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La Cumbre - Valle
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 21
Persons: 1 or 2
Category: Non Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 48225
Country: Colombia

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Last Updated: October 4, 2019

Hello travelers, nomads and future helpers and thanks for your interest in our profile!

Our farm is located about 1,1/2 hours outside of the city of Cali and the same distance from its international airport. We are at 1,450m above sea level on the western cordillera (mountain range) of the Andes mountains. The yearly average temperature is around 21°C which means we enjoy the climate of Medellin ("the city of eternal spring") while being close to Cali.

Our project started as a dream a little over eight years ago. The farm is inhabited by a Colombian-German couple and we mainly speak English among ourselves. We have for (4) adorable dogs and one (1) sweet cat.

The idea behind our project is a place to work in harmony with nature and the future goal is to reach a certain level of sustainable self-sufficiency. It has been a little more than 3 years since we started to plant a forest. Today there are around 8 ha planted in bamboo, trees from the region and others. With this we always ensure that the environment at the farm is nice, healthy and that we can enjoy the chant of the birds during the day. We can also see them around the house when we are sitting outside on the terrace. There are also some animals that live in the forest such us squirrels, armadillos, monkeys and a big variety of birds and butterflies of every size and color. During the nights we enjoy the solitude and silence just interrupted by the singing of the toads, cicadas, crickets and night birds.

Our main income comes from our platano plantation, income that is vary variable because we depend on the prices of the market, the weather, plagues or illnesses that might attack the plantation. Additionally we have a coffee plantation with around 2000 trees that we grow organically and whose product we use every day at the farm.

Here we have fruit trees such as: lemons, oranges, tangerines, zapotes, caimos, arbutus, guanabanas, papaya, guavas. Other fruits that we also have for our consumption are: passion fruit, strawberries, blackberries. Everything depends on the season.

When time permits, there is an organic vegetable garden where carrots, cabbages, lettuce, beets, eggplant, onions, spinach, chili, garlic, ginger, radishes, tomatoes, yuccas and arracachas can be produced. There are aromatic herbs such as rosemary, mint and others. What we produce in the garden is for self-consumption.

We have been receiving the help of volunteers for more than three (3) years and we have learned a lot from their experiences and shared unforgettable moments. Bonds of friendship have been woven that distance and time can not end. That is why we always accept a maximum of two volunteers at a time, because our interest is to meet and share during the day as a family.

You are invited to participate in our daily life. We will be happy to show you the process that a simple coffee bean has to go through to become a delicious cup of your favorite brew.

You will enjoy the song of birds in the morning and the concert of frogs in the evenings. Watch beautiful butterflies pass by and look for squirrels in the trees. Feel the gentle morning sun and taste a first cup of coffee to start your day. The sounds and beauty of nature are all around. This is a place that makes you feel rested and calm. It is a place to wind down and regain your focus.


STAYING AT CASA GIRASOL:

- Volunteers will enjoy a room for themselves, in a joint apartment to the main house. The room has a beautiful view, is well lit and has large windows, the room is very spacious and has a king size bed made in guadua/bambu. The bathroom is inside the room, it has toilet paper and shampoo. Everything is independent and very comfortable.
- Three (3) meals a day will be provided, of which the most probable thing is that the lunch and dinner are the same, with some small variation. We are not chefs and we also work during the day at the farm, so please be considerate and appreciate from the heart the food you will receive because it will be made with a lot of love.
- We have drinking water, electricity and full access to our WI-Fi which operates very reliable at a decent speed which can be used in your free time.
- Volunteers also have laundry service once a week.


WHAT DO WE EXPECT FROM VOLUNTEERS?

***From October 2018 on, we are asking for a small and fair contribution of $30.000COP per person/per day, which we will use to buy food, pay for the gas, the internet, the electricity and the deliveries to the farm. Living in the country side is different than living in the city, here we need to pay for the transportation of the supplies from La Cumbre or Yumbo when we go to make shopping, it makes everything more expensive.
- We ask future volunteers to please wash the dishes after each meal and keep the room as clean and tidy as you receive it at the time of your arrival.
- Since we live in a tropical climate and the tasks on the farm include mainly outdoor activities, it implies to sweat a lot. For that reason we appreciate that you practice good personal hygiene, like using deodorant and having a shower before going to bed.
- On weekends volunteers can go to the near villages or to travel to Cali or just to stay and relax. If volunteers decide to stay we will ask for their help cooking.


HOW CAN VOLUNTEERS HELP US?

*** From October 2018 we changed the routines in the farm, so, volunteers will help from Monday to Friday, five (5) hours in a row. In this way volunteers can have the afternoon free and have time to learn Spanish, go for a walk around the village or to the forest in our farm, or just stay in the room reading or using the WiFi.
- We are looking for help with general maintenance of house and farm and are more than happy, if you want to share some of your favorite recipes with us.
- Also if you know about web design, copy-writing, social media management or video editing then we will be more than happy to welcome you on our farm.


HOW CAN WE HELP OUR VOLUNTEERS?

- We will be delighted on teaching you the process involved in getting a great cup of coffee, volunteers will learn by doing and we can assure that after this experience volunteers will never see the cup a coffee with the same eyes, because behind a cup of coffee there are lots of procedures and work specially when it is produced for small producers as us.
- Volunteers will also learn about the platano/banana, its particularities and during the day will have the chance of eating them in the different meals.
- We also make our own organic fertilizer which we use around the farm, if volunteers are interested in learning how it is made, we can show them the process.
- In the farm we speak mainly in English, however we will be happy of helping volunteers with their Spanish to those who want to improve it or just to practice it.
- If volunteers want to learn how to dance salsa, we can also arrange with some neighbors about a couple of dancing lessons.


PLEASE KEEP IN MIND:

*** We take volunteers for two (2) weeks, mainly the first half of the month since Ines has a job in the City during the 2nd half of the month.
*** Different time of staying can be agreed previously.
- We love to live in a clean environment and for that reason we do NOT permit smoking, drugs or excessive use of alcohol on our farm.
- If you are considering to visit us, then please send us a message and specify your proposed arrival date and intended duration of your stay so we are able to give you an immediate positive response if there is space available.
- Please let us to know in advance if you have a special diet regime or if you have any kind of allergies.


THE LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST...

On the weekends the volunteers have the next choices about how to use their free time:
- Travel to Cali to get to know the city, enjoy the gastronomy, dancing salsa and go around the touristic places.
- To go to “La Cumbre-Valle” and use the transport that goes on the railway named “Brujita” to a great waterfall and its natural swimming pool of fresh water.
- To go on foot to the Tea plantation in Bitaco-Valle, the only one Tea plantation in Colombia, and enjoy of the forest and nature.
- To go to the pub that is in the village and have a chat with the locals, enjoy a couple of beers and play “sapo/toad”.
- To make a barbecue in the farm in the area we have for that.
- During the week in the free time, volunteers can also go to jog of to have a walk by themselves or with one or our dogs. Or if volunteers prefer can walk inside the farm in our forest.

In brief in our farm we are always keen on teaching the volunteers what we do here and that can be of their interest. As we say “That’s what friends are for”

If volunteers what to share with us their favorite recipes, we will be happy of trying them, just let us to know in advance about the ingredients required because we need to order them from the city.

This is an unique opportunity of living in the country side, in a small village, where everybody know everybody and where the volunteers can have a real contact with locals in an friendly, relax and healthy ambiance.


We hope to hear from you soon and wish you a safe and blissful journey.

Frank and Ines

"A stranger is a friend you have not met yet."

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