There are many volunteer opportunities throughout the PermaTree project. Read what some of our past and present very international volunteers have to say about their experience as a volunteer at PermaTree in Ecuador.

3/09/2017 – Karen Wealleans, New Zealand

Staying on the finca was an amazing experience. The valley is beautiful with constant changes in the weather and an awe-inspiring night sky. The array of beautiful butterflies and weird insects continued to surprise every day. The dogs (Panda and Pulgar), 4 x naughty kittens, hens, roosters and chickens were always a constant source of entertainment. Hearing frogs croaking at night was also a novel experience. Santi and Btina were great hosts and mealtimes with the family and other volunteers were always times for animated discussions. The food was fabulous -mostly organic and vegetarian. We also had “bullet proof “coffee in the morning -a combination of cocoa (grown on site) and coffee I worked on my own projects while at the finca, mainly to do with revamping the nursery – re potting up plants, taking cuttings and sowing seeds. I also helped to develop the vegetable gardens further, creating more raised beds, improving the soil and trying to “out smart” the hens. The work is hard and the hills are steep, so expect to get fit! The life here is all enveloping and for me it was an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience with great people.

3/09/2017 – Juan Manuel Esteche, Argentina

The first thing I can tell you is that the PermaTree Project is not for “lazy” people.
PermaTree is a constant learning process, in which there will be good, radiant moments and others maybe not so much, but that is not a bad thing, that’s life. Although only a year and a half ago that this dream has begun to be built, led by Yago and Btina, to apply permaculture practices to live in contact with nature and achieve self-sufficiency, quite well on the way, thanks to the conviction and seriousness of them. But it still needs a lot, so the tasks, many of them demanding high energy quotas, such as the machete, shovel and rake, are necessary.
Food: The delicious lunch meal lifted the spirits every noon. I do not want to forget the breakfast, very delicious too, filled with banana, papaya, pineapple and a rich liqueur that combined bananas, babaco, passion fruit and cacao. As a supporter, practitioner and advocate of vegan food, I never have missed food.

My four-week stay during August was in a climate of constant change, rain, sun, rain, sun, they say that this is normal here, and I never went cold … Despite this, the various obstacles were not obstructed work in which I participated: machete, rake, preparation of cement, loaded with poles and other materials, laying barbed wire meshes for border, planting, planting trees, design and gardening, shopping at the market, etc.
I learned a lot about trees, building techniques and did something sensational: good friends. A friendship woven by threads from Switzerland, Brazil, New Zealand, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and my native Argentina. I really enjoyed the possibility of working in the afternoons, and  completely finishing, my SIP-work (Self Initiated Proyect), “PermaTree’s nutritional productive capacity”.

29/04/2017 – Chris Lampe, USA

I spent two weeks here and it was an amazing experience. The place itself is gorgeous: Santi and Btina have an incredible vision of growing organic fruit and vegetable plants everywhere. Their project is still in the early stages, but it is progressing rapidly! The work is hard, and the hours are long- so don’t come if you aren’t serious about working.

However, I found it incredibly rewarding. I learned so much about the ideas of permaculture and of sustainable living, and got to practice my Spanish too!

The only bad part of this experience for me were the mosquitos, haha. Santi and Btina are wonderful, Santi is really outgoing and friendly and Btina is quiet and sweet. The two of them made me feel like a part of their family and were super patient with my less-than-stellar Spanish skills. I’m so thankful for my time here.

30/03/2017 – Jason Straussman, USA

I stayed for two weeks at PermaTree and had a wonderful time with Santiago and Bitina. They are so passionate about the farm and taught me so much about permaculture and living a healthy lifestyle.

If you stay at PermaTree you will learn a lot and will get a very unique opportunity. I think it is important to note that the work is challenging and rewarding.

This is their life and you will be expected to fully engage in what it means to live life on a farm. With that being said, if you are looking for a place to relax, work a few hours, and hang out, this is not the place for you. If on the other hand you want to dive into a unique and beautiful way of living than I highly recommend staying at PermaTree. Thanks again guys for a great opportunity and sharing your life 🙂

13/02/2017 – Aischa, Turkey

They are really good people and they have peaceful hearts. They really like healthy food , nature , plants and animals . If you really like good view and hard working you can join and help them.

They really want to improve their place and work good. You can enjoy when you are working and eating together. You can learn about fruits. They have also every time birds sounds.

I stayed with them one week it was nice but hard for me but i liked :)) Good luck! 🙂 Santiago and Bettina thank you for sharing your house with me.

03/01/2017 – Bright Geofrey Kata, Uganda

Great eco-project, and permaculture farm. Btina and Yago were fun to work with and always asked me questions to ensure I was enjoying my volunteer experience and had everything I needed. The Sunday morning trips to the fruit market in Yantzaza and random day to day trips to Los Encuentros allowed me to view more stuff outside the farm.

The farm has a tranquil environment and you can do hikes to the waterfall, meditate by the ponds or just take a walk and wander into the tall quiet trees with beautiful & memorable sounds from birds and other wild animals. It felt like I was living in a home away from home, and also had the opportunity to work on lots of up-cycling projects, planting, blogging, and meeting locals.

There is food like papayas, lemons and plantains produced on the farm, and you can definitely share sweet and healthy cuisines from your culture by cooking with Btina, Yago and the other volunteers.