Who we are
We are an international team situated in the heart of Madeira, dreaming about transforming an abandoned village into a place where people can live together in sync with Mother-Nature - far away from the busy and occupied cities of Western society. It will be a place where people can learn, practice and teach different forms of Meditation/Yoga, follow and give all kinds of nature related workshops, or where men can just enjoy being alive under the sun with our magical paradise as your inspiration.
Our project, situated in Sítio do Pomar at Madeira Island is made with and of Love, and although we are building a future, we get there by embracing every day that gets us closer to our goal. Think about waking up with the birds or listening to the natural music of the waterfalls. These are the kind of things we like to share with our friends and with other open-hearted people who want to join us in building this dream together.
To be a volunteer with us means to be here in the heart of our project, especially now at the beginning, when we are creating the way of our everyday life. We need people around us, who want to combine their own dream with that of the project “Thumbs Up For Gaia”. People who want to try a different lifestyle or who just want to challenge themselves with tasks that require a waking up of their creativity. Being a volunteer with us is then much more than just doing some work, it is a way of life!
“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.” - Erasmus
What do we offer
Sítio de Pomar is like a little Eden situated in a valley surrounded by mountains at one side and a beautiful ocean view at the other. It is truly a place to enjoy nature, whether you like to listen to the waterfalls, smell the pristine forest or just enjoy watching the ever changing palette of colour Sítio de Pomar provides. There is a levada (man-built artificial water canal) crossing the village which can also be used as a nice hiking path in both directions by which you can reach several villages within an hour walk.
We are not vegan, but we try to be vegetarian! This does not mean we don’t eat meat at all, but that we only eat (biological) meat about twice a week. If you happen to be a fully committed vegetarian of course we can handle your special diet. We sleep in shared rooms but have plenty of places for a tent in our gardens.
We eat together and spend our afternoons and evenings in each other’s company as well. Our motto: sharing is caring. This sharing can be anything spiritual, intellectual, physical, material, etc. On the other hand all types of people with different experiences, opinions, religions or spiritual backgrounds are welcome, even if they are musicians or just have a nice story to share with us.
What we need
We are open for volunteers representing a variety of backgrounds. This includes people who are open to learn and experience through already experienced people. Also volunteers which have the need for change in their lives or freshly retired people who are willing to share their (life-)knowledge to the younger generations are welcome. We believe the most important thing we need in/from a volunteer is the willingness to learn from other people, to be open minded enough to experience new things and to be able to feel that they belong to our group (as a family). We take care of each other, listen to each other, respect each other’s norms and values and help each other where needed.
Helpers are expected to be optimistic, motivated, creative, peaceful and able to work independently if needed, for a minimum of three weeks interval. We need 4 to 5 hours of help on a daily base for 5 days a week, because maintaining and housekeeping need to be done as well as gardening, building and repairing. People with extra skills (for example yoga, massage etc.) are more than welcome..
Based on the fact that we are an international team, (proper) English is a must for smooth communication. Being able to work in/with a team is also a must, since we spend a lot of time together and we like to be as effective as we can. We need healthy people around us as we live far away from the city/medical centre and sadly we cannot handle handicapped people in the mountains (at the moment!).
Our ideal is to build a retreat centre and practice Low-impact and Self- sustainable Agriculture. Request for help may include housekeeping, gardening, building, building maintenance, painting etc. But most of the time we work in separated teams and each team has his own task. For more information please look at the introduction of the teams below.
Landscape design team
Next to rebuilding the abandoned houses and ruins on the premises, one of the most important projects is to clean up the mountain and to create/design the whole garden, situated as mountain terraces, for enjoying nature and sunshine, practicing permaculture and to grow our own organic vegetables, herbs, etc.
So we are looking for a landscape designer, or someone with horticultural skills, to help to create our own Paradise in Sítio do Pomar..
Gardening team / Permaculture team
Because we practice Low-Environmental Impact and Permacultural-Experiments, we like to invite volunteers with practical experience in this topics to help us with this part of our mission.
This is in line with our dream to find a more balanced way of living, meaning to give back to Mother-Earth what we take from Her. "It is in giving that we receive" .
Stone mason team and Wood worker team
The village is located on the south slope of the mountain and still has many of the old terraces which were built in the last centuries.
Part of our plan is to restore or rebuild the walls where necessary. On the other hand, since we are planning to use wood for most of the buildings we are also looking for an experienced woodworker. The existing (stone)houses and ruins will be rebuild in the traditional way to respect the heritage of the village Sítio do Pomar and Madeira Island.
For starters we want to communicate that we see our kitchen as the Heart of our village. A place where we can share our cultural backgrounds in cooking and preparing the beautiful foods our beloved Mother-Nature gave to us! An important place to learn from each other (skills) and also a good door-opener to show interest in each other’s cultural and spiritual background and approach to food. All this while enjoying what is being prepared with Love in our multicultural-kitchen!
We prefer organic/biological and meat-free dishes. Next to that we are very open to all types of food and different ways of preparing it. The amount of people needing to be fed is constantly changing so we appreciate people who feel comfortable to cook for more people (about 10/15) if needed and feel comfortable to help other teams in the garden or with building if there are less volunteers. Being multidisciplinary is key!
We are constantly rebuilding the village, but we also have to focus on keeping our comfort zone clean and organised, so we need persons with hands-on mentality who can keep the area nice and clean, and who can work on their own. Creative ideas for making everyday life easier and more joyful are always welcome.