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Help Exchange

All Year: april-october
Area (ha): 7
Persons: 1 to 3
Category: Accommodation Business
Host ID: 44690
Country: France

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Last Updated: August 11, 2019

Hi there,

we are Kim and Katrin, a couple running an inspiring retreat & therapy center overlooking the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in the wonderful countryside of the historical Cathar Region, in the very South of France.

In our domain at the edge of the forest, we're hosting a small campsite, eco-lodges, mobile homes and rental cottages. We have a beautiful swimming pool and a wooden sauna next to it. Some cats and a few free-roaming chickens will to greet you regularly (no dog). In spring, horses roam on the domain (and they're never far away in summer).

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 we - 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 guests staying for several weeks, 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.

There is a lot of work to do here, but we will help you find a balance.
E.g. cleaning, to make all things shiny, can be a meditation at the same time ;-)
If you like to be in the outdoors, we have a lot of garden maintenance to do, like grass mowing with our sit-mower, watering plants, tending the chicken-run.
The pool needs it's maintenance too.
When there are no visitors, we're doing outdoor maintenance (wood painting etc).

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. During your stay you'll have plenty of good conversations, you'll make some new friends from all over the world.

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 few free life-coaching sessions if you want that.
In the quiet months, if you're the only volunteer, many people even notice a kind of 'personal reflective process' that starts naturally here after a while, and it can be beneficial to have more exchanges and even some therapeutic support about that if you want :)

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

very warm greetings!

Kim & Katrin

Currently in our paradise retreat, we are looking for helpers in different areas:

- cleaning of the accommodations of visiting guests
- communally cooking together for the group of helpers and us

- garden maintenance: (bush mowing) grass cutting (sit-mower),
removing horse manure, watering plants & fruit trees,
- outdoor maintenance (wood painting, wall painting, fences ...)
- swimming pool maintenance

For more experienced 'handywork' helpers: (september & october)
- wood construction work (decorating dry toilets),
- natural fence building
- masonry work,
- electricity repairs

~ What have we to offer to you:

Outside the high season: spring (and after summer)
- Stay in a moderately heated caravan
- Fully equipped kitchen to prepare meals in turns
- High quality 'me time'
- Quality time for yourself and / or each other if you come here together: lots of rest, in an inspiring environment
- 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, exchange and guidance about your feelings.
- or 1 weekly personal life coaching session if you ask for it
- or 1 weekly therapeutic session even if you prefer that.

During the summer:
- Stay in a sturdy Canadian sleeping tent with wooden floor,
or in a caravan if you're staying longer than a month
- Tasty and varied eating (prepared among volunteers)
- regularly enjoying the cosyness in the evening together
- Inspiring exchanges and encounters with others
- Nice opportunities for recreation in nature: swimming, sunbathing, sauna, hiking, mountaineering, horseback riding, biking, ...
- Being surrounded by the Cathar history: castles, medieval towns, legends ...

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

First of all by receiving some valuable coaching and therapy sessions allowing to re-orient yourself.

While working, you'll also 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 :
In the warm season you'll stay in a sturdy storm-resistant 'Canadian type' sleeping tent placed on a solid wooden base.
If you're staying longer, or when the season gets a bit colder, a modest caravan (with basic heating) will be provided depending on the availability.

! Please take notice before your inquiry:

* Volunteering hours expected: 25 'hands on' hours a week, excluding breaks, briefing and ranging after work (the total not exceeding 30 hours a week).
+ the daily shared 'corvée' chores of doing your own household cleaning (+ maybe cooking amongst volunteers) for minimum an hour a day.

* Minimum stay 28 days - maximum stay = 6 months. We close from mid-october till mid march
* We are looking for non-smokers and non-drinkers.
* you need to be self-motivated, seeing the tasks that need to be done yourself (participative)
* Bringing your kids or pets is not possible, sorry!

* Basic food is included.
Not included: 'comfort food': personal snacks, sweets and (soft) drinks
* For visa-free travelers, EU-citizens or holders of a Schengen visa before applying with us please
(we do not send out invitations or facilitate obtaining a visa for other nationalities unfortunately)
* The daily language in use is English – no opportunity to learn French on the domain unfortunately

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