Help us build our eco-chic retreat center in Alentejo, Portugal




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 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    Hi, we are Ugo (Italian) and MaryAnn (1/2 american and 1/2 italian brought up in Madrid) who moved to Portugal after 10 years living in Hong Kong.

    Ugo, an italian food connoisseur and entrepreneur, MaryAnn, a mindfulness and compassion and executive coach entrepreneur.

    We are the guardians of 74 acres of magical land in Serpa, Alentejo, where we are following our dream of creating a land and people regeneration retreat center, a natural refuge where nature and people can work together in harmony.

    When we open the retreat in late 2021, it will be based on the Taking Care of your planet, body, mind and soul concept; reconnecting and taking care of ourselves as integral parts of nature via mindfulness and compassion practices, yoga, healthy eating from veggie garden and soaking in the natural peace of Alentejo, and reconnecting with nature through sustainable agricultural methods (permaculture and agroforestry).

    Right now we are getting the land and food production part ready while we are in the middle of renovation of the buildings.

    We moved into the property in January 2019 and with already the help of many volunteers, we have 5 beautiful veggie gardens that have been giving us wonderful food, and now we are readying to plant summer vegetables.

    We have 2 horses, 3 donkeys, 16 chickens, 3 dogs, 2 cats and we are in the midst of building a tool shed, as well as regenerating the land by planting cover crops and giving organic matter to degraded areas of the land, mulching the beds and planting the summer seedlings.

    We are looking for organised, neat and clean volunteers as we will be living in the newly renovated part of the retreat center and we need to keep it as new for when we open hopefully in November (the rest of the living space is being renovated).

    Write only If you are interested and capable of being super careful and keep the common areas clean and neat :-)

    Let us know if you want to be part of this project by joining us to work on building, upkeep of the veggie gardens and food forest, land clearing, pruning, planting, mulching, animal care and other exciting projects.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Ugo is Italian and MaryAnn is half Italian, half American, but grown up in Spain. We have lived for the last 10 years in Hong Kong, so we have quite an international background. Ugo is a food lover, worked in food for the last 7 years, MaryAnn is a Mindfulness (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living (MBCL), executive coach and passionate about trying out new vegetarian recipes. Ugo has attended a PDC course and a natural building course so he can build our house.

    We are happy people and very keen to arrive to almost a 0 trash impact on this world with our project. We love animals, and somehow they love us and the many volunteers back :-)

  • Help


    PLEASE WRITE TO US if you are a neat, precise and clean person as we will be living in a newly renovated area that we must keep as new until October/November 2021.

    We welcome people who are proactive and will be happy to work in the land, (clearing land, cutting, veggie garden maintenance, pruning, etc.) and building, with a positive attitude and who will contribute in the upkeep of the food forest and veggie gardens, building project and manage and take care of animals as well as live towards a zero waste (minimising plastic use) and sustainable living.

    Ugo and MaryAnn

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    Portuguese: Intermediate
    French: Beginner
    Japanese: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    We offer a room with 3 single beds (or one double and one single) for our volunteers and shared bathroom with hosts.

    We will be living in the newly renovated service part of the future retreat center.

    We have a common kitchen used to cook main meals, and a common living/dining area with a fire place. The rooms are heated during the cold nights, please bring your own towel.
    Food wise we provide 3 vegetarian meals a day, you can provide your own snacks.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The help required is 5 hours per day for 5 days a week plus community work (house cleaning, cooking and washing up in turns).
    During your free time you can enjoy the property or the close by little city, Serpa, where there are restaurants, bars and all the commodities that a small town can provide. Nearby there is also a river and a water fall and natural park.

    Regarding transportation, we will pick you up in Serpa. You can go via Beja (bus or train from Lisbon) and from there catch a bus to SERPA, which is 10km far from the property.

  • 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

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We have space for you if you are traveling in a camper van. It can be a big or small one.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week plus community cleaning of the house and cooking and washing up

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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (4.9)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 921349294163