El Sargento, B.C.S.
All Year: Nov. thru Apr. each year
Persons: 1 or M/F couple
Host ID: 24442
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Last Updated: October 9, 2019
Work & Play this Winter in Sunny Baja, Mexico !!
It is important that you read this entire profile!!
This volunteer opportunity is usually only available during the "winter" months of November through March. For 2019-2020 we are currently booked, sorry.
Rich and Shari are retired, living in Idaho, USA, but spending the winter months in beautiful Baja Mexico. We have a beachside property near the small - but rapidly growing - fishing village of El Sargento, not too far from La Paz, BCS.
We are non-smokers, interested in health conscious, ecologically responsible lifestyles, respecting different cultures and ideas. Shari is very interested in music, being a semi-retired piano and voice teacher. Rich is a competent builder and handyman desiring assistance with building our home and making improvements to our property here in Baja.
Volunteers of all ages and either sex are welcome to apply, but volunteers must be fit and reasonably strong as some of the work may involve lifting and moving moderately weighted objects. Building skills, and familiarity with tools are not necessary, but would be beneficial. The ability to work safely, listen carefully, pay attention to details, remember instructions, ask pertinent questions, and learn simple skills is important.
Work tasks might include helping to: build short stone retaining walls, move and level soil, pour and finish concrete, paint, lift and position building components, clean and sand surfaces, and woodworking. Skills that can be learned or practiced include: stone masonry, concrete forming/ placement/ finishing, plastering & stucco, painting, sheetrock installation & finishing, simple electrical/plumbing, cabinet/furniture making, and fabric (PVC) assembly. If you have automobile maintenance/repair skills or welding experience, we could use that also.
We may also need help with cooking/food preparation especially if you are well educated in nutrition and experienced in preparing Nutritarian or "near vegan" meals - and maintaining or improving our small vegetable garden.
General maintenance may include grounds cleanup, pruning select vegetation, some manual watering, fertilizing and possible transplantation or removal of plants. Also rust removal, re-painting, and fence repair.
We allow some work hour flexibility to accommodate special interests, events, occasional long "weekends", etc. We ask that you plan for about 25-30 hours of work per week.
A small private trailer with a “double” bed for one person or a partnered couple is available. The trailer is not used by the hosts and has a table, sink, stove and closet.
Bedding is provided. A small private enclosure with a flushing toilet is nearby for our volunteers. A shower (not in the trailer) is shared by volunteers and with the hosts.
Even though our current (temporary) living space (including our common volunteer area) is quite basic, Shari keeps it pretty clean and tidy and we expect volunteers to keep their private living spaces and the common ones they share with us, reasonably clean and tidy also.
You can bring your own RV or tent if you prefer.
Under most circumstances we ask for a minimum stay of 4 weeks if you are desiring accommodations provided by us (if you bring your own tent or RV - we allow for a minimum stay of 2 weeks). Shorter stays generally do not allow sufficient time to adapt to and successfully integrate into our working and living environment. However, if you have specialized skills that we desire, we may allow for a brief stay under special arrangements.
We allow pets only if they are well behaved, will not cause ANY problems, and are capable of being confined if we request this (you must provide the means of confinement).
The hosts will provide food (more on this later), internet access, electricity, water and laundry services. You can also have periodic use of some of our recreational equipment. We can provide limited transportation (via automobile) to La Paz, shopping and other nearby areas.
A little about our diet. Rich is a "Nutritarian" (mostly vegan) and Shari is a "flexitarian" (eats a small amount of animal products). We center our diets around whole food fruits, vegetables, beans and seeds, also eating some grains and provide bread (usually homemade) and pasta if desired. We do not drink coffee or soda, and Rich rarely drinks alcoholic beverages (Shari never), hence we do not provide these for volunteers. We normally have fresh fish about once a week, and occasionally dishes with cheese or eggs. We do provide additional dairy and eggs for volunteers if they desire to consume these more frequently than we do. If you love "junk food" (chips, candy, processed food, etc.) or prefer daily meat or large amounts of animal protein you may be disappointed here. We ask all workers prepare their own breakfasts. If you require a "hot" breakfast you will need to do so on the stove in the trailer as early mornings are "down times" for the main kitchen. Normally during workdays, Shari (or a volunteer) will prepare group lunches and we all will take turns preparing group dinners. During off days things are more flexible and volunteers can join in group meals or prepare their own (with arrangements and communication). Proper cleanup is expected after food preparation to avoid pest invasion. Dish washing for common meals is a shared function.
It is just over 1 km to the village of El Sargento, with another 5 km to the village of La Ventana. The area is a popular destination for water sports aficionados - mainly kite boarding and windsurfing - but also kayaking, SUP, sailing, scuba, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, whale/dolphin/sea-life watching and more. There is also excellent mountain biking, hiking and beach walking opportunities. The community has a decent artistic and musical population. We participate musically by attending and sometimes performing at one of two evening weekly "open mic" sessions. You can find Yoga (and other misc. classes), frequent music venues, and lots of small family run eateries. There are local groups that play Pickleball, go hiking, mountain biking and more. There are plenty of Spanish speaking locals and quite a number of English/French/German/(more) speaking "snowbirds" winter in the area if you want to chat in different languages.
Nearby La Paz is a busy city with just about everything. There is limited bus transport to La Paz and frequent buses from La Paz to other major towns and cities. Hitchhiking is fairly easy here in the peninsula (according to prior volunteers).
We have a wide,uncrowded, sandy beach just in front of our 3 acre property and a fantastic view of the sea and Isla Cerralvo. Sea turtles often lay their eggs here, so you might get the opportunity to see them hatch if lucky. You can occasionally see jumping rays, porpoises, plenty of sea birds, underwater marine life and even whales out in the ocean off our beach. Our neighborhood is normally quiet, with mostly native flora being home to small wildlife (birds, quail, rabbits, etc.).
Normal temperatures in winter are ideal, with lots of sunshine, warm days, cool evenings (great for sleeping). Humidity is fairly low for such close proximity to the ocean. It can be quite windy at times (almost every afternoon). Not very many pesty insects - and most reptiles are hibernating or keeping a low profile. Sunrises are often dramatic - aglow in reds and oranges - especially when weather brings in more cloud cover. We have plenty of transitory birds (including hummingbirds) visiting this time of year.
We prefer volunteers with feedback. In lieu of that, we may ask for personal references. Our feedback has been entirely positive and we can direct you to other references should you desire these.
We always leave feedback for volunteers staying with us. So far we have had wonderful experiences with all volunteers. You can expect an honest review from us if you stay here, and we also expect you to provide us with your feedback within 6 weeks of departure.
If you have a fully completed and informative profile with photos, and you submit a personalized request (instead of a standard cut-and-paste one), you stand a much better chance of being accepted.
Here's an important part, so pay attention. We believe in respectful behavior and communication between hosts and volunteers. Unfortunately we have encountered many examples to the contrary, so we feel compelled to establish the following condition. If you initiate a request to spend time with us and at some later time change your mind, we expect to be notified - or - if we are having an "email dialogue" with you, we expect a response - both within a reasonable time frame. If you fail to extend this common courtesy we may leave a non-positive feedback for you regarding this behavior.
Make sure you include the words "cardon cactus" in your response. That way we are almost certain you have read this entire profile and have carefully considered the information therein. Otherwise you may be refused.
Congratulations you made it through this lengthy profile and we look forward to receiving your request. Cheers!