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!
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 !
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!