Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fundacion Viracocha

I recommend Virachocha to everyone looking to do permaculture farming. It's not on the woofing sites because it's too popular already and most people stay for months. Not only is it one of the best places to work but it has a great cause and is located in one of the most interesting towns in Colombia. The work is similar to WOOFING but days are from 7 to 12 with free room, lunch and all the veggies you can pick. You can work longer if you like and earn a bit of money. It is located in San Agustin, one of the largest and most important archeological sites of pre-colombian artifacts. The vision of Viricocha is simple and clear: to grow organic food to feed local children in poverty or with familial issues.
It was founded by Estephan, a German and his Colombian wife. Estephan truly has a pure heart and welcomes everyone with open arms. One thing that makes this place so successful is his attitude of respect for everyone's ideas, He allows volunteers to contribute their ideas and inspirations to the farm and sustainable building. Everyone is comfortable, everyone feels at home eveyone works hard and stays for a good time.

Below Estephan is addressing the volunteers, family and friends at Christmas, thanking everyone for thier efforts in helping him realizing his dream. He says that this foundation is only one of many dreams he has.
Christmas dinner everyone made a dish from thier country. We has dishes from from France, Argentina, Germany, the States and Ecuador.
Most rooms are nice and cozy but they were doing some remodeling and I got moved from my sunny nice room with delicious smells from the kitchen waking me in the morning into this horrible, cold damp spare room. But with a little love and help from friends we made it awesome.
There are three volunteer houses this is one of em.
The permaculture farm.
Work was hard but not too long. We spent time cleaning the teraces, planting seeds, making compost, picking coffee and constructing more of the volunteer house.
The views from the farm are ridiculous

Estephans b-day party. All above the age of 40 danced form 8 until 5 am in the morning all below 40 could not keep up.
When I was having some issues, Estephan taught me two lessons here that I won't forget.
First he asked me,
"Do you know the law of attraction"
".......mmm not sure."
"It is that we receive the same energy we put out."

"And can you tell me the first rule in travel?"
"Don't panic."

Nearby Virachocha is a nice hostel se llama, Casa del Sol Naciente. It has permaculture gardens and the owner will teach you if you commit a month. She designed all the sustainable architecture herself and is selling it to move closer to her mum. You can have it if you got 150k. The views are unbelievable.
Casa de guadua

The view in the morning from the rooms!
The town of San Agustin itself is so great, not sure where to begin. It feels very safe here, there are a few small bars for dancing and tons of history. The neighbors are so nice. I would go on walks, get lost meet hente del campo who invited us for coffee, then lunch, then to pick all the oranges and lemons, cidra we could carry back. I had a friend I met in Armenia whose family lives here. They took me in like a daughter, stuffed me with food and even gave me a christmas present. The people of Colombia are so generous and loving.

Not to mention the history here too much to write.
Eureko is a little buddy we friended in San Agustin. The plan is start him off on his travels and pass him to other travelers. Friend Eureko San Agustin on facebook and follow his travels :)

Some of the nature here.
San Agustin has the third largest waterfall in South America
I want to be back here.


Atlantida is an ecoaldea near Cajibio. About 5 hours south from Cali and one north of Popayan. They have been around for 4 years and is on of the bigger communities in Colombia. They have dry toilets, rain water catchment system, a nice huerta and composting system. They also participate in many community activites such as dances of peace, temascal, and yoga. While I was here they were preparing for trip to the moutain to fast for 4 days.

The group at Atlantida
The huerta

Lulu making an orno
Dinners are all communal and we share responsibilites for cooking.
All is vegetarian, healthy and yummy.
Making Arepas on the orno with Agata
Houses here

Gabby showing me the outdoor shower
Most nights we stayed up talking, playing games singing etc.
Agata- I miss this little guy