DescriptionVolunteer positions may be available at Ahu Lani. Participants receive training in organic farming, forestry, and other skills, plus room and board, in exchange for their work in farming, ranching, forestry, and other areas. Ahu Lani is a host farm for the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program and adheres to their guidelines.
IntroductionAhu Lani Sanctuary is a farm, forestry center, and educational retreat center located on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. "Ahu" means shrine, and "Lani" means beautiful or heavenly, so Ahu Lani means "heavenly shrine." Once you arrive, you will feel why. The earth exudes mana (power) that is palpable. Ahu Lani consists of 24 acres of land at the 3000' level of Mauna Kea. We are "at the end of the road" with only large cattle ranches above us on the mountain. We receive about 100 inches or rain per year, which is great for farming and forestry. We are totally "off the grid" and generate our own power and water. Our current passion is restoring native Hawaiian forest on 20 of our 24 acres. This involves fencing to keep wild pigs out (our main fence was completed in the Fall of 2010), clearing and otherwise preparing land for planting, raising native trees and shrubs in our greenhouses, outplanting these trees and shrubs, and then maintaining them (watering and weeding) until they get established. In 2011 we will be focusing strongly on clearing invasives and planting native trees, shrubs, and ferns. Also in 2011 we will be implementing our firstaquaponics system. We have an organic garden, which we use to raise food for ourselves. We also maintain bee hives and periodically harvest and bottle the honey for sale. We maintain a healthy flock of hens (no roosters!) that provide us with a regular flow of free-range eggs. The facilities at Ahu Lani consist of a large ranch-style building, a 700 square foot round room, a utility building/barn, and a small cabin. The main building has 11 bedrooms, 5 baths, a large kitchen, a large living room/dining room, and a study. The round room is a sacred space utilized for yoga, meditation, dance, bodywork, etc. The barn houses our farm equipment, our photovoltaic system, and our water purification system. Our full time, on-site caretaker Dave live on-site. Volunteers will be involved in some or all of the following activities: fencing and reforestation activities, maintaining the organic garden, assisting in beekeeping, housekeeping, landscaping, animal husbandry, and maintenance. Special skills you may have, such as mechanical skills, carpentry skills, computer skills, etc, could also come in very handy. Work on the land may be demanding, so make sure you're in shape. We provide rooms (single or double occupancy), hot water showers, wireless Internet for your own computer, washer/dryer, bathrooms, communal kitchen, a TV/DVD room, and a study with extensive book collection. Volunteers are welcome to use the round room for yoga, bodywork, dance, and meditation practices. Occasional visiting teachers may have classes that you can participate in. Cell phone service is limited to those with AT&T service. Once per week we'll take all work exchange students to local markets where you can buy your food for the week (we provide a food stipend). Also, we have occasional site-seeing expeditions to local beaches or other places, such as Waipio or Hapuna, so you can get some Hawaii sun and work on your tan. Ahu Lani is a completely tobacco-free property. Tobacco smoking is not allowed anywhere on the land or in the buildings. Besides our caretaker Dave, others who might be living at Ahu Lani include people who are renting rooms from us for private retreats. Various visitors come through regularly as well, and sometimes provide free or low-cost classes in yoga, bodywork, meditation, etc. All told, Ahu Lani is a crossroads for a lot of interesting people. So you'll likely have some great conversations and experiences while at Ahu Lani.
APPLICATIONIf you are considering a work exchange stay at Ahu Lani Sanctuary, please send an email to John Lindelow. Please include answers to the following questions, a photograph of you, and your WWOOFer member number if you have one. Write about your previous experiences, skills and a bit about your family background.
- What would I like to learn & experience in my 3-6 month stay?
- What would I like to contribute?
- What are my biggest hopes?
- What are my biggest fears?
- What brings me the most joy in life and what is my passion?
AGREEMENTWe expect good communication skills and openness to improve. We provide you with the following: a bedroom (single or double occupancy); all bed linens and towels; shared bath with hot shower; wireless Internet access for your own computer (NOTE: the Ahu Lani office computer is not available for work-exchange students); washer/dryer; communal kitchen; use of TV/DVD room; and use of round room for yoga, meditation, dance, and bodywork. We provide you with a $50/week stipend for food, and we take you to market once per week. Sharing food and food preparation with other work-exchange students is encouraged. In exchange, you agree to do 30 hours of work per week doing gardening, landscaping, forestry, fencing, cleaning, repairs, maintenance, or special projects as specified by Ahu Lani. You will log your work hours and accomplishments in a log book. If certain work we ask you to do is unsuited to you, please let us know and we'll find something that better matches your desires and aptitudes. We often work in teams and designate work assignments at our weekly group meeting. If you have a special skill and you would like to contribute, we'd love to explore that with you. You also agree to attend up to 5 hours per week of education and training in the areas of forestry, farming, alternative energy production, etc. We provide transportation into town only on our weekly market days, and for occasional site-seeing/beach trips. You may arrange for your own transportation if you like (e.g. rental car or car you buy while on Big Island). If you do buy your own car while here or borrow one, we require that the registration, safety inspection, and insurance be current and that your car be in safe operating condition. Market and beach days may sometimes be adjusted depending on weather or other exigencies. We'll let you know as things come up. From time to time we have a community dinner, organized by everyone. Once you get settled and into the groove with other work-exchange students, you'll likely end up cooking and shopping together, which can be very fulfilling. Your purchased food can be supplemented by whatever our organic garden and orchard produce. You can also have your own garden patch and grow your greens yourself. We have one house phone line that is available to work-exchange students for emergencies only. The phone number is 808-775-1663, and you may give that number to your friends or family for emergency contact. We encourage you to bring a cell phone with AT&T service if keeping in touch by phone is important to you. What to bring beside your normal clothing: rubber boots or shoes you can work in when it rains, rain gear, small umbrella, gardening clothes, water bottle, flash light, personal supplements/medicine, and perhaps your favorite pillow. Living Off the Grid: Since we are completely off the grid, we must carefully watch and monitor our use of energy and water. Turning off all lights that are not needed, and taking short showers are good practices and are greatly encouraged. Visitors: If you have friends or family who would like to visit you during your stay, those friends or family must make arrangements directly with Ahu Lani and not with just you. Your family and friends may be able to rent a room at Ahu Lani if one is available. Please note that all visitors must be non-smoking for the entire duration of their stay. Ahu Lani is a completely non-smoking/tobacco-free property. We look forward to meeting you and spending time working together!
: Ahu Lani Sanctuary
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