Located in the Arava Valley, right in the heart of the Negev desert is the Desert Days 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.
About the Project
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.
Orientation in Jerusalem
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)
The GoEco orientation will begin at 10:00 AM on arrival day. The next morning,you will travel to your volunteer project via public transportation. Full travel details to Jerusalem and the project will be provided upon registration.
Volunteer Work and Contribution
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
There is also a hospitality component to the program that may requireyou to be involved in general maintenance duties such as: cleaning, gardening, repairs, cooking, and preparing huts for eco-tourist guests. During national holidays your duties will focus on hosting guests at the eco village.
You should note that the project is located in an isolated part of the desert so most contact is with other volunteers and a few travelers in the area. You should be an independent person who enjoys the quiet and beauty of nature.
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.
This project is ideal for volunteers who enjoy physical work and getting their hands dirty.
- 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