Volunteers

Gaia Ashram is like four places in one. First of all, it is a farm – We plant trees and vegetables, make compost, build our houses and facilities out of natural materials like mud and straw and do anything to restore nature. But then, it is also an ashram in the sense that our physical work on the land is nourished by a spiritual aim: to re-discover and deepen our connection with nature, with all living beings and with our own selves. We meditate twice a day and we encourage everybody to do their own spiritual practice.

Saying that, Gaia is also a safe space for being who you are – it is a community where we support each-other, live, work, cook and eat together. We have sharing circles and full-moon celebrations, and we try our best to live in harmony with all living beings on the land. Lastly, Gaia is also an education center where courses on Permaculture, Ecovillage-Design and Deep Ecology are held regularly. We aim to offer knowledge, new perspectives, inspiration and empowerment to everybody who comes to Gaia Ashram, and we hope volunteers can benefit a lot from working, learning, sharing and living together.

We take volunteers throughout the year and we ask volunteers to arrive on a Mondays which helps us organize. As Gaia Ashram is still a young project we ask of volunteers to be aware that the facilities at Gaia Ashram are basic. We also want to bring to the awareness that we are not a guesthouse, or a cheap place to hang out & we do not intend to be. If you are looking for a cheap place to hang out, this is not the right place for you.

We are looking for volunteers who are genuinely interested to learn about taking care of nature, ourselves & each other.  Volunteers who are interested in sustainable living, permaculture, deep ecology, ecovillage living & are looking for changing their lives to become more sustainable & holistic are most welcome.

Volunteers with skills are most welcome & we would give you plenty of space to further develop or share your skills (skills in our interpretation is very wide, could be creative skills like painting, singing, dancing, teaching yoga or it could be building/gardening skills, teaching kids etc.). Just let us know of any skills that you might have that you wish to share with us.


Activities Description:

We ask of volunteer to do a minimum of 5-hours of work a day and the minimum time for volunteering is two weeks. Generally we have three kinds of activities at Gaia Ashram building, nature regeneration & gardening and Gaia School Asia activities. The work depends on the season. We have three seasons in Thailand and below are the seasons and the activities related to the seasons:

Rainy Season July until October

In this time we are planting lots of trees and some water-loving veggies. There might be some ongoing building projects going on that we will be working on.

Cool season November until February.

This is the main time for vegetable production and organic gardening. But we are also building during this time as it is dry.

Dry/Hot Season March until June. This time is a bit slow and generally it is a time for building and this is also a good time for us to go places that are not so hot.

Building

From the building perspective we are focusing at the moment on ongoing projects which include Sala, the Fairy House and our guest houses. We try to use as many natural materials as possible and we try to design our systems to have a very low to zero environmental impact.

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Volunteers in the mudpit

One thing that volunteers will be doing is making mud/adobe bricks that can be used in our buildings. We try to close our loops by for example building a compost toilet we reduce huge amounts of waste, water & chemical usage that is associated with conventional western type toilet systems and sewage treatment plant. Our waste actually becomes food for our timber trees. Volunteers will have the possibility to learn and gain skill about building & natural building. If you already have some skills we will give you the freedom to experience and refine your skills.

Nature regeneration & Gardening

Gaia Ashram is also in the establishing phase from nature’s perspective, the land we are regenerating is two-hectares and used to be a rice field i.e. nothing on it. Now after two years we can see the land is restoring itself, pioneering species are doing their work, native trees are coming up again and we assist nature or Gaia in its self-restorative ability. This process of assisting nature is one of the most important volunteers jobs. You will be here to help regenerate the land and nature on this site. By doing this volunteers can get an understanding of what it takes to help nature restore/heal itself i.e. from a zero bare situation towards a thriving throbbing with life productive edible Eco-system and thereby making its contribution to the larger Biosphere.

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Veggie beds

To heal nature and ourselves is what we are all about at Gaia Ashram and we hope that you will take this home with you and then apply it into your own setting, this could be on a big piece of land or it could be on your balcony in a big city. In order to learn about how we can create beautiful landscapes we need to make steps, develop skills, cultivate our heart and minds.

Holistic Ecovillage Design

Volunteers will be part of the Gaia Ashram Community which also means the community of all beings. When we live together we try to respect and honor ourselves and each other. We respect each other space and we try to life together in harmony when there is some difficulty or conflict we try to resolve it mindfully. We are all on our journeys and we are here at Gaia Ashram to journey together and learn form each other and from Nature/Gaia, who is our ultimate teacher. At Gaia Ashram we try to live a holistic lifestyle that is in tune with the natural cycles and the ecology. We are inspired by Permaculture and Ecovillage Design and we try balance the use of our head, hands and heart in our daily lives. To read more about the Gaia Ashram Design and our values go to: Gaia Ashram Design.

We are only human and in order for us to get closer to our vision of a holistic healthy life and to remind us of this journey we set up a structure for the work and contemplation.

Ecovillage Design Mandala
Holistic Lifestyle in all dimensions

Daily Schedule

  • 5:45-7:15         Meditation & Yoga
  • 7:00-7:45         Breakfast Preparation
  • 7:45-8:30         Breakfast
  • 8:45-11:30       Morning Work Session
  • 11:30-12:30     Lunch Preparation
  • 12:30-13:30     Lunch
  • 1330-15:00      Break
  • 15:00-17:30     Afternoon Work Session
  • 18:30-1900      Sunset Meditation
  • 19:00-20:00     Diner
  • 22:00                Lights-Off

 Weekly structure

  • Monday:       Weekly Reflection/cleaning blitz/Afternoon work session/Sharing circle
  • Tuesday:       Regular Working Sessions
  • Wednesday: Regular Working Sessions/ Trip to Market/Watch Documentary
  • Thursday:     Regular Work Sessions
  • Friday:           Regular Work Session
  • Saturday:     Personal Study/Project Day*
  • Sunday:         Day-off and Internet trip

Deep Ecology Retreats

Every now and then we will have a Deep Ecology Retreat in a nearby national parks. We will stay in tents in the park and try to deepen our nature connection by spending time in wild nature. We will be hiking and spending time at specific spots. We ask volunteers for financial contribution for the tents/food/fuel during these Deep Ecology retreats.

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Deep Ecology Retreats

Practical Information:

Thai visa

We recommend volunteers to get a Thai Tourist Visa from the Thai embassy in their home country. It is also possible to get 30 days visa on arrival & then cross the border to Vientaine, Laos to extend your visa at the Thai Embassy there. We are relatively near Vientaine about two hours travel from Gaia Ashram.

Insurance

We ask volunteers to get a appropriate travel insurance that covers volunteering in Thailand in case of any incidents. One insurance that affordable and is recommended by WWOOF is OV-Europa:

http://www.oveuropa.com/

Contribution

We ask volunteers for a financial contribution to help to cover the cost of food & other daily living expenses (such as electricity, groceries, water etc.) aswell as paying for Thai staff that are supporting the project & the volunteers. This contribution helps us to sustain the project and allows us to have many volunteers stay with us and learn.

We value if volunteers stay longer and therefore the price goes down the longer you stay with us. We created the following pricing scale:

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*Please make payment on the Monday for the next week with Maria.

*If you have time to stay only 9 nights or shorter, you can pay 350 B/night and stay as a guest. You’re not expected – but welcome – to join the work.

*If you stay longer then 3 months there is the possibility of joining the residents team.

Facilities

We are still in the establishing phase and we would like to remind volunteers that we are not a resort and our facilities are basic.

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Accommodation

  • Dormitory second floor of the Gaia Sala.
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Gaia Ashram Sala Dormitory
  • Gaia Guesthouse  
    • For those that want more privacy there is a small bamboo house ideal for a couple with a small balcony. The rent for this house is 250 bath per day. Monthly rent 4500.
    • Then there is the bigger Guesthouse with three rooms and each room can be rented for 150 bath per day if available. If you rent the room for a minimum of one month it is 3000 Thai Bath per Month.
  • Common Space First floor of Gaia Sala is common space and also dining space.

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  • Toilet and Shower compost toilets and roofless showers for men and women.
  • Internet There is an Internet Shop & wifi spot in the next village is usually available everyday and can be walked to or we have bicycle that can be used.
  • Laundry can be done by hand or there is the option by machine in the village which is 40 bath per kilo.

Natural Products

We are asking volunteers to bring natural products such as natural soap & shampoo as the waste water goes directly into the land. At Gaia Ashram we aim to have all natural products for domestic use. We have created the Gaia Shop which is still in its developmental phase and May our long-term resident is responsible for the Natural Products. Here we we sell some natural products from the land  i.e. Mosquito Repellent, Natural Soap, Shampoo, Organic Rice from our land, Yoga & Meditation mats woven by the village women, herbal teas etc. Part of the profit from the sell of these natural products will go into the Gaia Ashram project & part will go into supporting the local community. We aim to work with the local community to empower them to create more & more natural products for sale.

Your support would be much valued to help achieve our aim in getting the wider community more green & re-localizing the economy. For those volunteers with skill or interest in learning about making natural products you are most welcome to help us.

Waste

In line with our values we try to reduce waste at Gaia Ashram. We ask volunteers to not bring waste to Gaia Ashram and during your stay at Gaia Ashram we will process our waste into ecobricks that we can use for building project. More info about ecobricks watch the following:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbPt1Jn3YLw

Food

The volunteers will cook breakfast and lunch together in shifts. In the evening we have Om’s sister in law Gig cook for us.

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Kitchen

***No Alcohol or Drugs: We ask volunteers not to drink alcohol or use drugs on the land. We ask smokers to smoke out of sight away from other Community members at a designated spot for smoking.