Archive for the ‘Volunteers Stories’ Category:

Volunteer stories – Florrie

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My name is Florrie and I am 12. I come from Devon, UK. I really enjoyed my stay here at Sunseed. I was worried that there wasn’t going to be very much for children to do here, but there were plenty of projects that we could get involved in.

My two sisters (5), (2) and I were given a special project while we were here which was to build a bug hotel.  We researched in the Sunseed library the habitats that different bugs liked and put together a general idea of what the bug hotel would include and what it would look like.

We created a bug hotel to attract more useful bugs to the gardens, keep the pests away and make them more colourful, productive and attractive.

The project was really fun and it took us all week to complete.It was good because it gave us something to do and gave us a target for our stay and it was great to see it through to completion.We only stayed for a week because we wanted to see how suitable it was for children, but it turned out it was really fun and interactive and I would recommend coming if you have children.

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Human Experiences – Dimitra

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DSC00241Hello future sunseeders,

My name is Dimitra and I’m from Athens, Greece. My experience here has been life-changing, so I wanted to write it down to remember. And then I thought what the heck… I might as well make it public, I can get credit for inspiring a couple of people…

Having visited a community in my island of origin in Greece (who themselves gave a good feedback of this place) I was expecting to go somewhere the same. So, when I arrived in a way I was disappointed. I thought I had more extreme ideas than everyone here and therefore, arrogantly believed there wasn’t much this place could teach me, other than practicalities.

But the reality of staying for six months on location proved to be very different than my initial impressions and taught me many unexpectedly new things as well as provided me with an environment to discover many surprises about myself.

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As far as my belief system is concerned, since my environmental ethics were already as strong as it gets, it was more of a personal development gain. I got initiated into the world of female empowerment through learning how we physically function by nature and recognising socially and economically constructed false images about our bodies. This had a huge impact on me. I started seeing my body with its cycle and its needs more as a gift than a burden and became less and less affected by pressures of how I should look, dress, speak and behave. When I arrived I found having to work and live by schedule, really hard and by the time I left, I had not only gotten used to it but consider it a very valuable tool that I implement in my life now even without having to.

I interacted with the most inspirational people of diverse background that its one of them opened my mind to a new view of life. The circumstances gave me time to get to know myself better by observing what does and what doesn’t make me happy and recognise, accept and face problematic patterns within myself and my relationship with others. For example for the first time in my life I realised that being around people all the time is not the ideal for me and I rather prefer a balance between this and spending time by myself reflecting. I had also the space which allowed my creativity to flourish (I am referring to learning how to knit, of course, my latest passion as most people who met me would remember hahahhaha).

Now, concerning the actual low-impact living education… I grew up in an environment where all these kind of alternative happenings seemed as far and foreign as following the plot of your favourite tv series. (Ironically I was even watching a web series about ecovillages named Living in the future.) So, it felt like I was finally at the center of all the action and could see with my own eyes what my ideas practically entail. For sure I had my struggles with the lack of comforts (certain I found unnecessary and others made me proud of getting used to) but no matter my complaints, I believe it was a living far more luxurious than what I’m used to in a capital city. Definitely the community has many defaults and is itself a learning experiment. After all it is created by people and as part it for however long you feel your very own contribution to its shape.

What I most importantly left from there with is the confirmation to myself that this way of life is what makes me happy and the confidence that it can be my reality in the near future. I’m highly motivated now not to let this remain a distant fantasy and to pursue it in similar places all over the world (and possibly Sunseed itself again someday…<3)

DSC00346Dimitra did her internship at Sunseed with the Erasmus placement grant for 6 months between October 2013 and April 2014.

Human Experiences – JeeYun

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Sunseed is primarily an educational project and investigation in how to promote a more sustainable way of life and more respectful connection to nature. But it is also a full human experience. So the question of the day is : How has Sunseed changed your relationship with people, and what did you learn about human relations ?

JeeYun’s experience, volunteer for one month in Sunseed June 2014.

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> So, tell a bit about yourself ?

“I am 38 years old, I was living in New York but I left everything to start a new page in my life and I was looking for an alternative life. For around 20 years I have been an artist and designer. I usually work with reclaimed materials especially wood and objects I’ve found .

> Why did you decide to come to Sunseed ?

I have been interested in alternative living since I was young. In the past I had some experiences but then I started a kind of business, I was making feather earrings, I was working all day long, and I was shocked about the contrast between me and my customers. I was just loosing myself with that business. I needed something new, something more simple and more relaxed.

> What do you think about this way of life, I mean to live in a community and about Sunseed’s philosophy ?

We should be living in a community ! When I was working in New York, with my feather earrings, I was alone and I realized how disconnected I was before coming here. I don’t feel anger anymore.I don’t feel any aggression against some people. I am feeling kinder and more understanding. Less judge mental.

I realized how important it is for me to work outside. I got again my artistic inspiration and my creative energy came out ! And, as well, I’m feeling healthier.

> Of your time in Sunseed, what are the experiences that you will share with your friends back home ?

It was my first community experience about the way life in a community should be ! Every aspect of my experience here has met my expectations of what an ideal community would be like

It is open to everybody. It is kind of like a new family, there is no weird religious aspects for example.

This way of life is a kind of revolution !”

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Southampton University´s Environmental Science Student Society´s Visit to Sunseed

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DSCF0094Sunseed just recently welcomed Southampton University´s Environmental Science Student Society for a full week of activities, workshops and learning at Sunseed. The society contacted us last year to inquire about a week of putting their environmental science studies and ideas into practice, as well wanting a sociable week away together. We are pleased to say that the week was a great success for both us and all the gang from Southampton.

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A full week was had. There were seminars for example on tea composting, cromotography of soil, the concept of appropriate technology and how to make clay masks. The students also got involved in the gardens, collecting cana, helping with the compost toilet renovation and the cleaning of our irrigation line.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACompost Tea Seminar 2There was also a lot of time for socialising, exploring our valley and local area. We really enjoyed having everyone from Southampton University. It was a special week and a great start to the Spring!

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If you are a member of a student society and are interested in organising a week of practical, informal learning about low environmental impact living in Spain then please do get in touch!

cHere are some images of the visit to enjoy

Emma’s story

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My Sunseed Experience

Emma Stewart from Scotland, short term volunteer from 9-23rd July 2013

I arrived to Sunseed this summer looking for a different and nurturing holiday experience. I was in the mood for learning new things and meeting new and interesting people, something to blow the cobwebs away! I have always been interested in environmental and social issues. I wanted to to experience sustainability in action and get inspired again about how to make the world a better place by people really trying to do it. But I was really also needing a holiday, and the time and space to relax and take time for myself. Luckily, for me, Sunseed satisfied all those needs and more.

My two weeks in Sunseed were incredibly special and I ended my holiday with more knowledge, laughs and great experiences than I could have wished for. The two weeks just flew by and I left feeling refreshed and ready to look at the world with different eyes all over again.

There is always something to do and learn at Sunseed, and always the space and time to be busy if you want to.Everyday is different. But, as a short term volunteer, the timetable really managed to balance my holiday needs exactly : learning and doing in the morning, relaxing in the afternoon, Perfect!

I learned so many new things and worked with some really great people. In two weeks, I tried all of the six departments and worked with all the assistants and coordinators, who do a great job in keeping Sunseed well organised and getting everyone involved. Some of the tasks I helped out with were: making bread; making jam on an alternative technology gasifier; making carob powder; cracking almonds; working with wood; making posters for a festival; collecting fruits; working in the gardens; helping cook for 40 people…it was a full experience. Seminars also take place every week which were really interesting and great for getting the brain and debate going.

Sunseed is also very international and there are plenty of opportunities to have a chat in a foreign language you might be learning. During my stay there were Spanish, French, German, Italian, English, Arabic, Dutch, Finnish and Urdu speakers, a great mix of people, languages and cultures.

If you are interested in coming to Sunseed, you have to do it! It’s a really inspiring, healthy and happy place to be. You will guaranteed lots of fun, great conversations, great people and loads of learning. It’s great for the soul and great for the planet too, the perfect holiday.

Irinas Story at Sunseed

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Por Irina, de Siberia- Rusia. Voluntaria a largo plazo desde el 1 de Abril 2013 hasta el 27 June 2013)

I came to Sunseed with no special reason. To be honest, I didn’t know where I was going to and what I was going to do there. Maybe that is why this place is so exclusive for me.

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Here everything is quite different from what I am used to have – the food, working process, people, culture, attitude to life. I have been here for 3 months, and I don’t want to come back to my previous life anymore. Here I get all I need – experience, knowledge, freedom, friends, lots of emotions, an amazing mentor… I have done things that I thought I would never do. I am glad I have.

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It is not just work, it is a contiuous process of learning. We are not bounded, we are allowed to make our own mistakes and learn from them. We are not scared of trying new things as we know that there is always a person who can help or teach you.

I am happy to work in the AT department with Paco who is one of the BEST people I have ever met in my life. I mean it. We are a real team, we are having fun reorganizing the workshop, making new shelves and benches, and playing ping-pong on the table we have built together. I enjoy working with Pako because his happiness and positive attitude to things makes my life better. Thank you, Sunseed, for Paco! Thank you, Paco, for being such a great person!

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I see Sunseed as a place where you can learn and teach, get and share, work and rest. It’s a good place for practicing English and learning Spanish. That is the best place for changing your life for the best.

Now it’s summer.The weather is wonderful, the sun is shining, birds are singing. The air is clean. A pond is 3 minutes walking from the house. What else do you need to be happy?

A Volunteer Story: Clemens

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In June 2012 I completed secondary school in Germany with the aim of studying architecture at university. Although I already knew what I want to study I decided to take off a “gap year” in order to experience different cultures and lifestyles.

I came to Sunseed almost straight after having returned from India, where I spent 4 months working in a social project and living with an Indian family.

During my first days I learnt the “basics” of the daily life here. I cooked lunch together with my lovely “mentora” Ana, I attended the different tours through the village and the area and I met great people. Whenever I needed help people didn’t hesitate to show me around.IMG_0184 (1024x768)

Soon I got more and more integrated into the community and after having been here for more than six weeks I feel very comfortable with everybody and I think I have already found great friends.

I am especially happy with my roommates: Roberto and Fosca from Italy and Irina from Russia. Together we stay in the big dorm for long-term volunteers in Gaye’s house. We started hanging out, going for hikes and soon grew very close, so now we are fondly call ourselves “La Famiglia”.

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I don’t only enjoy the people here, but also the work. Since I want to become an architect I mostly work in the Eco-Construction Department, where I learn a lot about constructing and renovating houses with natural materials. It is very pleasant to work with Johann (the ECM assistant) and Leo (the coordinator). They teach me a lot about working on the exterior and interior of houses e.g. plastering, rendering or constructing furniture. Leo always plays music from his portable speaker which converts rendering the wall into a  party or a meditation, depending on the genre of music.

Although eco-construction is my favourite field I occasionally work in other departments as well, for example in the AT department with Paco. At the moment we experiment and research on biomass-gassifiers which can be used to cook, especially in developing countries, where there is a lack of fuel. This is a very interesting project and will be featured in a separate article.

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As we are in the middle of May now, it is getting hotter and soon we are going to switch to the summer working times. This will give us some siesta during the hottest time of the day, and we will have the opportunity to jump in the natural pools of the river, right in front of our backyard.

Sunseed is all about learning. Its main aim is learning how to live ecologically, how to treat wastewater, how to grow organic food etc. But there is another level of learning. Its sharing talents and teaching each other. You can practice your English (even slang and weird London or Yorkshire accents) and your Spanish with people around. Once a week we have a seminar, where we share and discuss upon topics concerning the society. On Thursday Martin offers free guitar lessons to everybody who is interested and Mohammed from Yemen has started teaching Arabic.

Sunseed is the perfect place, if you are open to learn and experience new things.

This weekend some of us have organised a trip to Granada and quite a lot have joined in.  We can almost say that we are organising a “Sunseed on tour” as more than 10 people will be there to enjoy this pre-summer weekend in such a beautiful town. I am especially excited, since I’m turning 21 this Friday and we are going to celebrate in Granada.

To conclude, I can just say: I am happy and grateful to be here, to work, learn, experiment,  experience and share with everybody.

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