Please note that this project is only available between May and December (the dry season).
Sícchezpampa is a lovely small town situated 1,500 metres above sea level in the tropical hills of Ayabaca province. It is about a seven hour journey from Piura although the road that takes you there only goes as far as Sícchez, the district capital. From there, it's an hour and a half of steep walking (or an hour on a donkey) on an uphill path to get to Sícchezpampa.
The inhabitants of Sícchezpampa are mainly focused on sugar cane and organic coffee production, although nowadays they also tend to a small herd of domesticated animals. The lifestyle here is based on an Incan socio-economic model of community strength. It relies on solidarity and mutual cooperation between the members of the community. For instance, all of them take part in scattering seeds and reaping crops on public and/or private pieces of land. When there's a wedding, everyone helps out laying the foundations and then building the house of the newly married couple.
In Sícchezpampa the entire community works on the farm (chakra) of each member on a rotating basis. Working together is essential for the labour on the farms. The coffee harvest starts between June and July until December. Farmers really need the help of volunteers in the day-to-day operations as they cannot afford employees and the climatic conditions make the crop very difficult.
The main goal of this project is to help improve the quality of life for the people of Sicchezpampa. Volunteering here also contributes to the awareness and promotion of sustainable social development, a life force for this remote mountain community. If you have a brave heart, are happy in the middle of nowhere without the comforts of home and want to help sow the seeds of development in this remote mountain community then you should not miss this volunteer opportunity!
Volunteer Roles/Working Hours:
The main task of volunteers is to assist the farmers of Sicchezpampa with all the agricultural work required to run the holdings.
Tasks can include:
Harvesting & processing the coffee & sugar from June to December.
Helping out with the eco-garden (huerta) and the domesticated animals on it (from May to December)
Maintaining the land and getting it ready for cultivating by tidying-up, cleaning and ensuring a proper care and maintenance.
Bringing new ideas about how to improve the growing of coffee, sugar and other products.
Setting-up extra activities for the empowerment of the community.
Generally speaking, volunteers work from Monday to Saturday, in the morning (08:00 till 12:00) or in the afternoon (14:00 till 17:00). However, from June to December (peak season) you might work from 7:00 to 19:00. You need to be flexible in terms of season and weather conditions – making hay (or coffee) while the sun shines! In any case, you will always have at least one day free. There is not much to do alone in Sícchezpampa, apart from walking in the beautiful mountains, so don't forget to bring a few books!
Basic-minimal Spanish level. However, it is recommended that volunteers at this level take Spanish lessons beforehand as nobody speaks English. We can arrange classes for you to take before you go there.
- Minimum commitment: 1 month - the longer, the better.
- Volunteers can only be accepted for this project between May and December.
High motivation to work hard (can be long tiring days at altitude).
Prepared to be partly vegetarian. Meat and cheese are very scarce. Former volunteers advise to bring vitamins and medical supplies.
Both physical and mental preparedness to work in an isolated community up in the hills with basic living conditions.
Empathetic, responsible and strong personality.