I live in the village of Aymanam in Kottayam, Kerala, India. We have a 1 acre land that is riverside, solar-powered, with a whole lot of coconut, banana and nutmeg cultivation, that we run a homestay. We do also have some pineapple, star fruit trees, scramberry, guavas, a young avocado plant etc. I have setup sprinklers, but have tons of weeds growing and need to organize and let our farm flourish further. I jokingly tell people I do zero-effort farming, as I work myself on the farm whenever I am free, but with enthusiastic help who have a background in farming- a lot can be achieved.
We are also riverside, so kayaks are there to move around the rivers, any conservation work or documentation of the beautiful scenery and river landscapes + thousands of bird species will promote conservation of these natural treasures.
I do have some old wood from an ancestral home of ours and would like to a build a nice vernacular or traditional structure above our car park so people get to stay and experience a birds eye view of the river.
I have a brother who is a slow learner, loves guests but can be repetitive or challenging to engage over a longer period, who would like to eventually look after the functioning of the homestay. Anybody with a background in working with people with similar background to help transition into managing this very informal homestay environment would be great.
We have a family tree at our parents' house, picture included, that is a work in progress. The local artist stopped half way through. We welcome any or all artists to come work with us on it.
I am an easy going guy, with lot of ventures, I will arrange meals for volunteers and take them occasionally to local points of attraction or drinks (coconut alcohol) etc. I will be going out of town for 2 months (to the UK), so anybody who can manage the online rental homestay would be a big positive.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
You can get an indepth look into the village life, as it hasn't changed much for the average Keralite here. I am drawn to the old ways, and how things used to be done, including the history of this land, and I can show you the same. I cant take you on trips to the local toddy shop, food joints and view points whenever I head.
As far as farming goes, routine weeding, replanting of bananas, upkeep of turmeric, black pepper, management of creepers like passion fruit etc needs constant work.
I am keen to pursue sustainable options wherever possible like building mud, bamboo, clay structures, incorporating sustainable waste - management and energy systems like biogas systems etc. I am also keen to try many traditional recipes for farming, mosquito repellents etc.
Being riverside, we have kayaks, and plan an awareness campaign to promote the use of the water ways as they were being used half a century ago. This can be fun for you, as you get to set out on the kayaks and explore the waterways which are absolutely magical in the mornings and late evening. Interested individuals could help with cleaning the waterways near our home and chart out the different water routes on a map.
English, Malayalam, Hindi, Some Spanish
We have a 3 bedroom house, with 2 rooms reserved for family, guests etc. and one room for myself. When there is no booking, you could use one of the guest rooms, or otherwise there is ample space in the house and mattresses/ mats can be provided.
The fridge and kitchen will be stocked with eggs, bread, milk and vegetables or daily allowance for breakfast and lunch from the local eateries (5 minute walk away) will be provided. Options can be decided on after discussing with interested individuals.
Kumarakom backwaters are very close to us, so is Kottayam town. There is a lot of history and scenery in the area that I can direct you to. Also our place is equidistant from Thekkedy, Varkala, Allappey etc (about 2-3 hours from all these places). You can accept Allappey by ferry boat (costs about Rs 20/ ticket) and get a nice 2-3 hour boat ride through the lake.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 3-5 hours a day, 5 days a week