Have you ever dreamed of living in a community of like-minded people, working in a beautiful garden, learning new things every day, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and trying to become as self-sufficient as possible? Do you feel like going back to the roots, to a more simple lifestyle, in cohesion with Nature? Join us as a volunteer and experience all of this!
We are a young project (started in early 2018) that aims to create a place where people can reconnect with themselves, others and Nature, far from the craziness of the city. Our main focuses to develop it are:
1. Cashew nuts – Our farm is based on a cashew orchard and that’s a product we want to value.
2. Mushrooms – We have experience cultivating Oyster mushrooms and are interested in expanding to other varieties like Shiitake.
3. Community – Volunteers coming from all over the world and Khmer people, living as one big family.
4. Sustainability – We do our best to live in a sustainable way, respecting nature and reusing available resources.
The owners and creators of this place – Denis and Singyi, a belgian-khmer couple – went back to Belgium for several months to support the project financially. Therefore it is now Sinya (the sister) who is in charge of the place, with the help of her parents who also live on the land. But the ones who truly make this place alive are YOU – the volunteers! Ever since we started to host people the dynamic of the project has changed a lot, and we love to see the wonderful things we can achieve when people from all over the world come together. We like the idea that everybody can make the project its own somehow, so we care a lot about feedback and ideas from volunteers.
We grow organic vegetables, mushrooms and fruits but we aren’t self-sufficient in food yet, so we want to develop our gardening skills to get there as soon as possible – we are however 100% self-sufficient in electricity (solar panels) and water (from the rain). During the first year of the project, we have built three earth houses, a cob oven and a solar dehydrator. We also have composting toilets and an ecobrick station to reduce our waste. As for leisure time, we have a natural swimming pool, a fire pit, games (pétanque, table tennis, foosball…), bikes, books and hammocks to nap in. Finally, we have a small shop at the entrance of the farm in which you will find the bare necessities as well as snacks and drinks.
Please read carefully our full description so we are clear about how we will evolve together.
What to expect
By staying with us, volunteers may experience the following activities:
– gardening work (watering, planting, preparing compost, improving the quality of the soil),
– natural building techniques (when we are building new bungalows),
– collecting cashew nuts (from February to May),
– teaching English to children of the village (one volunteer, for about 45min every afternoon),
– recycling (plastic trash into ecobricks, old clothes into sponges, etc.),
– animal care (we have 4 dogs, 4 cats and a dozen chickens),
– cooking activities (meals are prepared by volunteers),
– artistic activities (mostly during their free time unless it is for a special project)
Please consider that in volunteering with us you will be joining a community, which means that the ‘work’ won’t end on the field. Taking care of the household, the tools and the animals, respecting the timetable and helping each other all day long are essential for all of us to enjoy our time here and live happily together. Furthermore, we expect every one to consume as mindfully as possible – whether it’s food, water or any kind of supplies. If you’re not willing to actively participate in this, it’s ok, there are plenty of other projects you can join. We want to make sure that we gather people who have the same mindset and ecological values.
We believe in the permaculture ethics – Earth care, People care, Fair share – and are progressively implementing the permaculture principles in our farm. We are also very influenced by the Buddhist philosophy and interested in developing a meditation / yoga practice in our project – if you have experience in either of these and are willing to guide the group during your stay, you are more than welcome to do so!
We expect volunteers to help 5 hours per day, 5 days a week. Sunday is off for everybody, then on Saturday afternoon and Monday morning you can either go out to explore the local area further or stay in the farm and participate in some extra activities.
SHORT TERM – We ask for a minimum stay of 2 weeks, that can be extended longer after discussion depending on how you feel with us and how we feel with you. Please be honest with yourself about how much time you can commit, or consider applying another time.
LONG TERM – We are also looking for people with solid experience in the following areas to help us on the mid/long term: gardening, mushrooms growing, project management / organization, natural building, beekeeping or English teaching. Minimum commitment of 2 months, extra advantages (visa extension fee offered, private room, team-leader position, …) – if you are interested and have any question, feel free to ask!
Accommodation / Daily life
Volunteers will sleep in a dormitory, inside our home (see the big house in the picture). We provide bed sheets, blankets, pillow cases and mosquito nets for everybody. Please consider that the mattresses we have are thin (Asian standard), so if you absolutely need a comfy and fluffy bed to sleep you might want to look for another place. Fans are available during daytime only as we turn off the electricity at night, from 9pm to 7am approximately.
Here’s an idea of the daily schedule:
– 6am to 6:30am: wake-up, prepare breakfast
– 6:30am: breakfast (coffee/tea, peanuts, fruits from our farm)
– 7am to 7:20am: water the garden
– 7:20am to 10am: work activities
– 10:30am to 12pm: prepare lunch
– 12pm: lunch
– 3:30pm to 5:30pm: work activities
– 7pm: dinner
– 8pm: daily meeting
We also organize the following weekly activities:
– Monday: collaborative meeting, tour of the farm for the new volunteers
– Tuesday: Khmer cooking
– Thursday: tofu making
– Friday: feedback session, sharing circle around the fire
To make your stay more enjoyable, here are a few things that we suggest you to bring:
– natural mosquito repellent, soap, laundry power and eco-friendly toiletries
– clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, stained or holed
– musical instruments
– card or board games
– external battery
– headlight / lamp
In exchange of the daily work, we offer free accommodation and 3 meals / day – mainly vegan. If you have any food restriction or allergy, please let us know so we can find an arrangement.
We don’t have Wi-Fi on the farm (a great opportunity for you to do a digital detox!) but we can occasionally share our hot-spot if you need it.
IMPORTANT – We want our farm to be a place where people can distance themselves from any kind of addiction and get a healthier lifestyle – showing our kids a better example at the same time – therefore smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs are not allowed here.
Cultural / learning experience
Volunteers will live and work with a Khmer woman (Sinya) and a group of volunteers from all around the world (can be up to ~10). They might also interact with her parents, daughter and nephew – even though they don’t speak English – as well as kids from the village during the English classes. We hosted a few Cambodian volunteers and want to have more in the future to develop the interaction between locals and foreigners. We still do our best to share the Khmer culture and encourage volunteers to explore the area in their free time to get a feel of the local life.
Other than that, volunteers will have the opportunity to learn about gardening / permaculture, mushrooms cultivating, building, cooking (making tofu, Khmer recipes) and many other things depending on other people present at the same time – volunteers don’t only learn from us but also from each other.
We don’t ask any money from our volunteers because we want all kinds of travelers to be able to joins us. But since our project doesn’t have any source of income yet, we decided to put a donation box so that people who want to help us further have an opportunity to do so. The money will be used to buy tools or supplies that we need for the different activities.
We welcome new volunteers every Monday and ask our usual tuk-tuk driver to pick everybody at the durian roundabout in Kampot at 2pm – the price for the ride is 13 dollars, shared between the number of volunteers coming that day. If you travel by your own means, we will send you the exact location on Google Maps.
On the day off, we can arrange a tuk-tuk for the volunteers who want to go to Kampot, Kep, or the local sight seeings (more information below). We also have an automatic motorbike (only for people with driving experience) and 2 bicycles available for rent.
Here are the main sight seeings in our area:
– a small village – 3km away
– the not-so-secret Secret Lake – 9km away
– a temple cave – 12km away
– pepper farms – 13km and 15km away