area where you are. Longer stays are welcome if we agree but it requires that you enjoy helping and want to take time to explore properly all I mentioned above or would want to learn a language (German, English, French) with my help (which requires discipline in daily learning). Couples or friends are welcome as I have more than one bed. I even prefer if you are more than one person so you can entertain each other.

    Please, no arrival on Friday or Saturday as I sometimes work and am most weekends not around and you will have this time free to explore after the working days.

    You come as a helper and leave as a friend.

    Unfortunately, I can not offer any other payment for the hard work of my helper but the accommodation, food and some language lessons in addition to friendship.

    ESPAGÑOL: Ahorre de dinero en alojamiento y comida mientras exploras los tres paises: Francia, Alemania y Suiza en una distancia de senderismo / caminar. Descubrir las montañas en dichos paises: El Bosque Negro en Alemania, los Voges en Francia, o los Jura entre Francia y Suiza y no muy lejos de una a dos horas de viaje a los Alpes y un ontra esquina de tres fronteras proximas del Alpes. Todo una o maximal dos horas de la celbracion de su lugar. Visitar las antiguas ciudades como Basilea, Berna y Lucerna en Suiza, Estrasburgo, Colmar y Mulhouse en Francia, Freiburg en Alemania, y otras ciudades en los precios economicos en Suiza y Alemania con bus por un excursion durante el dia.
    Apreder o ameliorar su Inglés, Francés o Alemàn y general conocimiento de idiomas y de grammatica y aprender fascilidad de trabajo con herramientas en alguna materia de construción o ayudar organizar los articulos para el mercado de pulgas o en el jardín y aprende para su vida futura y in mismo tiempo ayudando una senora (mí) que como ustedes es una voluntaria con discapacidad fisica y que la gusta tener amigos y compartir tiempo de trabajar y de socializar junto. Obrener una amiga para toda la vida donde se puede devolver o compartir tiempo y guardar como un recuerdo para toda la vida.
    NOTA: si está interesado en la vida nocturna, mi lugar no será el correcto, ya que desde mi pueblo no hay un autobús desde la tarde y la siguiente estación de tren o autobús está a 2,5 km del alojamiento.

    Por favor, aplication durante el período a partir de mediados de Marzo y por favor por minamal dos semanas, como que necesitamos tiempo para asentarse y llegar a saber donde se encuentra. Mas que dos semanas es mejor y parejas o amigos estan muy bienvenidos.

    Por favor no llegada el Viernes o el Sabado como a veces trabajo y parto por el weekend y no puedo recuperar gente en estas dos dias. Estan dias quando no se trabaja y quando puedes viajar o se descansar.

    Vieneis como ayudantes parteiss como amigos/amigas!

    Desafortunadamente no tengo suficientes fondos para pagar a los ayudantes que trabajan duro. Solo puedo ofrecer comida, alojamiento, clases de idiomas y, por supuesto, amistad.

    Saludos cordiales
    Maida Maia Kiefer

    ENGLISH: You come as a volunteer and leave as a friend. Preferably you are experienced in working on construction and all kinds of repairs. We agree on all you would like to experience and on what I need to be done before you start and I guide you in all you don't know how to do. You come as a trainee and leave with the knowledge that may help you in your private, but also in your professional future life. If you are experienced you will be treated as an expert and your ideas will be considered as friends recommendations.

    ESPAGÑOL: Vienes como voluntario y te vas como amigo/amiga. Preferiblemente, has ya trabajado en construcción y todo tipo de reparaciones. Pero, si no sabes cómo hacer algo de trabajo, no problema. Me gustaría darle una guía sobre cómo hacerlo. Usted viene como aprendiz y se va con el conocimiento que puede ayudarlo en su vida privada, pero también en su vida profesional futura. Si tiene experiencia y está dispuesto a ser un experto y sus ideas serán consideradas como recomendaciones de amigos.

    Thanks for reading and all the best to you

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Help around the house

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    The house I am working on is located in Alsace, France along the border of Switzerland and is close to the Jura mountains that separate France and Switzerland as other mountains and nice natural area if you like hiking.
    In one hour you can drive to the Swiss Alpes, to the French Vosges, and to the German Black Forest.
    In case you are a very active person, it might suit you very well. It is a great area for biking, hiking, jogging, enjoying nature and learning about the special history of Alsace, that is bilingual German dialect and French.
    Basel and area offer also very old back to Romain time existing culturally rich discoveries.

    About the area... here some site descriptions:

    Basel is generally known as the cultural capital of Switzerland. And not without reason: art can be seen wherever you go, whether strolling through the beautiful Old Town or when visiting one of the almost 40 museums. With their themed collections, the museums have something for every taste and many have reputations that stretch far beyond the Swiss border. On top of that, there are countless galleries scattered throughout the city. And that's not all: the many top-class events that take place here throughout the year strengthen Basel’s reputation as a cultural hotspot. The city also has a lively theatre and music scene.

    Breakfast in Germany, lunch in France and dinner in Switzerland: where three borders meet and brimming with the cosmopolitan flair of global businesses, the Basel region sports an unparalleled quality of life, at a lower cost than in other metropolitan areas of Switzerland. Award-winning architecture, the historic downtown, and a rich and elaborate cultural life – from hipster to classy – are the pillars of an outstanding urban lifestyle in the Basel region. At the same time, a well-developed public transportation system provides quick and direct access to suburban and rural residential areas along with natural parks and sites for local recreation.

    How you get around I can explain when you are here in details, but there is a bus close to the house. The train is about 1.5km distance, the airport is 4km far away. Basel, the border of Switzerland is 8 kilometer, Zürich around 100km, Bern around 100km Schaffhausen around 80km, Weil am Rhein, Germany 9km, Freiburg Germany 70km, Saint Louis, France 5kmr, Mulhouse France 25km, Colmar France, 60km and Strasbourg France 140km

    Besides the Middleage architecture, there are many nice spots around here like Roman cities that you can visit by bike and plenty of cultural and contemporary museums and in certain times music festivals or permanent music performing places in the city of Basel (Switzerland), which is 12 km distance to the house and can easily be reached on a bicycle, bus or train.

    LEARNING LANGUAGES: If you want to improve one of the following languages, I can help you to improve it in a proper way as I teach German. English conversation which can partly be used in Basel, French conversation and with French you can talk all around as we are in France or any other topic of social sciences that you are interested and would like to know more about or to focus on as you might be having it on the personal and educational list of your university classes.

    Here some links for the area you can reach on a bike or hiking just put http dubblepoint dubbleslash tripple w and don't forget the dot in front of it:

    Basel (CH)

    Lörrach (D)

    Saint Louis (F)

    With train or bus you can travel cheaply in many nice cities around like Freiburg (D), Zürich (CH), Bern (CH), Luzern (CH), Strasbourg (F), Colmar (F), Altkirch (F) and also some biking areas like along the river Rhine, in the mountains of Jura and Vosges or the "route de vin" in Alsace.

    Hope this gives some idea of what you can gain except the stay and breakfast and the nice area...

    All other questions you have we can talk in a call before you come on WhatsApp or Skype. Please feel free to contact me and ask whatever you feel like.

  • Help


    If you have any further questions please ask them openly. I am open for all kind of offers from professionals but my place isn't a chilling island as it is being under reconstruction. I am rebuilding an old house (use to be a wooden hut) with almost no budget and need all the help of people who have experience in any kind of building, construction and maintenance of the house. The perfect helpers are experienced in this field as I don't have much other work to be done like gardening or eco project or children care etc. I prefer people who want to stay longer as we need some time to get to know each other and to start becoming a team.

    Very appreciated are all kind of professionals or very experienced people like plumber, carpenter, mason, electrician but also mechanics, practicing engineers, self-made building experts and other experienced or very handy people who have a good experience in building or rebuilding of houses or also people who would like to learn how do this kind of work or would like to help clean up the construction site (its very messy) and for example make good order in my tools and learn how to use all of them including the machines. Other work would be to help me to organize my flee market storage (very messed up due reconstruction) and create a smart easy system for transportation of the items in the future. I have also some work in the garden but very limited at the moment. You can ask any time if some work you are good in, would be helpful. I have many tools that might be needed for our work.

    As I have a physical disability (chronical soft tissue rheumatism accompanied with chronical pains and fatigue) I cannot pay people to do the work and try therefore to do the most myself with help of friends and volunteers. I am a compulsive tool and repair-material collector. I shop over an internet platform cheap materials which would be thrown away or taken down from buildings (being torn down or renovate) and I try to reuse it in my renovation instead to buy new, which would be too expensive for me. As I earn just a small salary from selling flea market items I hunt all kind of things that could be used even when not now I have now also a lot that may have to be thrown away. So you can imagine that there is a lot of different material that needs to be arranged. It got kinda messed up around as I was living in the house and decided to fully renovate. So during the renovation, the tools and furniture and all other things have been moved out and in the annexes buildings or in temporary storage. Mostly friends have helped quickly move the stuff and with the temporary displacement, it keeps being all over the place. Therefore help to reorganize this is a big task this spring and summer and as I am a physically ill I can not rearrange all alone.

    So right now is except all the construction work also organizing and making an order in the whole mess with construction materials, tools and around the whole area the main goal and preparation for further work.

    Required time:
    Please, no stays under two weeks as I have to plan the time, clean and wash beddings for each helper change and need to coordinate the requests. I would prefer you to help at least two (2) or even better three (3) weeks but if you need shorter stay or you want to stay longer we can shorten/extend the time and we can talk about it and agree on a time that suits both parties the best. I prefer people who plan in advance and stick with the agreement.

    Guidance during work:
    I will be with you on the working days as much as possible until you feel comfortable to feel well on your own and I would in beginning leave you only occasionally alone if I have some duty tasks to run. I hope with the time you feel like home and can do the work on your own or with other helpers.

    If we do some work and you don't know how to do it I will be happy to show you and give you guidance but my place is not the right one for people who do not like to work and try to kill the time somehow. I think not knowing doesn't excuse not doing it the right way after clear guidance. The only thing you have to deal with might be my feedback, which would never be criticism but only help to understand, what you could change in order to be more efficient and have more joy getting better in what you do. Can't ignore as I am an educational professional and feel the obligation to give advises and alternatives when I believe it could be improved. But at the same time, I like to learn something from others as well.

    All over we shall have also a lot of social interactions and have good cooperation but also fun together.

    I can tell you more about the stay in a call before you come on WhatsApp or Skype. All questions you have we can talk in a call before you come on WhatsApp or Skype. Please feel free to contact me and ask whatever you feel like.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    Bosnian: Fluent
    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Croatian: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    Serbian: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    Please contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    ACCOMMODATION detailed:

    I PROVIDE BASICS. NO TABAC AND ALCOHOL, NO SUGAR PRODUCTS, NO SOFT DRINKS. Whatever you need that I don't provide I can drive you once a week for shopping.

    The accommodation is a small summer house, where you have a simple kitchen a tiny bathroom and a room with beds. Its a whole house, small but the rooms are clean and with comfortable beds for good sleep, with fireplace for cool days and some simple entertaining equipment (radio, videos & dvds but no tv and no internet - which you can have cheaply with a mobile network that I will recommend).

    I had so far maximally three people in same time here (a couple and a single) but in total there could be arranged place if needed for a group up to 4 people (if it happened that a group traveling with each other would want to come over). But to be comfortable I prefer the people to be only two and have enough space as everything is small and the rest of the house is in construction.

    There is a shared room with two beds and a tiny room for a third person (possibly for another gender or for a couple. Just don't necessarily want it to be too crowded. The bigger room is serving as well as a living room if its rainy outside and is in same time bedroom (for two) and the small room for another single person (or couple because it has a double bed can be separated by a door but is really tiny... just the bed inside.
    The bathroom is very small but enough to keep you clean and do the most necessary toilette.

    For socializing right now is the one of them (which is a small living room (with hidden beds) and alternatively the outside area or we should be this year creating some space inside the house that is under construction.

    During the week we preferably work and weekends you are free to try to have fun and learn more about the three countries. We can have also sometimes spontaneous agreements depending on the needs. As I offer also the possibility with only breakfast and accommodation you can, for example, work only five days four hours in the morning from 08:00 till 12:00 and be every afternoon free but sometimes we can work on a weekend and you have free the Monday but certainly every Sunday.

    In case we change mutually the working hours we both can write your time down and when you have 15 or 20 or 25 hours (for 7 days of stay) you can take off and go explore the area on your own. PLEASE NOTE: NO ARRIVING ON WEEKENDS (Sunday evening is ok) AND NO FREE DAYS BEFORE REACHED THE AGREED HOURS.. (I have so often been cheated on hours that I take this very serious).


    I will try to give you information on what is going on and sometimes accompany you, especially if you are the only helper at the time you spend helping me.

    As I don't run a hostel or restaurant but am a private person I can offer only accommodation and except cereals sometimes some basic foods like pasta, rice, vegetables, fruits. Food is very costly and therefore I can not provide all but cereals like oats with seeds and dried fruits (Swiss - Birchermüsli) I provide enough and I also sometimes cook myself and share it and have also for carnivores approximately once or twice per week dishes with meat. Unfortunately, I can npot afford to buy only organic (bio) food and I do not consume and buy any dairy products except milk for your cereals. My house is in an urban area and we do not have farmers around where we would buy milk or other farm products. Most products are from chain markets (called LIDL, GEANT CASINO, CARREFOUR etc.).
    I mentioned already that I don't offer any soft drinks or tobacco and alcohol but there is plenty of tea, coffee, and some concentrated sugar drink to mix with the tap water. I also do not buy dairy products and can't buy only organic as my income is too low. I will offer you all that I use myself and what I cook you can share with me or you store your own foods and cook your own meals. I am allergic to lactose and wheat products and would have only bread for you. All the other you wish to have, you can buy only for you.

    I do not offer more than two meals and those are taken at break times preferably breakfast before 9:00 in the morning, and again in the afternoon or in the evening after the work is done.
    I would prefer regular food times as well as regular working times and during the working hours, there should not be breaks for smoking and eating as the workflow is constantly breaking and most cases the work is not enough progressing with the constant breaks. Best is having free time in the morning but start working latest 9:00 then work till noon, take time to rest and have dinner not too late... what do you think? Does that sound ok? Individual schedules are always negotiable and if you prefer to eat your own food because you have special needs I will be happy to adapt this to agree the hours of work.

    Cooking in the volunteers' house is not possible because the odor would be too much for the small house. We have to prepare the meals in a common cooking area (outside but covered kitchen area).
    The meals we want to eat we might prepare together or alternate but I will also be happy to prepare it while you work so (when I am around) so you can just sit down and eat after the work. I have been told by my friends and all the volunteers to prepare tasty food.
    When I am not there you can prepare the food for you or you eat something like Bircher-Müsli (oats with seeds and dry and fresh fruits) or something quickly prepared.

    FOOD AND DRINKS NOT PROVIDING: other meals but cereals with UHT milk (not organic) for breakfast (or lunch if you prefer but only one meal).
    I do not provide any alcohol or soft drinks, nor any kind of sugar products or any special products

    All you want except the cereals you can buy by yourself. I bring you to a shop for shopping what you need once a week. As there is a bakery near the house you can buy yourself fresh bread every day.

    I share some meals that I cook for myself and eat or what I drink myself which is our clean tap water, good choice of teas and also coffee.

    I prefer the non-smoker as I don't smoke and do not accept smoking inside any rooms (even on construction). This is not that I refuse you because you are a smoker but I certainly dislike if you feel having breaks for smoking. Just if you have to smoke after work please do it outside all buildings (or in the covered kitchen area) and so it doesn't bother others or the workflow.

    We can stay just an experience or take it to a lifelong connection. Depending on our feelings for each other's values and the chemistry we feel while spending time together working or if you stay longer also socializing while being free.
    If we get along with each other...except being thankful for your help I hope to welcome you as a friend back.. in couple of years, when the house is done and I hope to give you opportunity to come back to a friend in a much cozier and comfortable living conditions and enjoy more of our common work results and spend time having more fun together. But there is no expectation of this..... just if we feel mutual joy spending time together.

    Hope I addressed all the questions you might have.

    All other questions you have we can talk in a call before you come on WhatsApp, Viber (plus four one seven six three eight nine four eight four zero) or Skype - maida.kiefer.66. Please feel free to contact me and ask whatever you feel like.
    Also, we can connect over f-book and messenger.

    I thank you a lot for your time and wish you all the time good travell and good experiences.

    Kind regards

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    I am a volunteer myself and can understand peoples needs when they travel. When you come we can first talk about what you would like to explore and how and fix then how to proceed with the helping time that certainly will not exceed the agreed hours on working days.

    Our area of three countries (France, Germany, and Switzerland) is very beautiful and it varies in the possibility of activities, depending on what are you interested in. In any case, the transportation infrastructure is very developed and there are many different ways to discover this beauty.

    I hope the most of your discovering you can do independently on your own. I am suffering of chronical fatigue and need rest after the four hours of work. You can reach many places on bicycle (needs first to be checked and maintained as I can't take care after every use of volunteers if everything is ok) or you just walk in order to save money for public transportation but I can give you the bus schedule and in some cases I can drive you to the city, like when I go myself for weekend. If you stay four or more weeks I provide some tours around occasionally with my car or give you a ride to the next main train or bus station, in case you want to travel in the area around.

    Not far away are several nice cities, that can be visited as a day trip and be a firm memory of the volunteering experience.

    All other questions you could have about the area you can ask me in a call before you come on WhatsApp or Skype.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Option 1. Working 15 hrs (week) for accommodation WITHOUT FOOD Option 2. Working 20 hrs for accommodation and cereals breakfast (I will coock and share sometimes meals with you or you cook your own food)

Not yet fully finished-kitchen in helpers house
When I am not tired I can laugh and smile but unfortunately, my pain disorder and my chronic fatigue make it possible only when having good conversations with some helpers and something to laugh together about. I hope to meet you and have fun with you.
Alsace, France - The house with all the mess around in the middle of the picture is mine and needs helper to organise the mess :-)
The temporary outside kitchen.. not nice view but very practical during summer
Fleemarket items being continuosly moved around because of the reconstruction
Tools and renovation equipment due movement of renovation in disorder... one of the goals is to store it a way it can be found immediately and not keep checking around
Many taken down materials need some strong hands and order to be stored until they can be used
Helpers house being renovate spring 2018
Alsace, France - Huge disorder getting very slowly better.
Alsace, France - My wooden hut is disappearing and its becoming a brick house - step by step - partly with help of nice helpers
Gempen, Switzerland
Castle Dornach, Basel Area, Switzerland
City Hall, Basel, Switzerland

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 918882659135