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Hi, my name is Silvia and I live with my husband and our 5 kids in the country side, just outside Tienen (45 km from Brussels), in a Dutch-speaking region in Belgium. We are Italians (this is the main language at home) but we speak English, French and Dutch fluently (or at least kids speak Dutch fluently...). We bought an old little farm 12 years ago. We did all works by ourselves - camping and working on the site until the kids didn't get into our lives :) We have finally finished the second floor of the house and concentrating on final touches inside and works outside. We are expanding our permaculture vegetable garden in the hectar around the house, as we aim at self-sufficiency. We would need some help around the house, entertaining the kids, doing some works inside and outside the house and continuing expanding our project on a self-sufficient house.
We are a big family: we have 2 boys, Mattia (10) and Andrea (9), and 3 girls, Matilde (8), Irene (4 and a half) and Anna (3) and the nicest dog you could ever meet, Nella, of 12 and a half years old. We have chickens and turkeys, and in the past we also had ducks, rabbits and horses and we would like to have them again in a near future.
Tipos de ayuda y oportunidades de aprendizajePráctica de idiomasAyuda en proyectos ecológicosEnseñanzaJardineríaProyectos de construcción y bricolajeCuidado de niños y juegos creativosAyuda domésticaMantenimiento general
Objetivos de sostenibilidad de las NU que intenta conseguir este anfitrión
Intercambio cultural y oportunidades de aprendizaje
If you're interested in helping us in routine taks in the house, entertaining the kids, have a cultural/language exchange, DIY works in the house and/or in permaculture and self-sufficiency, you are more than welcome. We have gained a lot of experience building the house/trying to create a more sustainable way of leaving in the years, we bring the knowledge coming from our other jobs, we are a big and welcoming family and we are happy to share all that with you and work together on this project. I have a 'double life': I work as a human rights advocate, specialising in European Law, half time and the other half I help people as a naturopath. I've been studying plants, since I was a child, especially medicinal and edible ones, I then specialised in reflexology, nutrition, Chinese Traditional Medecine, iridology and I have practiced permaculture for the past 10 years and grown my medical plants. My husband is an engineer in telecommunication and very handy in doing all DYI works and find green and innovative solutions. We are used to have people living with us (we had au pair girls for the past 4 years and had 6 workawayers staying with us last summer), we're entusiastic and like sharing our life and passions. We have a busy life and any help is more than welcome. Kids go to a very nice school where they learn meditatio, circus, theatre, music, etc. but since it is a public one, and we do not pay for it, it depends a lot on parents' help, and therefore we often organise workshops there and go and share any knowledge we have, or in any case kids need our help in many projects they prepare within/for the school. Finally, we still help taking care, from time to time, of a number of horses in our spare time because I'm a founding member of an association having 20 horses, where I also give workshops. I'm more than happy to have a second pari of hands in all this and to share any knowledge or activity that I do.
Proyectos con niños
En este proyecto podría haber niños. Para obtener más información, consulta nuestras directrices y consejos aquí.
This summer, kids are home from the 30 June to the 1 September. We both work during this time (mainly from home) but we definitely need some help with the kids and around the house. We're also going to Italy on holiday for two weeks (period not scheduled yet - but should be between end of July/beginning of August).
If you have some knowlegde in DYI and building projects:
We would need some help with finishing the works inside the house, such as covering the ceiling with wood planks, building the wooden furniture, installing the doors. We are equipped with all the necessry tools and (self-taught) knowledge but just need an extra pair of hands. Obviously if you have yourself some knowledge to share, it's more than welcome, so that you can work independently.
Regarding the help outside the house, we would need both help with
- structural tasks, such as finishing buiding a tree house for the kids, covering the porches with wooden planks, levelling a part of the property and fencing it off, creating a parking space (concrete and tiles) with a carport, building a little house for the animals (turkeys, geese and quail birds), digging a hole and preparing the space for a pond for biodiversity, building a bigger green house. In the future we will also install an aquaponic production system. It's been in the agenda for a while now, but house first...
- gardening tasks: we are going to increase our orchard in Autumn (we would like to plant around 30 trees), we need to transplant wild plants to create edges and trees to create a wind barrier. Depending on the period, there's always work to do in the permaculture garden and next year we would also like to build an aquaponics system.
Este anfitrión ofrece intercambio de idiomas
Every day, I'm used to speak Italian (my mother tongue), French (I was born and raised in a French-speaking region, studied in France and work in the French-speaking region in Belgium as a naturopath), English (I've studied in the UK and work as a legal consultant in human rights in the EU for an American company) and Dutch (we live in the Dutch-speaking region and my kids have been going to the Dutch school. I help them doing their homework, organise workshops in their school and communicate with people when I do the grocery, at the city hall, ...). I've studied Spanish and Arabic at university (my second degree - my first one is in law), but I haven't practiced for a while now. I also worked in Tunisia for a year, long time ago...My husband speaks fluently Italian (his mother tongue), English (working for an American company) and has a good knowledge of French, Spanish and Dutch. I love languages and I'm happy to help you learning one, if you're interested to.
You will have your room and space (depending on whether the works are finished upstairs, that will be upstairs or downstairs), we would like you to integrate in the family life and share the meals with us (we're happy to try to accomodate any specific dietary requirements you might have - lactose intolerance, vegan, etc.) and participate to any activity/trip we organise
Tienen is a small town of about 35.000 inhabitants, 100.000 if you considered all the villages around that are basically part of the town (we live in one of them, and we're just 5 km from Tienen main square). Tienen is very well served by public transport. There's the high speed train from Liege to Brussels, passing by here: it takes 10 minutes to go to Leuven, 20 to Brussels and 20 to Liege. The train station is at 3 km from home and the highway Liege-Brussels is at 6 km. Paris, London and Amsterdam are very easy to reach with the high-speed train. We often go to the Netherlands to visit some friends and to Italy to see family and friends. If you're leaving with us when we're moving, you're more than welcome to join us.
Un poco más de información
Acceso a Internet
Acceso a Internet limitado
Puede alojar familias
Puede acoger a nómadas digitales
We have a very good internet connection paid by our companies but since we're leaving in the country side the wires do not support the connection we pay for and sometimes when we all work remotely it gets a bit slower. We're going back to work to the office more and more often though, so it is not a big problem
Espacio para aparcar autocaravanas
we have a lot of space where a campervan or motorhome can be placed
Podría aceptar mascotas
it depends on the pet(s) and wether it stays in the house because we have a dog ourself and chickens, so a cat will be difficult inside the house and a dog should not attack the chickens
¿Cuántos voluntarios puedes hospedar?
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
It was a great experience,
See you soon :)
It was a great experience,
See you soon :)