|Dargle, South Africa|
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About the Rainbow Commons. We are a sustainability-conscious demonstration site practicing permaculture and experimenting in ecological and cooperative living. We are registered as a ‘Not for Profit Organisation’ located on 300 hectares of land that includes a mountain, streams, waterfalls, and forests.
The Homestead has a food garden with a small expanding orchard. A variety of foods are grown but no cash crops—we are not a commercial farm. We are aspiring to be self-sufficient and are almost there! We’re off the grid so power comes from the sun (solar panels and batteries) and an occasional generator. Meals are cooked with solar cooker, or gas on cloudy days. There is an abundance of fresh spring water.
We are 45km from Howick—the closest town. We are 65km from Pietermaritzburg, the closest city. We are also near Impendle, a rural Zulu traditional community, about 15km away.
Weather: Spring is chilly and misty. Summer is rainy many afternoons and hot during the day. Autumn is warm during the day, cool at night and dry. Winter is warm during the day and cold at night (going down to 3 degrees Celsius) and it very rarely rains.
About the Work Exchange:
We ask for 4 hours of work per day. There is a minimum stay of 1 week and maximum stay of 1 month although up to 6 month stay with remuneration can be negotiated if both the Helper and Sam & Shine are happy with the arrangement.
Garden work includes: Making compost piles, cutting grass (summer), collecting manure, fire breaks (winter), weeding, seed collecting, planting seedlings, hole digging for trees and maintenance of trees, planting edibles and pioneer plants, repairing fences, cutting and chopping firewood, harvesting crops.
Non-gardening work: Creation of a solar hot water system, kitchen work: making breads, preserves, chutneys, etc., building of an evaporative fridge, recycling insulation inside the house, natural building, and sharing time, skills, and energy with the children. Marketing, fundraising, administrative work and website updating are also needed. There are horses that need training for riding.
About the Family: Samantha and Shine share the Rainbow Homestead. They co-parent and un-school 2 children—Oriah age 9 and Kei 7. We have a cat, Shiva, and a dog, Ashanti.
We have a vision to live more sustainably on the earth and to make the world a better place through sharing and learning about this path with others. We enjoy spending time in nature, attending Rainbow gatherings, playing musical instruments and singing, hunting for mushrooms, going to the beach (when possible), doing crafts, storytelling, fire dancing, .
We think of ourselves as spirituals beings. Sam affiliates herself with the Unitarian Universalist faith. We share earth-centred rituals and celebrations together such as Solstices and those that mark the change of seasons. Spiritual growth and openness to others’ spiritual paths are important values.
There is very limited power as a small solar set-up provides all the power for AC and DC power. There will be specified times when the sun is shining to charge phones and use your own computer.
There are no shops near to us so please bring with you airtime, favourite foods, medication, etc that you might need.
About the Food: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be in the family home. Additional snack food is the financial responsibility of the volunteer. We are a vegetarian family but do eat dairy, eggs, honey. No meat is allowed in the house. Part of the helping hours will include meal preparation which is shared.
About the ‘Not for Profit Organisation’: We run a NPO called "Sihlangene Kokwethu". This organization was set up for the purpose of environmental education and sustainability and for local economic development. We achieve this by providing “Permaculture and Sustainability” workshops to the local community through the Impendle Eco-Schools programme, to other members of the public through on-site tours, and through the Impendle Eco-Tourism programme that offers overnight homestays in Impendle and work-exchange at the Impendle Eco-Schools.
Getting here: We might be able to pick you up in Howick if it corresponds with our normal trip into town. Otherwise taxis and a bus are available from Howick. SMS closer to the time for details.