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PERMACULTURE – SUSTAINABLE – NATURE LIVING
Hey there! This is Lu and Na. In 2017 we arrived in Costa Rica to begin our sustainable life in nature. After four years traveling around Latin América, and volunteering in different projects, we finally decided to settle. But, after all we´d learned and seen, going back to the city of Buenos Aires, (where we are from) was not an option. We wanted to live in balance in nature, preserving the forest and the animals in it so... we came all the way to this wonderful place and created a natural reserve in the mountains. Here, we try to live by the principles of permaculture. We built a natural home with our own hands and started organic gardens and an eatable forest with the aim to eventually have our own organic food. It is also our long term goal to create renewable energies from our own resources and become off the grid. In the meantime, every day we work, live in and take care of this hidden paradise and share it with those who want to come and dedicate a part of their lives to it.
-Please read our profile before apliying-
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EXPERIMENTING - TEACHING - LEARNING
This is a great place to learn stuff deeply. We offer courses and guided tours to share even more in detail what we know. These are some of them:
«Permaculture - the answer to sustainability»
«Vegan cuisine - harmless pleasures»
«Organic Gardening workshop»
«Natural Construction workshop»
«Photography - the basis of light»
«Forest Discovery - guided Tour»
«Deep River Hike - guided Tour»
In some of our exchanges a course or a tour is included!
For those interested in learning about permaculture, natural building and food gardening, this is the place to come to, we have plenty to share and every day we are experimenting.
If you don´t know anything about these matters, but you are interested and willing to work and learn about it, please apply anyway. You always need to start somewhere.
Just don´t apply for a long term stay if you are not hard working, if you don´t like getting up early, sweating, getting full of mud and living simply. ...if you complain more than you joke, it´s not the right place.
We like people that look for solutions rather than problems, we like to support each other. We value respect, hard work, goodwill, creativity, and honesty. We enjoy good deep conversations and silly jokes as well as table games, good books, and movies.
We enjoy the silence of time with ourselves.
This is a great place to be and learn about yourself. To read, to observe nature, to take walks, to hang on hammocks, draw, write, carve... We can show you how to carve if you bring a simple flat knife that can be sharpened.
NATURAL BUILDING – BIO – ECO – SUSTAINABLE SHELTERS
While traveling around we discovered that traditional architecture, as we knew it, was just one way of building which would not take into account the surrounding environment and local resources, energy efficiency or environmental impact. So we learned different techniques to build with earth, wood, lime, bamboo, palm leaves and other natural materials. We learned with others, we researched, and became self-taught about these methods, while we tried them and experimented with them in our own shelters. We built our house with our own hands using these techniques, and we keep on experimenting and trying new things as our home grows. A camping area, a wood storage shelter, dry toilets, camp´s kitchen among others are some of the ongoing projects with which we need plenty of help. Many of these things, we´ve never done before so it is a discovery process and a challenge!! and we are willing to share it. We are very open about what we know, and we are always happy to learn with others, so everything we´re doing will be fully explained to you so you can understand processes if you are interested, and you´ll be welcome to bring in any knowledge you have on the matter.
ORGANIC GARDENS – EATABLE FORESTS
Food sustainability is one important matter for us. Traditional food production requires techniques that harm the environment and ourselves in many ways, by excessive use of poisons, transportation and packaging. Our goal is to become independent of this system by producing our own healthy food. This is a long term process which takes time and work. Slowly, we´re making organic gardens, and growing local fruits and vegetables such as passion fruit, pineapple, squash, sweet potato, cassava etc and we are working on an eatable forest also known as "solar maya"... where we are growing cacao, plantain, bananas, papaya, tamarindo, avocado, mango, starfruit (carambola), guanabana, among others. The tropics with its extreme humidity, rain and sunshine was a whole new thing for us, although we had long term experience growing food in Brasil and Argentina. So getting started was difficult but we´ve come a long way and we keep on learning from our visitors, neighbors, books and most of all: experiences. Also, we look at the forest as an example of efficiency and intelligence and try to learn from it´s cycles as well. We welcome you to join us on this challenge while we work and learn together.
Just remember that most of this work will be physical work end requires learning processes and full attention.
It´s a challenge!
WHAT WE EXCHANGE
We offer a very wide variety of exchanges, from 4 days minimum stays and 2 hs of permaculture practice a day, to 9 months forest ranging and house sitting, and there is plenty of options in between, being the workaway specific for 3 months, so get in touch to figure out what fits you best.
Spanish, English, Portuguese
OUR FACILITIES – A SIMPLE LIFE – THE FOREST
We don´t have much from a western, capitalistic point of view (which is of course not our view). Na and I live in a tiny wooden unfinished home we made ourselves by the forest. Some of our volunteers live in a camping area (that we have been building for 6 months and is still growing) on a slope with an incredible view of the forest, and others bring their own tent and camp higher up in the hill. There is no wifi, but there´s random 3g and cell phone signal uphill if you bring a kolbi chip. We shower and wash clothes in the river and poo in dry toilets. The howller monkeys usually wake us up. Toucans are heard and seen daily around the area. An incredible variety of birds arrive at the trees and plants around the house every day. Whole capuchin monkey families come to eat in front of the house several days each month and a couple of times a year, spider monkeys visit us as well. Basiliscs sunbathe on the fern and run on the river while blue jeans frogs come out in the rain. And insects can be -huge-. Our car is more than thirty years old -noo, it´s not a classic-, our clothes are second hand. We´ve got all we need except for an evergreen avocado tree and a never-ending source of chocolate, but that´s soon to come. We do have unlimited lemons. And we have Bruno, the laziest cat- dog. We are located 5km away from the highway, so there´s no public transport passing by our place. To come in or out you can use your feet or a taxi or our cheaper -express- transportation service if you wanna collaborate with the reserve.
With the aim to preserve the prevailing nature in our home, we are able to receive a maximum of 5 volunteers at a time if they come in pairs, and 3 if they come on their own.
SUSTAINABLE LIVING – SUSTAINABLE RULES
Our sustainable life has some sustainable rules, and if you stay with us, you´ll be expected to stick to them. These are not arbitrary, they all are part of a balanced way of life that aims to respect nature’s cycles and equilibrium.
1- No chemicals non-biodegradable are allowed. This includes shampoos, soaps including the one to wash clothes and dishes, and yourself, sun blockers, body lotions, makeup, repellents or anything that doesn´t have a biodegradable label on is not to be used in the house area or the reserve. We´ll be happy to advise you on replacements for this if you need.
And also you can buy all of them in the bio version!
2- We live on a vegan diet, which is why animal-derived products and products that include animal-derived ingredients are not allowed in our facilities. We can show you, exchange, and teach vegan recipes.
3- All garbage is recycled. All organic waste is composted. Plastic waste is cleaned up and stored for recycling. Cardboard and paper are reused and/or composted or recycled. And you will be responsible for your garbage. If you produce plastic waste, you will have to take it with you at the end your stay. Leaving or throwing garbage around is forbidden.
4- We respect nature as it is. Any sort of mistreatment to an animal will not be tolerated.
5- Part of respecting the forest, is respecting its peace, it´s quiet, and it´s own sounds, so we avoid disruptive noise as much as we can. Very loud music is not allowed but you can always use headphones. If you play music yourself, this is very welcome.
6- Maybe a little arbitrary rule, but not so much: Alcoholic drinks, and drugs are not allowed, this includes weed. It would be dreadful if you fell down the slope because you were drunk. :) You can smoke tobacco as long as it is organic, as well as its´ paper and filter.
7- You will be expected to wash your dishes every day, and leave the kitchen area clean Right After using it. We don´t leave the dishes to be cleaned later, because if sbdy else needs them, they´ll end up having to clean what you have used.
8- Use things carefully, everything we have here has cost us so much time and work, and we can´t replace them easily.
9- You are expected to bring all the ingredients you will use to cook, we do not provide oil, salt, sugar and spices. If you usually use these, please bring them.
10- We have a dry toilet because ALL of our organic waste is given back to mother earth. Flush and forget is not part of a sustainable lifestyle. You will be expected to throw the toilets content in the composting area and clean the bucket right after using it, so that me, you or your boyfriend will enjoy the smell of lemon trees when they come to use it afterward.
11- (This is optional) Bring a pen drive or sd card full of great movies so that we can copy them to our devices and copy our great movies into yours. We can't just download torrents in the jungle, so this is our way of film trafficking.
WHAT TO BRING
There are a few things that you really need to put in your bag if you´re coming here. If there´s anything that you can´t find before you come, let us know, and figure it out together on your arrival.
1- High rain boots. It rains a lot, and there´s plenty of bugs, and snakes around, so you need these.
2 - Raincoat. It rains a lot, and sometimes, we might have to work in the rain, so it´s important that you don´t get super wet.
3 - A flashlight, we got electricity, but there are no lights outside the house or in the toilet, so…
4 - Biodegradable hygiene products. (you can clean almost everything with baking soda and vinegar… so if you don´t want to buy expensive stuff: you can wash clothes, your hair, dishes with baking soda and vinegar.) If you want to buy biodegradable thingis, you can find in some different markets for instance. But make sure you bring either.
5 – Any food you might want to eat, being vegan of course. (PLAN AHEAD we don´t go to town every day, but just once each week or every ten days.)
6 - Movies
TAKE INTO ACCOUNT – WE LIVE IN THE FOREST – WE SHARE OUR HOME
We live and work in the rain forest. There is plenty of animals and bugs that might bite so it is important to learn how to do things safely and try to avoid this as much as possible. There are poisonous spiders, frogs and snakes. And although it is a bigger risk for you to ride a car than to share your home with these animals, we believe it is important to let you know before-hand.
We are surrounded by nature and this is our everyday joy. You can spend your days in the river, observing nature, walking around the area or just reading and laying on a hammock...
In the reserve we do tours into the jungle, an awesome river hike, vegan cookery courses, photography courses, we got a bike for rent, and offer language and permaculture courses.
If you have read our whole profile we thank you so so much, cause we know it´s long. Please include one of these absolute truths into your message so we´ll know you have - "the Oscars give prices to bad movies with big budgets that need to recover their investment" / "Jurassic Park was shot in Costa Rica and the howler monkeys made the sounds of the dinosaurs".
Lu & Na
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week
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