Here at Workaway we now have an amazing 28,000 + hosts involved in our volunteer exchange projects and communities from all over the world. From agricultural help, scuba diving, yoga retreats and most things in between, we are so proud to be associated with so many amazing hosts. So, we’ve started a feature to help recognise what a difference cultural exchange can make to travellers and to hosts. Going by the name of ‘Workaway Host of the Month’ we will reveal more of what it is like to be a host and let you into their routines and how their projects have changed since opening their doors to you.
This month, we spoke to Eyal who helps run the an organic farm located in the Jordan Valley. We were captivated by photos of the date and olive trees and intrigued by the relaxed pace on the farm. We just had to learn more about this opportunity to enjoy the farm lifestyle and share it with you!
We love the refreshing idea of your farm! Can you tell us what inspired the farm and what makes the plantation so special?
It is more than just a farm, it’s a way of life :). We really love what we do. We wake up every day at 4:00 AM with a smile on our faces, ready to start a new day. We feel lucky that we have a good life.
The fact that the plantation is located in a closed area on the Jordan river, only farmers have permission to go inside, which makes it an unofficial nature preserve- also helps that feeling. You are surrounded by many wild animals and migratory birds. Since the Jordan river is located on the Syrian African rift on the border between two tectonic plates, it gives it this extraordinary and unique view and a very special weather (for those who like the sun we have an average of 40-45 Celsius degrees, someday in the summer we have 50 Celsius and even more).
We noticed the plantation is located on a moshav. Can you explain to us more what a moshav is and what it’s like to live in one?
Moshav is a small community in which everyone has its one property and there are some properties that belong to all the people that we share. For example a very big dates plantation, chicken coops, etc. We also have shared events in Jewish and national holidays, a big swimming pool which is free for all the moshav residents, their guests, and our volunteers of course.
What does a typical week look like for a Workaway volunteer?
The volunteers usually help out 5 days a week, having Saturdays and Sundays off. Our day usually starts at 6:00, we drive to the plantation or to the warehouse or just doing some nice projects in the farm or for the community. At 10:00 we make breakfast together and finish what we need to do at 12:00-13:00. After that the volunteers are free to explore the area or just relax.
The farm produces organic dates, olives, and grapes. Already our mouth is watering! Can you tell us more about the meals you share with volunteers and some of the tradition behind them?
We eat breakfast and drink coffee together in the field every morning. The volunteers have their own apartment and cook themselves most of their meals. They give us a list of groceries they like, and we buy for them. Sometimes we make dinner together and we cook for them traditional Israeli food like hummus, shaksuka, poyke, bread on the fire and more.
The plantation and the surrounding area look so beautiful! Where are some places volunteers can explore in their time off?
We are surrounded by so much nature and historical places. Workawayers are free to hike and roam about. The most popular trip is to hike on a full moon night to the “Sartaba”, the highest mountain in the area and to get there at the sunrise. On top of the mountain there are ruins of a palace 2,000 year old from the roman age. Another spot is a 400 year old very famous lonely tree on the top of the mountain close to us with a beautiful view of the valley. The volunteers can also visit the nearby Palestinian cities such as Nebulas and Jericho.
On the days they stay in the moshav they usually spend their time relaxing by the pool, reading or just hanging out with other workawayers and people in the moshav.
What is your favorite part about the farm and hosting workawayers from all over the world?
We really enjoy meeting new people, sharing our knowledge with them and learning from them as well. We enjoy seeing how people come here as complete strangers and leave with friendships that will last hopefully for life. We keep seeing on social networks how they either carry on to travel together or visit each other in different countries, and it’s amazing to see how different people from different backgrounds can share so much in common and build connections.
Thank you so much to Eyal for sharing about his beautiful home and life on the farm! Do you want to be our next WA Host of the month? We are always on the lookout for hosts who have a great story to tell! Email us over at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be in our next feature!