What to Expect
This section aims to give you an insight into what to expect from your time with us.
We are at the start-up of this project: the work is hard and tiring from digging to moving rocks, cutting back weeds, making paths, building, planting and planning. We can have paid help for many jobs to accelerate the progress and make things more comfortable, but also feel there is an excellent opportunity to invite volunteers to come and work with us. There are many opportunities and we aim to align people with their skills, abilities and passions but clearly this can’t always be the case. There are some jobs that simply are more interesting or easier than others and we are interested to develop a method to manage this as it all still needs doing as you can imagine!
If you are expecting a personal course on permaculture, organic vegetable growing etc then please look for exactly that,but nearer to where you live – and get your wallet at the ready! A volunteer program is hard work but you will learn by actually doing things and are free to ask about the things that you are not doing.
Please see also the volunteer pack below.
Our Promise to You
An amazing adventure in an incredible place.
A fantastic opportunity to learn about living sustainably.
Open ears for constructive criticism to improve our services and make your stay happy.
A sense of achievement.
To do our best to meet your expectations about what you want to achieve in your time with us (agreed before you arrive).
We also need a commitment of at least 3 man weeks (the number of volunteers x the number of weeks, so it could be 3 people for a week or 3 weeks for 1 person, as a minimum) as it takes time to handle correspondence, collect you from town, show you how the farm and facilities work, find you a project and get the resources you may need. We have found less time than this is neither beneficial for us nor the volunteers.
Current skills we are in need of in particular at the moment include: Major construction and design (architecture and construction engineering) for house / water tank; clearing bush and pulling roots to plant fruit trees for the rainy season (end of May on); watering and maintaining plants (annuals and perennials), web site help (WordPress).
Our volunteers who stay for a longer period may like to complete a personal project, something which is of specific interest to them, within their general skills and abilities and helps Lodgecol to move forward in a slightly different direction. It may be something from our Job List or it could be a different idea a volunteer has that we can support that we haven’t thought of, yet lies within our ‘remit’ (great news!). We try and run more than one project at the same time which allows a diverse daily work pattern and leave a legacy for us to continue using in the future and the volunteers are particularly pleased with this aspect of the work here. We are of course willing to discuss other ideas before or after your arrival. If you can’t for some reason view the PDF document please email us and we can send you a copy in another format. Our contact details are here.
In the first few days after your arrival we will take some time to show you around and introduce you to what is happening and hope that you get some seeds of ideas of a personal project if you haven’t already selected one from our list. Following this, your weekly hours will be comprised of general labour (feeding chickens, collecting eggs, weeding, clearing, path building, painting, harvesting etc.) and maybe time spent on your personal project. Of course if you don’t feel you have the skills or want to deliver a specific project on your own, there is a lot of varied manual labour that is needed and can easily fill your 35 hours, and this also would be a huge benefit to us.
Food and Accommodation
All food is provided. We have a low meat diet, but not vegetarian or vegan, see here for more information . We generally have cakes and coffee early, two larger meals at around 10-11am and again at 4pm, then a supper of cakes or sandwiches but changes with the volunteers. Alcoholic drinks may be purchased externally yourself or from us and consumed on site. If you have any special dietary requirements or allergies, please let us know prior to your arrival so we can cater accordingly.
Accommodation is provided for all volunteers in the form of a typical thatched Mayan cabañas with concrete floors for cleanliness situated on the edge of the Cenote. Cabañas are shared and may be mixed sex depending on who is staying with us. There are basic screening facilities for changing with privacy. Hammocks are provided to sleep in, as they are cooler, cleaner, avoid the creepy crawlies and also what the locals exclusively use. You may need a couple of days to get used to sleeping in them, but our volunteers so far have had no problems. We have space for camping and some volunteers like to test their kit before heading to South America, and some just prefer the extra privacy. We also have composting toilets , a shower (unheated and from a bucket) and clothes washing facilities (soap and a washing stone). Clothes washing can be done in the village for around MXP10 per kg (about $0.40 per lb) which supports the local economy.
See here for information about internet and phone use (which largely is NOT available on site due to lack of signal).
The weather in Yucatan is described as wet/dry tropical with the rainy season from May/June to January. The temperature drops to about 12-15°C (55-60°F) at night in the winter (which as the cabañas are unheated and highly ventilated, can be an inside temperature too), but mostly is much warmer than this, hitting 40°C in the days during summer and early starts with mid-day siestas being obligatory! If you want to check the more detailed forecast and historical weather, the nearby airports of Merida (metric or imperial) or Cancun (imperial) give a good indication.
What to Wear
For general use, bring shorts, t-shirts, a GOOD sun hat or cap, secure and comfortable shoes and sun block. Something lightweight to cover your arms and legs is advised, particularly if you are up and about at dawn / dusk or have bad reactions to bites, to hinder the mosquitoes which appear with the rains. Occasionally you may need a sweater or rain coat depending on season. The terrain is flat, but with large rocks, soil, trees, bushes etc and so some secure, robust and comfortable shoes will be needed (such as hiking or rigger boots). We also recommend bringing old clothes to work in as you will get dirty and sweaty. Other useful items to bring are flip flops, Crocs or similar cool slip-on shoes to wear when not working and a swim suit to enjoy our Cenote.
What to Bring
Your open mind, creative ideas and energy.
Your muscles and energy!
Personal equipment:- a head-lamp or even better a wind up torch, eco mosquito repellent (natural repellents rather than those chemical pesticides such as DEET which harm you, your environment and we don’t allow), sun block and some work gloves.
Something to entertain yourself in the evening. We don’t have a TV, but do have cards, board games, a guitar, radio and books. We also have an open library where you are free to take, borrow, read, (and in some cases exchange or leave books for free). Additionally there are some valuable and precious reference books in various sustainability issues and Learning Spanish which you are free to borrow, but must remain with us. We can give you guidance on which to browse!
Your own toiletries – preferably eco-friendly or bio degradable. If sanitary products are non-biodegradable, you will need to be responsible for their disposal (such as bringing nappy /diaper sacks).
A blanket or sleeping bag for October to March but we MAY be able to supply (at a nominal chargeable fee to cover laundry)
A pocket knife may be useful to you, so bring if you have one.
Your personal towel but we may be able to supply (at a nominal chargeable fee to cover laundry).
ONLY things that you are going to take home with you when you leave (except books which we would be pleased to accept).
Donations: We are a not for profit organisation. The local people are very poor would be very pleased to have any unwanted but serviceable clothes. The kids love sweets! From a project point of view, books are always good, for us and for other volunteers, related or not.
All the tools you need will be provided so you don’t need to bring anything.
Have a look at our volunteer pack – this was written by our previous volunteers to explain their experiences from their point of view, including a typical day working with us, descriptions of the local town and what they recommend to bring.
External Additional Services
We have a local supplier of hammocks which are made to order, again supporting the local economy and getting the locals a better price as there are no middle-men (we don’t charge and are happy just to help both sides). They can be made to your colour requirements, but will need a few weeks to source the materials and make them and cost around MXP60 depending on size.
We also use a local guy for full body massage, you will be lying on the floor on your towel, so don’t expect the essential oils and candles. However, again you will be supporting the local economy and the cost is around MXP100 for around an hour. A bargain!
Please inquire about these when you arrive.