Desert Days is a unique eco-lodge resort completely built by hand and from mud and local materials. It's a creative and gratifying experience that requires a lot of hard work. The use of eco-friendly materials in sustainable building is important for two reasons: firstly, for the welfare of our planet; and secondly, simply for ourselves. Building with mud is worlds away from working with concrete, wood, acrylic materials, etc. Since mud is a "tolerant' material, it can be "revived" and re-shaped over a long period of time. Desert Days was created by a young family to fulfill the principles of simplistic living and close contact to the earth. Guests are hosted from around the world to enjoy this stunning place while learning about and experiencing sustainable living.
What's not Included
Located in the Arava Valley, right in the heart of the Negev desert is the eco-freindly village. To the west is Wadi Tzofar with its overhanging cliffs and to the east are the red mountains of Edom, Jordan. The landscape of the region was formed by earth movements along the great Syrian-African rift valley and then by the effects of sun, wind, and water over millions of years. Nature has a powerful presence here, radiating both strength and tranquility. Comfortable transportation by bus on the Arava road will take you to Eilat, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.
You will mainly assist with the construction and maintenance of the eco village by using earth found in the surrounding area. Building a structure can take up to half a year due to the process of first building the frame from wood, then packing it with hay and covering it with three layers of mud. You will learn different techniques to mold the earth and how to use sustainable materials to create the following:
- Eco cabins
- Sitting Areas
- Decorative patterns
- Renovation of structures when needed
A typical day: Because of the harsh desert conditions, you will work from about 7am - 10am and then have a long afternoon break during which you can lounge by the pool and relax. Work will begin again at 4pm and finish around 7pm. You will be able to gaze at the stars during the evening and chat around the campfire.
Volunteers are expected to work 6-7 hours per day / 5 days per week. The team is small, intimate and friendly. The work requires manual-labor and spending lots of hours outside in the Negev desert. The conditions in the desert are extreme so volunteers need to be prepared for the climate as well as the highly physical work of building and construction.
Holidays: Please note that the month of October of 2017 contains several holidays that may affect your trip. Expect to have a half day off of work on the 11th, 16th and 23rd of October, and a full day off of work on the 12th, 17th and 24th.
Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:
- Minimum age 18, maximum age 45
- Conversational English or Hebrew
- Good physical fitness
- Strong work ethic
- Motivation to do physically demanding work
- Able to work in harsh desert climate
- Highly independent
- Full travel and medical insurance
Additionally, please note that the desert climate is very extreme and you will need to cope with wind, dust and heat. During the summer months, the temperature and environment can get quite harsh.
After work hours, volunteers can enjoy this unique desert region, relax by the new eco pool, and just chill out under the stars. You will have the weekends off to explore other regions of Israel such as Eilat and Jerusalem. You can also join yoga lessons once a week at the resort.
Orientation in Jerusalem (included):
Your volunteer adventure will start off with a GoEco orientation at a fantastic hostel in the center of Jerusalem. The orientation is a great base to meet fellow volunteers and travelers, and includes the following:
- Volunteer preparation and travel directions to the program
- Expert advice for travelling around Israel during and after your volunteer placement
- Walking tour of Jerusalem, including the Old City and the famous Machane Yehuda market
- Discount card to experience Jerusalem's vibrant nightlife
- 1 night dorm accommodation and breakfast (private rooms are available for an additional fee)