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17th SUSTAINABLE WAVE-LETTER

August 2012

Contents:

1. Sustainable Surfing & Volunteering
2. Sustainable Couch experiences". The members invite to:
    Surf & work in Bahia, Brazil (check out the video!)
    Sustainable Surfing in Berlin, Germany
3. We got active
   

1. Sustainable Surfing & Volunteering

Working as a longer-term volunteer has become incresingly common during recent decades - be it in a farm, in a social project, in a school, etc. There are many options to donate your time and do something good. Often it is difficult to find a serious project where the basic idea of volunteering can be realised: the volunteer both works AND learns at the same time, supporting rather than substituting local employees. The volunteers must understand they won't be able to change the world with their work, but they can give an important contribution to the local community. The people in charge of the project should use the volunteers' energies and enthusiasm, but not expect supernatural powers from them. Of course conflicts and problems can arise, but if the structure and the involved people act adequatelly, they can be solved and thus even improve the project. Working as a volunteer can become an unforgettable experience which inspires people to become more active in the movement towards a better world.

There are already several international programms who bring together volunteers and projects, like for example Woof, where volunteers receive a long list of detailed projects, including some general information and a contact. It is not always easy to choose one, but with a little care and thought, if it usually works out in the end.

What does this all have to do with Sustainable Couch? A lot, in fact. We would like to start something new, connecting people from hospitality exchange programms to the world of volunteering. How?
With Sustainable Surfing & Volunteering, based on these main ideas:

  • surfers combine the hospitality exchange experience with volunteering, being hosted and working on a project
  • members, with their own project, have the opportunity to promote it, to invite other members to visit and support it
  • the details (working time, accomodation,food, etc.) can be established directly between the host and the surfer, without the need of any intermediate organisation

This way, we are convinced that genuine volunteering experiences can take place, positive and fun for both parts. Below you can read a success story from Brazil, but of course we need more people involved to make this concept reality for many members!                

2. Sustainable Couch Experiences. The members invite to

1) Sustainable Surfing and Voluneering in Bahia, Brazil - a report by Massi
In 2011, I had already visited the Eco-Sistemas Project in the Chapada Diamantina, together with its initiator Albert. In August 2012, I kept my promise and spent another 10 days living in the project house, this time alone.

  

I could write many pages about it, but here are just some highlights:

  • work: I painted the house and constructed a water depuration system together with Pedro, a local worker and neighbour who became a good friend of mine. I also watered the vegetable garden and cut wood for the fire.
  • free time during the week: I woke up at 6 am every day to practise yoga while observing the sunrise. After lunch, I had a long siesta and in the evenings I enjoyed the best TV in the world and relaxed in my hammock: a sky full of stars!
  • week-ends: I ventured to the local market on Saturday mornings to buy food for the entire week. In the evenings, I had a drink with the neighbours at a bar in the village, with 30 houses, where the project is situated. One Sunday Pedro and I climbed up to the top of the 2000-meter mountain which dominates the valley. After following non-existing paths for hours, we were rewarded with the generous beauty of  nature and breath-taking views!
  • food: I only ate food from the local market or food directly grown in the project's  garden. I felt great after 10 days of vegan food, including delicious fruits (a lot of bananas, mangos, papayas, avocados), vegetables, rice and beans!

  

All in all, it was such an amazing experience! I felt sad on the day of my departure, but I am sure I will go back there one day. Moreover, Albert and I got very excited about the concept of Sustainable Surfing & Volunteering and we decided to present it to the community.
During my last day at the project, I made this short video I would like to share with you: it is a presentation…and an invitation, so come and join us!"

2) Sustainable surfing in Berlin, Germany
Jess, initiator of the BARTERslava group, has recently left Bratislava and moved to Berlin. There she would be happy to host sustainable surfers interested in vegetarian food: not only Jess is a great cook but she also recently joined the local food coop DickesBee. So expect great dinners and be ready to exchange your best recipes :-)
Moreover, guests could help Jess create a Free Box for the Berlin Sustainability Group. So, just send your request: a great host and Berlin are waiting for you!

  

If you would like to promote your project, your local event or invite people to surf your sustainable couch, please send an email to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  

3. We got active

  • Doris, who presented her South-American adventures in the July Newsletter, published an interview (in German) with Massi in the blog LittleMissItchyFeet

Take action, start now!
Sustainable Couch Team

www.sustainablecouch.org
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