Mark and Ayelen
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ABOUT US: I am a 48-year old Scot and my wife, 39, is from Argentina. I am a jack-of-all-trades and have been many things in life, from soldier to TV presenter. I met my love in Ibiza where she had settled temporarily. We were both big travelers before meeting one another and still are, although there's less time for such things now we have two very young children, Gaia and Isaac.
THE PROJECT: For some years now we've been building a house in the project area, just 15kms north of Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast. Originally it was being built as a tourist business. Now it is reborn as an eco-lodge and permaculture centre.
It lies between Azrou Issa and Al Fayda, two small fishing and farming communities. Life is hard here and with less and less rain, and fewer fish in the ocean, it's getting harder. Many families have already left the land and gone to live in the town. There are almost 30 small families left, farming approx 100 hectares between them and grazing their goats, sheep and cows in the huge forest behind. The land does not produce enough and the forest is being overgrazed.
The eco-lodge will not be finished for several more years but now sits at the heart of a project we have started with the locals It's a long term mission to regenerate the farmland and the forest behind using permaculture, holistically managed grazing, aqua-ponics and any other good ideas. The aim is to build a sustainable and profitable future for them, and us, and in so doing, to learn what works and what doesn't work in such an arid landscape before taking this knowledge to other places. To this end I have also started a UK based charity, the Fertile Roots Foundation, which will support, fund (where necessary) and guide this project, and others after it, towards economic and social sustainability.
WHAT’S HAPPENING WHEN: RIGHT NOW (DECEMBER 2015 - APRIL 2016) WE ARE ONLY LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS WITH SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE IN EITHER LIME PLASTERING, PLUMBING OR FILM EDITING.
Please note that we do not take anyone under the age of 30 unless they have real experience or a specific skill that we have need of.
THE WORK: Volunteers may find themselves working with Ayelen or me, alone with other volunteers, on their own, with the locals who speak nothing but Arabic or it may be everybody together in a big permablitz.
ACCOMMODATION: Volunteers will be accommodated either in a 4m bell tent in the unfinished eco-lodge, in a bedroom or in the original farmhouse. Cooking and eating and relaxing will be in the house. It’s all very basic at the moment. Water is scarce so we wash in a bucket and the toilet is dry compost. The well water is good to drink. We are not vegetarian but different diets are not a problem. Volunteers will be expected to cook for themselves and help out with other housework.
We provide food, a mattress and a pillow. We do not provide sheets, blankets, towels or ANY work clothes (gloves, etc). It can be quite cold if the wind is from the east so bring warm clothes, strong shoes and a 2-3 season sleeping bag.
THE AREA: The beach is 800m away. Moulay Bouzergtoun, a small village and one of the best windsurfing spots in the world, is 4km away. Essaouira, the nearest town is 15kms along the beach (3 hrs walk) or an easy 15-minute walk up the hill and 30 min hitch hike along the coast road. It has a beautiful old medina and fishing port. It’s all quite touristy now but there is lots to do and see, music festivals, kite surfing, surfing and windsurfing, horse riding, etc . We buy our food at the fantastic weekend farmers’ market at Had’draa. Marrakech is 200kms away.
Persons: 2 volunteers
Area: see above
Organic Food: Not yet
Organic Principles: This is the first stage of creating an organic farm cooperative using permaculture techniques.
Everything is in that big, difficult to read paragraph above. please get in touch with any questions.
Last updated December 31, 1969, 4:00 pm