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




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 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    Hello 😁, 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 luxury land and people regeneration retreat center, a natural refuge where nature, animals and people can work together in harmony.

    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, horse stables, chicken coop, fencing and so many other wonderful work done.

    We hope to open the retreat center in late 2022, if all the work gets done in time.

    We have 2 horses, 3 donkeys, 20 chickens, 3 dogs, 2 cats, so if you are animal lover, you will be happy here :-)

    We are looking for strong, proactive, helpful, organised, neat and clean volunteers to help us out :-)

    We need help in building a tool shed, upkeep of the veggie gardens and food forest, land clearing, pruning, planting, mulching, animal care and other projects that come up each moment to manage the farm part and the getting ready the retreat center. There is never a boring moment here.

    Write only If it comes natural for you to be neat and clean :-) - we are living in the newly renovated part of the retreat center and you share a bathroom with us - we need to keep the retreat area as new for when we open - this is important for us.

    We are also looking for people who know how to cook to support in this area.

    We ask volunteers to stay at least 4 weeks as you get to really understand and feel at home after 2 weeks, and the rest of the time you can flow with ease :-).

  • 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 (permaculture design course) and a natural building course so he can build the different structures needed for the farm part of the retreat center. He is very excited to share his knowledge and experience.

    We are happy people and we like happy, interested in our project and proactive volunteers :-).
    We are very keen to arrive to almost a 0 trash impact with our project.

    We love animals, and somehow they love us and the many volunteers back, specially if you are the type of person who realises that animals need to eat also during the weekends :-)

  • Help


    You will be supporting us with clearing land, veggie garden upkeep (weeding, harvesting, planting, adding mulch), building a tool shed, animal feeding and cleaning stables, helping us with the setting up of the retreat center, feeding dogs, cats and chickens, cleaning chicken coop, exploring new recipes as well as live towards a zero waste (minimising plastic use) and sustainable living as well as any other project that comes up.

    Please write 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 we open to the public.

    Ugo and MaryAnn

  • Languages spoken

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

  • Accommodation


    We offer a comfortable room with 3 single beds for our volunteers and 1 shared bathroom with hosts.

    We live in the newly renovated service part of the future retreat center.

    We use the future retreat common kitchen used to cook main meals, and living/dining area. We provide bedding, but please bring your own towel.

    Food wise we provide 3 vegetarian meals a day, you can provide your own snacks and any special foods you need.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The help required is 5 hours per day for 5 days a week plus community work (cooking and washing up in turns), as well as support to feed the horses during the weekends.

    During your free time you can enjoy long walks around the property or to the close by little city, Serpa (10 km away by taxi or hitch a ride with us when we go into town), where there are restaurants, bars and all the commodities that a small town can provide. Nearby there is also a river (2 km away) and a water fall and natural park (5 km).

    Regarding transportation, we will pick you up in the bus station 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.

    Ideally you can arrive on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday (if possible - we can discuss that when we communicate about your arrival)

  • 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?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week plus community cooking and cleaning up, and feeding horses in the weekends.

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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (4.9)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 921349294163