“The stars at night.”
“The chance to experiment – you get real responsibility and you can always try new things.”
“Meeting volunteers from all over the world.”
“It’s a human place – it looks after me as a whole person.”
“Swimming in the poza, obviously!”
Everyone had different answers when we asked our team of coordinators what the best thing about living and working at Sunseed is – but the one thing they all agree on is that it’s an experience like no other.
So what does a Sunseed coordinator do all day? It can’t be all stargazing and swimming, can it?
Well, no. It depends which role you’re taking on – the roles are very different depending on if you’re in the support team (Facilitation, Education and Communication), practical team (Sustainable Living, Organic Gardens, Drylands Management) or technical team (Maintenance, Ecoconstruction and Appropriate Technologies).
The support team is based in our light and airy office, with stunning views of the sierra. They might be planning activities for a school visit, designing new pages for the website, writing an article for a magazine or taking bookings for future volunteers – though if there’s a vegetable delivery to be unloaded, or guests to show around, they’re always ready to drop everything and help out. It’s important, varied work that keeps the project running smoothly, and is fantastic experience in NGO administration.
The practical team work in our many gardens, the arboretum and dryland terraces, working with volunteers to experiment with sustainable gardening techniques that work in harmony with the desert surroundings. The sustainable living coordinator works hard to ensure that we’re getting a varied, nutritious and ethical diet, as well as making the most of the natural abundance of the area – so you may find them researching herbal remedies, or recipes for natural cosmetics (like this one!)
Keeping busy in the workshops and around the project you’ll find the technical team. The maintenance coordinator looks after the project’s infrastructure, as well as the upkeep of the acequia for the whole village-the ancient water line that provides our water supply. The ecoconstruction coordinator might be helping volunteers make a cob house, while in appropriate technologies they’ll be busy maintaining our solar panels, wind turbine and other energy solutions, as well as planning future activities and researching sustainable technologies to try out.
There are some duties we all share – because an integral part of being at Sunseed is learning to live and work as part of a team. On Mondays we all clean together, then throughout the week everyone will be on the cooking and cleaning rota once or twice. Coordinators also share water collection, shopping, laundry and other tasks that involve heading out of the village – which is also a chance to take a break and have a cold drink and some tapas in one of our lovely local towns.
All coordinators spend time in the office planning their activities, writing up projects, blog posts and so on – but the lion’s share of the time is spent working and learning together with volunteers, offering activities around the project in the morning and helping them with personal projects in the afternoon. It’s busy, challenging work, but the pleasures and rewards are infinite, from sharing ideas with people from all over the world and picking up languages, to working in stunning natural surroundings and being supported by a caring team of like-minded individuals.
And yes – there’s still plenty of time for stargazing and swimming.
Does working at Sunseed sound like your cup of tea? Keep an eye on our staff vacancies page for all our latest job postings.