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help exchange   Host 44690
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 5
Persons: 1 to 3
Category: Accommodation Business
Host ID: 44690
Country: France

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Last Updated: June 20, 2018

Hi there,

we are a couple running L'Assalaladou, an inspiring non-profit vacation & retreat center overlooking the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in the wonderful countryside of the historical Cathar Region, in the very South of France.

L'Assaladou is a domain at the edge of the forest hosting a small campsite, eco-lodges and rental cottages. We have a beautiful swimming pool and a wooden sauna next to it. Some cats, 3 cute kittens and even a few free-roaming chickens will to greet you regularly (no dog). In summer, horses roam around the domain.

The surrounding area is great for nature lovers, it has an abundance of medicinal and edible herbs. There are many exciting walks awaiting you: through the local natural labyrinth, to the lakes, to the Cathar castles and into the Pyrenees mountains. On your way, you'll easily stumble over lively markets and beautifully flowered medieval towns all around you. It's a mysterious land of old celtic and Kathar legends speaking of hidden treasures that are waiting to be discovered.

On site, trough our non-profit association Existo Kim and Katrin provide educational & therapeutic vacations healing broken bonds within couples and families and are coaching people into making new choices for a more meaningful life. We also provide time-outs for people in difficulties.
We often have green tourists as weekend visitors, and occasionally we host an entire group for a workshop. As a herbalist Katrin creates natural cosmetics, herbal remedies, teas and non-toxic cleaning products.

During your stay you'll have plenty of good conversations, you'll make new friends from all over the world, get to know more about woodwork or you may pick up on healthy cooking skills, get to know more about healthy food and herbalism and maybe pick some herbs with Katrin.

In Summer, this place is bustling with fine people. If you get your energy from being surrounded with plenty full of people, we recommend you to come and help out during this busy and lively time. If you recover from being alone and enjoy the calmness, come enjoy the quietness during spring and after summer. We'll have more time for personal contact and Kim can give you a free life-coaching session if you want one.

There is a lot to do, but we will help you find a balance. E.g. cleaning, to make all things shiny, can be a meditation at the same time, so is cooking ;-)
If you like to be in the outdoors, we have a lot of garden maintenance to do, like bush mowing & grass mowing with our sit-mower, watering plants, tending the chicken-run. The pool needs it's maintenance too. In September, as we still have very sunny weather, we'll start doing outdoor maintenance (wood painting etc). From April onwards, a new glamping Lodge will be in the making!

Currently in our vacation paradise, we are looking for helpers in different area's:
- cleaning helpers
- communally cooking together for the group of volunteers and us
- garden maintenance: (bush mowing) grass cutting (sit-mower), removing horse manure
watering plants & fruit trees,
- swimming pool maintenance
- from half of september onwards: outdoor maintenance (wood painting, wall painting, fences ...)

For more experienced volunteers from january onwards:
- wood construction work (eco-toilets), natural fence building
- masonry work,
- electricity repairs

What have we to offer to volunteers?
during high season (june-september):
- Stay in a sturdy Canadian sleeping tent with wooden floor (or caravan, depending on availability)
- Cozy French dining, Tasty and varied healthy eating
- regularly enjoying the campfire in the evening together
- Inspiring exchanges and encounters with others
- Quality time for yourself and / or each other if you come here toghether
- Nice opportunities for recreation in nature: swimming, sunbathing, sauna, hiking, mountaineering, horseback riding, biking, ...
- Being surrounded by the Cathar history: castles, medieval towns, legends ...

Outside the high season: spring and late summer
- Stay in a moderately heated caravan, (or a room depending on personal requirements and our availabilities)
- Fully equipped kitchen to prepare meals in turns
- High quality 'me time'
- Lots of rest, in an inspiring environment
- Still many possibilities for recreation in nature: hiking, mountaineering, horseback riding, biking, sauna
- Opportunities to recharge your batteries and relax in a beautiful landscape where silence is real silence, the air pure and the sky shows so many stars :-)
- People-centered volunteer-work supervision so that you as a person get the best personal experience out of it
(Includes minimum 1 personal life coaching session if you want it)

How will you benefit as a person and what could you learn?

You'll come in touch with a different way of working together, as equals, being part of a team caring together for the wellbeing of all involved.
You'll learn to observe yourself better, learn to know what kind of work you really like and work from the heart for the benefit of the whole.
You'll learn to communicate your needs and ideally to match them with the needs of others.
You'll learn to give and receive feed-back when you're ready for it.
You'll get to know the 'French way' of how to handle things, allowing yourself to take a good rest or siësta when needed, and catching up by working really hard when multiple guests arrive.

Type of accomodation :
Normally you stay in a sturdy storm-resistant 'Canadian type' sleeping tent placed on a wooden base. If you're staying longer, and the season gets a bit colder, a caravan (basic heating) may be provided depending on the availability. In the cold months, you get a room (that you might share with one other volunteer).

! Please take notice before your inquiry:

* Minimum stay 28 days - maximum stay = 6 months. We close from mid-october till mid december
* We are looking for non-smokers and non-drinkers.
* Bringing your kids or pets is not possible, sorry!
* Volunteering hours expected: min. 36 hours a week
+ the daily shared household tasks amongst volunteers
* Basic healthy food is included, we buy locally cultivated food from the region.
Not included: 'comfort food': personal snacks, sweets and (soft) drinks
* The daily language in use is English – no opportunity to learn French on the domain unfortunately

We're looking forward to getting to know you, and to be able to show you this magnificent place!

very warm greetings!

Kim & Katrin

Existo association

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