Volunteer Review – Emma Augustin

**English below**

Como é ser voluntária na Ananda Valley?

Pensei sobre esta questão durante alguns dias e sinto que é quase impossível responder a esta pergunta de uma forma satisfatória. Claro que agora eu poderia dizer quem sou (Emma, 25 anos, da Alemanha), como encontrei este lugar ( Workaway), como cheguei aqui (à boleia) e fazer uma lista das coisas que tenho estado a fazer aqui (cobertura de solo, mondadura, cobertura de solo, mondadura – isto é que é agricultura orgânica!), mas não creio que isto faça justiça ao tempo que tenho passado aqui e à experiência que estou a ter aqui.

Por onde começar? Talvez com o facto de que o meu plano inicial era ficar apenas um mês – ou menos – e agora já passaram 3 meses e não faço ideia para onde foi o tempo. Talvez com o o facto de me levantar todas as manhãs às 6:30 para cantar mantra (kiirtan) e meditar, apesar de estar

ainda completamente convencida de que a espiritualidade não é a minha cena. Talvez com o conflito interior que tenho, entre querer ficar para sempre e a necessidade de fugir o mais depressa possível. Talvez com a minha enorme gratidão e respeito pelas pessoas que gerem este lugar. Talvez com o meu cepticismo em relação a uma prática espiritual que se baseia nas palavras de um mestre espiritual (Guru) da Índia que morreu há 30 anos. Talvez com a alegria e felicidade que sinto todos os dias enquanto observo pequenas interacções humanas e reparo que todos estão a fazer o seu melhor.Talvez com a sensação geral de não estar livre porque não consigo comer, o que quero (dieta senciente (sattvica) – sem ovos, alho, cebola, cogumelos, etc. permitidos na casa), porque não consigo correr sem roupa quando quero (algumas pessoas vivem em celibato) e porque raramente encontro tempo e espaço para mim (aqui estão muitas pessoas e há sempre algo a acontecer!!!). Ou talvez com a minha total admiração e inspiração todos os dias sobre como quão prestáveis e carinhosas as pessoas podem ser.

Sabes, este não é um lugar fácil para mim. Durante os últimos três meses, enfrentei muitas lutas e desafios pessoais e interpessoais. Viver tão próximo de outras pessoas é desafiante para mim, de muitas maneiras, todos os dias. Fico zangada, confusa e perturbada, perco a paciência e a calma, entro em conflitos e discussões acesas e – o mais importante – cresço. Os meus hábitos e padrões mudam, aprendo novas perspectivas de vida, tento coisas novas, falho e tenho sucesso e cresço, cresço, cresço a partir do trabalho e da convivência com todas estas pessoas bonitas aqui, a partir da oportunidade de aprender a meditar, a partir da partilha de todas as coisas espantosas que este lugar tem para oferecer e a partir da inspiração desta forma especial de viver, que inclui perspectivas espirituais, sociais e ambientais. E é isso que me mantém aqui, para além de todas as lutas e cepticismo dentro de mim. Se estás à procura de uma comunidade hippie sem regras e com amor livre, este não é o teu lugar. Também se quiseres aprender muito sobre permacultura, podes ficar desapontada. Mas se estás à procura de crescimento e desenvolvimento pessoal, se estás disposta a ser receptiva e a experimentar coisas novas, se queres experimentar viver numa comunidade e partilhar uma visão de como poderia ser um mundo melhor, Ananda Valley é uma oportunidade fantástica. Há tantas coisas para descobrir e explorar e as pessoas aqui vão apoiar-te de todas as formas que puderem. Eles terão tempo para responder a todas as perguntas estúpidas que possas ter, não hesitarão em partilhar tudo o que tiverem para te curar, quando não estiveres bem. Vão dar-te tudo o que precisas e mais para seres feliz e saudável, nunca esquecendo a sua visão (e missão!) para criar um planeta melhor e um futuro

Emma Augustin

21 Maio 2020

………………………..

**English**

What is it like to volunteer at Ananda Valley?

I thought about this question for a couple of days now, and I feel like it‘s almost impossible to answer that question in a satisfying way. Of course I could now tell who I am (Emma, 25, from Germany), how I found this place (workaway), how I got here (hitchhiking) and list up the things I‘ve been doing here (mulching, weeding, mulching, weeding – that‘s organic farming, baby!), but I don‘t feel like this would do justice to the time I‘ve been spending here and to the experience I‘m having here. So where to start? Maybe with the fact that my original plan was to stay for only a month – or less – and now 3 month have passed and I have no idea where the time went. Maybe with the fact that I‘m getting up every morning at 6:30 to do mantra singing (kiirtan) and meditation, even though I‘m still completely convinced that spirituality is not my thing. Maybe with the ongoing inner conflict I have, between wanting to stay forever and the need to get away as fast as possible. Maybe with my huge gratitude and respect for the people running this place. Maybe with my skepticism towards a spiritual practice that is based on the words of a spiritual master (Guru) from India that died 30 years ago. Maybe with the joy and bliss I feel everyday while observing little human interactions and noticing that everybody is doing their best. Maybe with the general feeling of being unfree because I can not eat, what I want (sentient (satvic) diet – no eggs, garlic, onions, mushrooms etc. allowed in the house), because I can not run around without clothes when I want to (some people live in celibacy) and because I rarely find time and space for myself (here are many people and there‘s always something going on!!). Or maybe with me being totally amazed and inspired everyday about how, helpful and caring people can be.

You see, this is not an easy place for me 

During the last three month I was facing many personal and interpersonal struggles and challenges. Living so close together with other people is challenging me in many ways every day. I get angry and confused and upset, I lose my patience and my temper, I get into conflicts and hot discussions and – most important – I grow. I get shaken up in my habits and patterns, I learn new perspectives on life, I try new things, I fail and succeed and I grow, grow, grow from working and living with all these beautiful people here, from having the opportunity to learn to meditate, from receiving all the amazing things this place has to offer and from getting inspired by this special way of living, that includes spiritual, social and environmental perspectives. And that‘s what‘s keeping me here, besides all the struggles and skepticism inside of me. If you‘re looking for a hippie community with no rules and free love, this is probably not your place. Also if you want to learn a lot about permaculture, you might get disappointed. But if you‘re looking for personal growth and development, if you‘re willing to be open and try new things, if you want to practice living in a community and share a vision of how a better world could look like, Ananda Valley is an amazing opportunity. There are so many things to discover and explore and the people here will support you in every way they can. They will take the time to answer all the stupid questions you may have, they will not hesitate to share everything they have to heal you, when you‘re not well. They will provide you with all the things you need and more to be happy and healthy, never forgetting their vision (and mission!) to create a better planet and a better future. Thank you so much, everybody! Even though I‘m still here, I already know that this place will shape and influence my way of thinking, living and feeling.

Emma Augustin

21 May 2020

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F.A.Q

  • When we need volunteers?
    All year round.
  • Do we require a minimum duration?
    Yes, we require a minimum of 1 Month
  • Is the project really 100% vegetarian?
    Yes
  • Can I bring my non-vegetarian food and eat by myself?
    You can of course hang out at a local restaurant or have your meat for a picnic, but please don’t eat non-vegetarian food, alcohol or take drugs inside the project.

Ananda Valley Internships

6 and 12 months positions, in the areas of: 

  1. agriculture & natural construction
  2. ecology, sustainability & permaculture

Erasmus+ Youth Exchanges

Youth exchanges allow groups of young people from different countries to meet, live together and work on shared projects for short periods.

Youth exchanges take place outside the school environment. On a youth exchange, you can expect to participate in activities such as workshops, exercises, debates, role-plays, outdoor activities and more.

Participants’ learning experiences are recognised through a Youthpass.

Only in 2019 we had three amazing youth exchanges with NNN youths from NNN European countries.

  1. 28 June – 19 July “Making Ananda Festival of Bliss”
  2. 4-13 September “Back2Nature”
  3. 27 Sep – 6 Oct “Footprints 2.0”

Erasmus+ volunteers projects

EVS (European Voluntary Service) & ESC (European Solidarity Corps) programs:

  • candidates must be between the ages of 17 and 30; candidates between 25 and 30 years will get priority;
  • financial support: all essential costs related to your volunteering project; you will be provided with insuranceaccommodation, board and any local transport that you may need, and a small amount of ‘pocket money‘;
  • EVS volunteering projects in Ananda Kalyani are usually long term but we are open for short term projects as well;
  • you volunteer on an unpaid and full-time basis;
  • what you have achieved and learned through volunteering is certified via the Youthpass recognition tool.

Active Projects:

If you are interested to volunteer in Ananda Kalyani please contact us. We will need the contacts of your sending organization so that together we will be able to create the project tailored specifically for you and apply with it. The results about the approval of the project will be accordingly to the deadline (October, February, May).

Ended Projects:

  • 2017 – ORGANIC EPIC 2 – ANANDA MARGA Portugal
    • 3 volunteers from all over Europe.
  • 2017 – ORGANIC EPIC – AMURT Portugal
    • 3 volunteers from all over Europe.
  • 2016 – EVS Treasure Hunt – AMURT Portugal
    • 3 volunteers from Italy: Valeria, Francesca and Andrea!

Service

Volunteer service is based on at least 5 hours of work per day with 2 days off on the weekend. 

With 5 hours a day, 5 days a week focused on your working tasks you have ample opportunity to learn about your personal relationship to work, develop a variety of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, and about how to be present with what it is to be in service.

Volunteers' Guidelines

We have developed a set of  Guidelines stating how we aspire to live and work as a community.

We are a 100% drug and alcohol free environment. If you are found under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we will ask you to leave immediately.

The Schedule and Guidelines will be sent to you when you contact us. After reading and agreeing with them we forward with video call, so we can “meet” each other.

What We Need

We are looking for volunteers who are open to live with people from different cultures and backgrounds and who are interested to share in and learn from the whole process, sunny days and rainy days.

Most of the work is general maintenance of the farm and organising events. You will be involved in some of the following activities: helping with the development and maintenance of the forests; planting in the organic garden; collecting wood and fruits / wild berries. You will learn how to prune and take care of many different trees and berry bushes, composting, mulching, caring for and transplanting seedlings, how trickle drip irrigation systems work, weeding and all other aspects of maintaining and developing an organic farm. You may like to help with selling the food grown at our market stall, visit other eco-villages and projects nearby.

If you are interested or have experience and knowledge you can take part in more specialised opportunities like: informatics ( website, help in the automation of greenhouse, electrical system in AK, small apps to assist in recording sales, batch number creation, other tasks that can be automated), communication/marketing and events management.

What We Offer

The dynamic volunteer team at Ananda Valley is a place where you can dive into an international, community experience rich in learning and personal development. Our aim is to provide space and opportunity to express yourself and learn how to develop your full potential, supporting a more sustainable way of living, socially, culturally, economically and ecologically.

The project need people passionate about nature, willing to work with joy and happiness, not scared by people who meditate, are vegetarian or are singing mantra and doing Yoga asanas in the early morning. We are growing, learning and we need people who work with love, not afraid of the weather and are open to make friends from all around the world!

As a volunteer you are here not only to serve your own personal development, but also the development of this beautiful project. Service to the project means participating in all working activities, some boring, some fun, giving the gift of warm and joyful environment. 

Food Forest Project

Using a permaculture, biodynamic, natural agriculture insights, and primarily what nature is telling plus a pinch of intuition, we will create step-by-step a self-sufficient forest made of a symbiotic community of mostly perennial edible plants and vegetables. Usually forest gardening is seen as a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables. It is an ancient art and deep science of combining plants in woodland-like patterns, forging mutually beneficial relationships, creating a garden community that is more than the sum of its parts.The first food forest is being developed in an area of 1.500 m2, to begin testing and experimenting several techniques, and requires a small economic support to buy plants and few tools to start the forest. Three 1.000 liters tank will be placed in one corner of the forest, to provide more water in the first 3 years of the project, and for extremely dry years during the summer months.

Want to know more? Come and visit us on one of our open days!  

Vegetable and Herbs Project

Our second agricultural project is envisioned to provide us with economical sustainability, through a source of fresh and organic fruits and vegetables. We are now at Fundão Market selling our produce on Monday and Saturday mornings in the summer season. Come and visit us! We are also going to plant and distribute organically-grown medicinal and aromatic herbs. Using permaculture techniques, we are planning to have tincture herbs and and produce essential oils. A diverse and plentiful crop!

Cherries and Berries Project

Already harvesting blackberries and raspberries in season 2016 and now waiting for cherries first harvest in 2017 season. Our first big agricultural project consisted in planting and looking after more than 2150 berry bushes and cherry trees. This region is known for its delicious cherries, so we planted 550 of these local trees in over 1.5 hectares. Spread across half a hectare we planted berries and they will be cared for using the latest techniques such as biodynamic agriculture and permaculture. Using special “teas” made of specific plants we are making our herbal friends very happy! This project will guarantee financial security and stability through direct sale of produce. 

Learning Centre

We are excited about a new project which is now in its initiation phase: a Learning Center focusing on Regeneration and Sustainability.

Learning Centre

Estrela Sustentavel

Is an ICT (information and communication technology) company that functions to create software for the future. Always with an eye set to promote sustainability and social development, it aims to give a good financial basis for the creation of the Master Unit as well as setting a standard of sustainability for it. As the work is developed, new and interesting technologies are discovered and created which inspire the team even further in the endeavour to develop Ananda Kalyani. 

http://www.estrelasustentavel.pt/

Events & Ananda Festival of Bliss

Our beautiful green valley is the perfect spot to organize events. We’d love to invite you to enjoy life with us and join us in one (or more) of our events. You can dance and sing your heart out at the annual Ananda Festival of Blissyou can face your fears and be a hero at the Spiritual Warrior Camp or you can get back in touch with yourself at our Spring Retreat.

A bit of special attention goes out to our Ananda Festival of Bliss, because this is the time a year when everything we stand for comes together! Ananda Festival of Bliss is a festival for people who believe they can make the world a better place. It’s an adventure of art and nature, a heaven for activist and dreamers, for young people, families, lovers of ecology and warriors of peace and spirituality! Ananda Festival of Bliss will inspire for individual changes to happen and this will serve as the base for a larger societal change that is so necessary in our world.

All our events are drug, smoke and alcohol free, promoting a healthy & vegetarian lifestyle.

Please visit our events page for more detailed information on events and the festival.