My learning process report from 5 months of the project by Crazy Kasita!

Can the volunteer program make your dreams come true that you don’t even know you have? Of course yes!
My name is Kasia my volunteer nickname is “Crazy Kasita”. I took part in a long-term project “8th Life” (5 months) organized by the Gaia Tasir Association on the Canary Island – La Palma, Spain. Currently known for the active volcano Cumbre Vieja, the eruption of which I observed from a yacht, while on a cruise with friends on my birthday (19.09.2021)! My project was based on Permaculture, the sustainable cultivation of the produce of the land at Magic Finca Luna, the Eco farm. An important figure for my project is Numa, our host, who introduces volunteers to zero waste secrets. Most of all, I felt warmly welcomed by Numa and his family and other volunteers. Due to very direct contact, working together, preparing meals and spending a lot of time, I got very close to the volunteers and Numa. I enjoy to staying on farm I felt like not a stranger but part of the family and society of Las Tricias. I fell in love in this simple place, in the sound of cykady in the night and chicken sound in the morning. I met amazing voulnters Leah, Christina, Maggy, Eliszka, Jan, thanks to them I get a very friendly atmosphere. These are friendships for life, although I knew one of the volunteers for a week, we established an amazing bond that still lasts. This can be called the Aura of Magical La Palma. For example, instead of sleeping in a room like a normal person, I slept on the roof for 3 months, watching the perfectly clear sky, falling stars, the milky way and the changing phases of the moon.

 

I never learned Spanish, so at the beginning it was hard for me to speak and understand the names of the plants, vegetables and fruits. However, through routine, I learned something after a long time. I took care of the chickens, feeding them and cleaning their house. I didn’t like it, but I got used to it over time. I fell in love with eco-constructions. I have a lot of experience in furniture renovation, so working with tools was not difficult. I developed my knowledge of natural ways to make lime paint, mud bricks, wooden structures and the proportions of soil mixtures for building Domo. 

Domo was already made on Finca, it’s a small building that previous volunteers made. At the beginning of my program, Leah and Christina were making thermal insulation on walls inside, by putting a cloth and screwing it. We were making a mix from clay, ground, horse shit, fine sand and water, then we were putting a thin layer of the mix on a wet cloth, making it smooth. The next step was to paint the walls with lime paint. There was more recipe for how to do it so first I made paint with milk 1:1. It was too liquid so I added more lime and painted the first layer. The effect was great so Numa said let’s try another mix of paint with flour to make it more resistant. That was a disaster, the paint was drying too quickly and started to crack everywhere, so I tried to repaint it 3 times and the last layer was lime with milk which was the best. Good experiment! 😀 Unfortunately, during painting, I got a skin allergy to a large amount of lime in the paint, which makes my hands burn red skin. The effect rewards for it!

!DOMO!

https://youtu.be/HvlXyPpPgos

I was learning how to take care of the plants and pruning trees, how to make compost and about different types of compost. I was watering the gardens, repairing holes in the tubes, collecting pears and almonds and figs, making confiture from figs, oranges, making a kompot from pears juice, hunting for eggs, fixing two bikes, cleaning water tank from plants and mud. In workshops, with Sole, I’ve learned how to make natural soap and wicker baskets. I did the cleaning, painting and redesign interior in Ambra room. I encountered the concept of permaculture for the first time and I found this topic so interesting and up-to-date that it influenced my ecological awareness. Trips to other farms and supporting the local community of farmers was also interesting. I enjoy helping with the eco-construction in Finca Tortuga the house of Iris. I learned there how to make walls with wood bricks, stones, clay and mud.  My personal objectives were: to create an artistic draw map of Finca (never happens) XD. There were four dogs in Finca Luna who accompanied me all the time, unfortunately, two of them passed away and I painted a mural for the host family to honor CHAVITO y LEO. 

! MURAL CHAVITO Y LEO !

https://youtu.be/jf6qQUySE2w

During the weekends and in my spare time, I hitchhiked a lot around the island. I visited every known and unknown corner, every cave, every waterfalls (under which I found love) and volcanoes. I paddled around the west coast in a cayak. I develop my photography skills during my travels, specially in nightshots. 

The magic of these journeys was spiced by the local people or residents of the islands they met along the way. I became very close to the community in the northern part of the island, but not only! I was invited to record a song together by a local artist, a musician I met on the beach during a jam session. I made a music video for the song “Libre Prisionero” from the night timelapses. I have had many crazy adventures and situations that changed my life. The ESC volunteering project lived up to my expectations because I expected the unexpected and made a positive change in the host organization!

“Libre Prisionero” – Xente

https://youtu.be/D0VO4Gf9wvM

Jan’s last two months on finca Luna

 

I am so glad that I could spend time at finca Luna. Numa has introduced me to the concept of Permaculture and his plans for the future growth. I learned and get so much from the man who really loves his interest in this concept. I think that there is no better way how to gain the permaculture knowledge than to work with people who are already applying the principles in reality. But it wasn’t only me who learned something new. All of us learned and shared so many things between each other there. I was very pleased to help Numa because I believe he is doing very right thing. 

What we have achieved?

Working on the farm was very fun and friendly going. I stayed there for almost five amazing months. We did a lot of work during the last two months of my stay. We finished collecting almonds and we sowed potatoes and onions in Vesta garden and alfa alfa in Abora garden. We repaired the irrigation tubes and cleaned Flora garden and sowed carrots and beans there. Besides we were rebuilding a lot. We repaired the roof of Vivero and finished the Domo ground which we made out of clay. We wait around two weeks till it got dry. It has shown some big cracks so I filled it with the same mix. The ground looks very nice for such a simple mixture of clay which we gathered by ourself and sand. We built a windbreak out of cardboard in the chicken house and a fence to deny chickens access to the gardens. There was one chicken called Abraham who knew how to get outside of the fence. It was very bothering for us but on the other hand he shown us some weaknesses of our construction. We couldn’t let them outside to destroy our gardens again hence we had to improve the fence. The next big task was Ambra. Ambra is a small house with square shabby walls and flat roof. We put a new layer of concrete on the roof and covered the walls with lime. Some small repairs were done in library as well. There I sealed some holes against the rats and one hole in the roof where the water was leaking when it was raining. The last thing was a terrace where we strengthened the slope using old tires and built nice stone floor.

 

Esta semana en la finca: Jan

Sexta semana 20. 9. 2021 – 24. 9. 2021

Unos minutos después de la explosión de actividad volcánica.
Una mirada de cerca
Recolectar almendras

Qué hicimos?

Esta semana es especial porque comenzó una erupción en el cumpleaños de Kasia el 19 de septiembre. Tuvimos una reunión online con otros voluntarios de españa hasta el jueves. Mientras tanto en las pausas recogimos algunas almendras. El viernes tuvimos que reducir la población de pollos, así que maté con Numa 11 gallos.

Qué disfruté?

Disfruté de las erupciones. Una vez llegué a un dos kilometros cerca del centro del volcán.

Qué ha ido bien? Qué mejoré?

Desarrollé una herramienta especial que nos permitió bloquear el cuello del gallo. El cuello estaba muy bien sostenido pero todavía se necesitaba una persona para sostener el cuerpo del gallo. Esto puede ser peligroso para el asistente. El asistente se puede sustituir por un simple cinturón.

 

 

 

Qué fue difícil?

Lo difícil fue pasar los cuatro días frente a la computadora.

 

Qué aprendí? Qué haría diferente la próxima vez?

Tenía miedo de no poder matar a los gallos, pero exploré que en realidad soy competente para hacerlo. Me sorprendió lo suave que era.

 

Qué quiero mejorar?

Me gustaría mover el proceso de matanza para el invierno porque en invierno hay menos insectos.

 

Gratitude time

Quiero dar las gracias a Numa por enseñarme a destripar los gallos.

Short term European Solidarity Corps project on Finca Luna

August to September 2021 by Eliška

Who am I?

Hello, my name is Eliška and I came from the Czech Republic. Environmental sustainability is the overall goal of all my actions. I focus on projects addressing the causes of the climate and environmental crisis. During several years of studies and slow travel lifestyle, I have gained quite some knowledge and experience from the area of sustainability and the environment. I raise environmental, intercultural and social awareness and share information on a responsible approach to the environment. I disseminate information on and propose conceptual approaches in this area. Lectures on ecovillages, utilising non-formal education and volunteering are some of the tools I use.

Why did I came?

I decided to come to La Palma and join the Asociación Gaia Tasiri of the 8th Life Ecovillage La Palma project because it felt like the right opportunity to continue the shaping of my personality and professional skills. It is inspiring me and guiding me to make better choices and apply my skills where needed. Because my goal is to deploy my skills in such a way that I have the best possible impact in reshaping the relationship humans have with their natural habitat.

What I did during those 2 months?

  • I got to know the garden, the place, all the amazing plants and animals and humans and “how it goes aroundhere”. I started to feel at ease here.

  • Picking, collecting fruit, veggies (almonds, figs, tomatoes, plums, melon, peppers) and herbs (parsley, onion, mint). We took care about the garden – watering, pruning, fruit (pears, almonds, veggies) picking and processing (drying or freezing) fruits. Collecting dead or sick parts of plants (cactuses, tree branches). And many other small jobs around the garden. Also replanting and repairing the watering system took lots of time.
    • We did some planning and design and learning and preparation. Watering of the gardens become regular activity, understanding the difference between gardens and the “forestry” parts went well. Got the feeling the droplets watering is very low in some parts especially for growing vegetables. Chicken were trying to steal and eat a lot of the vegetable plants (their leaves). I replanted a squash and took care about the small plantation of Pak choi and Yukas. It is important to protect all the (small and green) plants from chicken now and maybe also the rats.
    • Almond campaign: collection by hitting the branches with a long light stick and using the huge nets. It helps greatly to collect big amounth.
  • We did some repairs of during gallofa: With logs of wood in width – they were covered with gasoline and linseed oil. And we glued them with a mix of: 2x bucket of soil, 2x bucket of clay, 1x bucket of sand and 1x bucket of straw. Supply straw as needed. Everything was trampled with water on a large plastic sheet by many foots while singing and having fun. This mixture was also used to form natural bricks – in a 3-brick form, which was always soaked with water, sprinkled with dark fine sand and filled with the mixture. And it was allowed to dry for 3 days in the shade in the outside air.
  • I gave a Sociocracy workshop and an Ecovillage presentation.

  • I started to think of the mapping project which can be a huge but very important and great part of my work here. I tested two different programmes but with big difficultes. Later I found that would be too great tack to manage within such a short time and lack of information / tools. So I started to work on a mapping project of Fortuna – with great help of Jan to messure all the spaces there.
  • We made Home-made soap: the cleaning one and the one for hands with many infusions and essencial oils.

  • During Gallofa at Dacil we cleaned half of the sheep house and moved it on a potato field and to the avocado orchard.

  • Basement cleaning, beehives moving, trash removing, hey collecting, hiding stuff against rain.

  • Hay collection on various terraces close to the baranco and bringing it into the shed in huge nets.

  • Common meals and a birthday party. Vulcano news and progress following and shooting.

 

What I wanted to improve at?

  • Accept the others and others ways more. To thrust the others to accept me as I am as well.

  • Permaculture knowledge, history and the story of the Finca Luna and the 8th Ecovillage.
  • History and the story of the Finca Luna and the 8th Ecovillage.

  • To experiment more with the home made soap and comsmetics in general.

  • I would ask more about the project we were visiting during the gallofa (supporting other projects). We did get many information on the work itself, but sometimes not regarding the people or the place and project itself. And I feel sorry now not to know anything about the place and who lives there, what are the topics, focuses and story of project, etc.

What I learned?

  • Understand the watering system and how to repare it. That to grow food is not that easy here. The water is indeed crucial here and now. For any plantation and production.
  • Detailed Permaculture principles. To be able to see them more in every aspect of the life.

  • The “close to natural” paint can look and work really well.

  • Amazing information connceted to community or local currencies. Heloisa is an amazing source of information. About her planned or ongoing projects. I gained a lot of inspiration from her.

  • We learned how to make the home made cleaning soap and hand soap – and also how to reuse the used kitchen oil which I liked a lot!

 

What went well?

  • We are very good in the communication and openness. And that we do not push ourselves or each other.

  • To get oriented in the edible forests and gardens and understand the watering system.

  • I did improve in taking care of myself, observing myself, hitch-hiking, wild-sleeping, Spanish.

  • Gardening showed good results, so we could be using some fruits and plants in our cooking and snacks (for example: lemonade out of our lemon and orange, mint tea, fig marmalade, spinach for lunch, etc.).
  • I did improve in taking care of myself, planning (my own free time) according to my needs.

  • Eco construction with a very effective and nice collective people.

  • Cooked great Czech meal for a community lunch.

What did I enjoy?

  • I really enjoy and appreciate the open and sincere communication.
  • I enjoy the knowledge sharing and planning and designing.

  • I enjoy the plants around me and all the beautiful nature. I enjoy taking care of plants and learning how they are able to grow here.

  • I enjoy to discover other people ways of thinking/working/living.

  • I enjoy to share my knowledge when it is wanted.

  • I enjoy taking care of plants and learning how they are able to grow here.

  • I enjoyed the board evening and the sharing circles a lot.

  • Taking photos and documenting.

  • I enjoy the boardgames

  • I enjoy to share my knowledge about the Czech ecovillage’s meeting and about the Universal Basic Income.

  • I enjoy to cook out of stuff which I did not buy or planned to have so it is a great challenge.

  • I enjoy that the cats are now here with us a lot.

  • Eco-construcion as it was a very new and potentially very useful knowledge.

  • I really enjoyed the rainbow and little bit of rain in September.

 

Gratitude time

  • I would like to thank to myself for allowing myself this experience.

  • To Numa for working on it so hard, to Kasia and Jan for being.

  • I would like to thank to the EU for this program.

  • I would like to thank for the spectacular nature, weather, stars, food and health.

  • I am so happy and grateful that vegan kitchen was easily possible and accepted well during the project.

  • And for the open and sincere communication of the whole experience.

Esta semana en la finca: Jan

Quinta semana 13. 9. 2021 – 17. 9. 2021.

Colección de heno
Colección de heno
Gallofa con Dacil

Qué hicimos?

El lunes y martes recogimos heno juntos. El miércoles fuimos a ayudar a Dacil a recolectar estiércol de oveja y por la tarde tuvimos un taller sobre cómo hacer jabón ecológico. El jueves empezó a llover así que guardé todas las herramientas debajo del refugio. Limpiamos la cueva debajo de la casa y almacenamos las colmenas allí. Por la tarde recogimos almendras. El viernes empezamos a recolectar almendras. 

Qué disfruté?

Disfruté gallofa con Dacil. Vimos su bonita finca con verduras bien cultivadas y por la noche nos invito a su restaurante.

Qué ha ido bien? Qué mejoré?

Podríamos mejorar la forma de recoger el heno. Es un poco difícil acceder al refugio de almacenamiento con una carretilla. La recolección de heno con carretilla podría acelerar el proceso.

 

 

 

Qué fue difícil?

Almacenando las colmenas. El sótano es muy bajo al principio, así que tuve que doblarme. Allí es necesario excavar la tierra para tener más espacio para acceder a la bodega.

 

 

 

Esta semana en la finca: Jan

Cuarta semana 6. 9. 2021 – 10. 9. 2021.

Escaleras hechas con llantas viejas.
El miércoles en la finca de Iris. La foto fue tomada por Kasia.

Qué hicimos?

Esta semana me eligieron para cuidar los árboles. Cada mañana los podaba y regaba. El lunes fuimos a comprar comida con Numa. Después limpié el piso sucio en Ambra. Por la tarde tuvimos un taller impartido por Eliška sobre sociocracia. El martes di la vuelta al compost y terminé de construir las escaleras junto al gallinero. El miércoles trabajamos en la finca de Iris. Nosotros estábamos construyendo una casa con el carpintero Olivier. Olivier nos enseñó a hacer ladrillos con arcilla, paja, tierra y arena. El jueves finalmente reparé la última ventana del Domo y limpié el árbol muerto. El viernes Ayudé a Eliška a medir la huerta de Fortuna. 

Qué disfruté?

Disfruté el tiempo con Olivier. Me enseñó mucho sobre la construcción con arcilla y nos divertimos mucho. 

Qué ha ido bien? Qué mejoré?

La mezcla de arcilla fue muy lenta. Lo mezclamos pisando la mezcla sobre un suelo plano. Mejoraría este método poniendo la mezcla en un agujero para que la mezcla no se salga del centro.

 

 

 

 

 

My learning process report: Crazy Kasia

What did I do this week?

My responsibilities were: Clean the chicken house, feed them, give a water.

Our team objectives were: Finish cleaning Ambra and interrior design.

My personal objectives were: Finish reparing two wooden windows and door from Domo with Jan.

I’ve worked on the following tasks and activities: I repainted the windows and the door. I made a new handle for the door. I cleaned Ambra and I was working on interior design.

 

 

What did I enjoy?

This week I enjoyed and have a lot of fun to go for gallofa to Finca Tortuga. I liked to build a Iris house with group of nice people there. I enjoyed working with wood in workshop.

 

What has been challenging?

Learning Pramculture principales. Find a maching scrues to the drill. Celaning the glass in windows from paint. 

 

 

What did I learn? What would I do different next time?

I’ve learned how to make a mud bricks, how to make a wall with wood, clay and stons. 

 

What do I want to improve next?

Make a floor in Domo from the ground.

 

Gratitude time

I’d like to thank Eliszka for a great meals, and Jan for helping with Domo:)

Esta semana en la finca: Jan

 

La pintura de Ambra
La construcción de escaleras
Compostaje activo

Qué hicimos?

La tercera semana 30. 8. 2021 – 3. 9. 2021

El primer día de la semana preparamos la pintura a base de harina, agua y cal. Usamos la pintura para pintar Ambra. El martes estaba restaurando la última ventana de domo y algunas herramientas. Empecé a pintar Ambra con Eliška. El miércoles reparo una pala y terminé con la pintura de Ambra. El jueves fui a comprar leche para la pintura en Domo y reparo la pico y dos martillos. El viernes después de dar de comer a las gallinas empiezo a reparar escaleras improvisadas. 

Qué disfruté?

Encontré muchos palos de madera elegibles, así que realmente disfruté la reparación de herramientas. 

Qué ha ido bien? Qué mejoré?

Pintar la primera capa en Ambra fuel difícil, pero las siguientes fueron bien. Tal vez deberíamos intentar usar herramientas diferentes.

 

 

Qué fue difícil?

Pintar la primera capa en Ambra. 

 

Qué aprendí? Qué haría diferente la próxima vez?

Usamos la misma pintura que usamos en Ambra para Domo pero no funcionó. Después de que la pintura se secó, comenzó a desprenderse. Para la pintura nueva mezclamos cal, agua y desnatada leche. También aprendí a usar neumáticos viejos para construir escaleras.

 

Qué quiero mejorar?

Quiero mejorar mi planificación del día para trabajar de manera más eficiente.

 

Esta semana en la finca: Jan

La finca de Susane
El sierra circular
La cueva
El compost
El gallinero

Qué hicimos?

Segunda semana 20. 8. 2021 – 27. 8. 2021

El viernes 20 de agosto limpié el gallinero, reparé la sierra circular y la bicicleta con Kasia. Recogí las frutas con Eliška y Numa en la finca de los vecinos. El lunes todos ayudamos a Susan en su finca. Nosotros preparamos un nuevo bancal y plantamos remolachas. El martes limpié el gallinero y organicé un taller sobre reparación de herramientas. El miércoles limpié el gallinero y comencé con el compostaje activo. El jueves procedí con el compostaje activo y limpié la cueva. El viernes estaba reparando una ventana del domo.

Qué disfruté?

Disfruté improvisando durante las reparaciones de las herramientas. Para los mangos de las herramientas tuvimos que buscar ramas. También disfruté del compostaje activo porque fue rápido y fácil. 

Qué ha ido bien? Qué mejoré?

La reparación de la herramienta fue inesperadamente bien. Nosotros tuvimos que improvisar mucho.

 

 

Qué fue difícil?

Hable español.

 

Qué aprendí? Qué haría diferente la próxima vez?

Aprendí mucho sobre el compostaje activo y realmente lo disfruté.

 

Qué quiero mejorar?

Mi español.

Gratitude time

Quiero dar las gracias a Numa por conocer a Susane. Es una persona muy agradable y está muy emocionada con lo que está haciendo.