-Minimum amount of time for volunteering is 4 weeks! longer appreciated.
-we charge a daily fee per person.
-yellow / red month in summer means it is rainy season in ethiopia and we are in the highlands above 3000m. so it might rain a lot. We are closed at that time. please dont request for red months! I will not answer!
-here it is all about community and farmlife in and with nature. For that please also bring a big will to interact with the community and be part of it at celebrations etc. There is a language barrier for sure (no farmers here speak english), so make sure you are either a fast language learner or good in communicating without language :) It might happen also, that Abiy or me are not here (as translators) when we have to organise something in Addis or abroad. So are you happy to be independent and social even though you can not really speak with each other (or not easily)?
-November, december, january are the main tourist season in Ethiopia. If you volunteer at that time, main tasks will be in the area of hospitality (cooking, teaching recipes, helping with tourists)
Welcome to the Choke Mountains at over 3,000 meters altitude at the source of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. At our cozy Ecolodge culture, nature and society form a natural unity.
We are striving to fight rural exodus from this rich piece of earth by introducing smooth eco-tourism and working on community projects of our NGO (founded 3 years ago in Germany for educational projects in Ethiopia).
It’s a genuine experience for tourists and a strong force for the preservation of the regional workforce, the cultural heritage and the unique environment.
My boyfriend (Abiy, 27 years) and me (Valerie, 22 years) are dreaming since many years of building an Eco-Community-Center, where visitors and locals get together and learn from each other about sustainability, environment and life.
Recently we got a 5 hectare land in the highlands of Ethiopia, on a hill over a river gorge with several waterfalls and caves. Our place is in one of last preserved endemic forests and full of local plants, trees and animals: sometimes even the black and white Colobus Monkeys play in our trees or bushbocks graze on our meadows the local herbs. It is one of the most beautiful and undiscovered parts of Ethiopia: the Choke Mountains.
Just some kilometers from that place Abiy grew up as a child of a local farmer family until the age of 9, watching the cattle of the family.
In the capital he studied eco-tourism and now wants to bring back the benefit of small, sustainable tourism to his people. Since I am studying environmental engineering we want to build something up together with everyone who wants to join us and share the ideas of permies and sustainability.
Here we are now building the an eco lodge of clay huts with local materials and knowledge run on renewable energies. A place where like minded people can just stay and enjoy the tranquillity far from their daily life.
With the help of volunteers from workaway the Eco Lodge is now finished. But we want to keep hosting volunteers to work with us on our permaculture and community projects of our NGO .
Within the last three years our NGO funded a school library for the closeby Highschool and is sponsoring several farmer children to afford school.
Recently the NGO built a community house in local style on the ground of the Eco Lodge.
It is meant to be a meeting point for the farmer community with a library for the students, a kindergarten corner for the young ones, a farmer museum, and a place for local women associations to do their handcrafts and sell their products.
The house construction by itsself is almost finished but we still have to get the mudwalls finished, get a compost toilet, and do the interiors.
With the volunteers who were helping in the Eco Lodge we already started some English / Sport classes for the farmers children on a closeby field.
And now, finally, we also got the chance to fullfill the biggest wish of the farmers! Our NGO got donations to build a Elementary School in this area! That is the project for 2018 and 2019...
Lot of things to get done here... ;)
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help with Computers / internet
Get in touch with the people of Choke Mountains and experience true hospitality. Chat with them at a homely bonfire. Take part in traditional festivities and learn traditional dances.
The locals are traditional farmers, still far from globalisation, even though you will see some first signs of it.... In your free time you can just take a horse or go by foot or by our mountain bike and experience the fascinating mountain landscape with its rivers and waterfalls, the open hearted, welcoming people, be spontaniously invited to an ancient coffee ceremony by a local family or just relax in a hammock between old trees with a good book. Twice a week there is a big, colorful local market to visit (2km far from us), where farmers exchange their goods and offer traditional handcrafts. And we will get a chance to get fresh vegetables and fruits!
You will get to know the original life of people in the countryside of Ethiopia and their unique traditions and ancient christian rituals. The people live in simple clay huts, cook sophisticated Ethiopian food on an open fire, farm their fields with two oxen ; the social system of relatives and communities still works here. You will get to think about „poor“ and „rich“ when you see them happily dancing to the songs of the elderlies.
You can share experiences with the other workawayers about the described projects and learn ancient crafts from the locals in farming, cooking, and local handicrafts.
On our land we don´t have electricity or pipe water, as all the farmers there. In the nearest village (about 2km) is an electricity line but also no water connection. We work very closely with the farmer community which is cultivating the fields in this area in a traditional way with oxen and plough. There is a lot of ancient knowledge how to find solutions for living off the grid without electricity connection and water pipes. By you and your ideas we want to create a mutual benefit from ancient ways of living of the farmers and modern off-grid and agricultural systems. We can all learn a lot from each other!
We welcome anybody who shares our ideology and who is motivated to convert ideas into real projects! We are very happy about people who have some experience in one of the following projects but also if you bring a great interest and some time, please contact us!
The following projects partly need imported materials (e.g. water pump or filters): We will discuss with you if you have space in your luggage to bring it, and if you are interested to take full responsibilty for the project and do a small fundraising for the materials you need?)
You can take responsibility or share it in the following topics
(all are projects of our NGO to benefit the farmer community):
→ English / Sport lessons for the farmers children
→ Help in building and finishing the Community House
→ Organising / Building the Elementary School
-> Help to cook food and teach new recipes for the locals (they mostly dont use fresh vegetables)
-> Biogas! This could help preventing deforestation for firewood as a model for all the farmers in the surrounding.
-> water pumping system: the place is about 80m above the river, maybe possible with the hydraulic RAM pumps?
-> water cleaning/filtering system
-> waste water management
-> clay / earthen building techniques: we built huts according to the local knowledge with a wood structure which is covered in cob, but to prevent further reforestation we are very interested in learning and trying out other cob construction methods without wood, like with tyres, sandbags, or sun dried cob bricks. All materials are on site or available in Ethiopia. We also want too learn more about building rocket Mass heaters to improve the farmers living conditions.
-> Permaculture, Food Forest, Organic Gardening
-> Bamboo furnitures / construction: there is a lot of bamboo in our area and also some local handcraft knowledge about the usage. We would be very happy about an exchange if one of you have own experiences with bamboo! That could be used for the school furnitures.
-> Compost toilets for school and community house
So all in all we need brain power, aswell as experience!;)
If you have any own ideas that may fit to our concept, we are very open to discuss and implement!
English, German, Amharic
Accomodation will be in tents. You can also choose to bring your own tent. We have some sleeping bags or traditional blankets, but feel free to bring your own sleeping bag.
If you like to stay in a farmers hut, they will welcome you aswell!
Sanitary: The toilet will be a shared compost toilet. We have camping solar showers or we can boil some water for hot showers.
Food: We will always cook and eat together. „Sharing is caring“ is a big principle in the Ethiopian tradition! Every Wednesday and Friday are fasting days, so all over Ethiopia you will get only vegan food! Ethiopian food is very healthy with lots of minerals and vitamins, e.g. the glutenfree crop „Teff“. We eat vegetarian food (mainly the local „Injera“ with different sauces and vegetables,, delicious potatoes). If you have any special needs, let us know and we will discuss if we can provide that.
The food doesnt have too much varieties. The food varies only seasonal, we often eat the same food three times daily. Especially for breakfast that is sometimes a problem for foreigners... so if you want anything different/special for breakfast, please bring that by yourselve. (Available on the local market: Always Injera/spinach/red beet/potato/onion/garlic/ginger/pasta/beans/spices, seasonal tomatoes/peach/apple/carrot)
We and the locals love to learn new recipes from you but just be aware about the limited availability of several ingredients.
Worth a visit: A lot of the Unesco World Heritage Sites are also not very far from our place. If you plan an extra week on your trip you can see the 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela from the 12. century, the castles in Gondar, or the old monastrys on the islands of the biggest lake in Ethiopia: Lake Tana with its hippos. As the owner of a travel agency Abiy will be happy to help you to organize your trip and advice you more worth seeing places in the north of Ethiopia.
it would be very good if you get a simcard as soon as you are in Addis. The only provider is ethio telecom so you should go to any ethio telecom shop in addis and get your phone registered to get the simcard (costs about an euro). Then you can call us and we will explain you details how to reach here best.
How to reach us:
Our lodge is located 3km far from the village Tiame.
To reach there from Addis Abeba you should take any kind of public transport that is driving the main road from Addis Abeba to city of Bahir Dar. At about half way to Bahir Dar there is a town called „Dembecha“ (you either take a car driving to Dembecha, hard to find maybe, or a car to Bahir Dar and get out in Dembecha). There are local transport busses Level 1,2,3; we recommend the more safe and reliable bus companies like Selam Bus, Abay Bus, Sky Bus, Limalimo Bus, Post Bus. You can find offices of all of them in Addis and buy a ticket some days in advance (cost around 400 ETB, takes about 7-8hours from Addis to Dembecha).
Wheater conditions: In Ethiopia there is no winter and sommer, but rainy season (June-September) and dry season (October-Mai). The daily temperature differences are higher than the seasonals.
In the highlands you wont find the climate, that you expect from Africa! In the daytime the temperatures can raise up to 25 degree, while it can be around 0 degree at night! It may also rain sometimes in the dry season in this altitude. So take also warm and some rain clothes with you.
Electricity and Internet: You can charge your phones from the small solar panels and you will also have solar lights in your accomodation. Normally there is a good mobile data connection. It is not 100% reliable because the network tower will not work if there are electricity shortcuts in the area.
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.