Guardabarranco is a social organization based in Ocotal, Nicaragua that works with local farmers and people in the community to create an exchange of knowledge, experience and culture through volunteer work.
Currently we offer volunteer positions in organic agriculture, education, and coffee farming, and are looking to expand to a local foods program with a local-food based family bakery in the nearby community of Mozonte.
The farms we work with are all small producers who work largely or entirely with organic and sustainable practices. Volunteers who come to our work-exchange program in agriculture live in small home-stays in the mountain communities surrounding Ocotal. In most cases, the food they are farming is the food that they and the family are eating.
Minimum Stay: 1 month, longer preferred
Spanish requirement: Intermediate or better (exceptions may be made with a willingness to learn and a longer time commitment)
Cost: US$30 per week
Our educational program places volunteers in a school that offers alternative education to the large class-sizes and memorization-based learning of Nicaraguan public schools at a very low monthly cost to families. ($8 a month). We are working on building a scholarship fund that will be supported by the sales of coffee from our farms.
Minimum Stay: 3 months
Spanish requirement: Basic or better, if basic must be willing to learn
Cost: US$35 per week
We also offer the opportunity to participate in the coffee harvest (December-January). Volunteers stay at coffee farms and work with the migratory workers who flood into the area during the coffee season. They participate in all parts of the harvest that take place at the farm; this includes picking, de-pulping, and working in the wet-mill.
Minimum Stay: 2 weeks
Spanish requirement: Intermediate or better
Cost: US$30 per week
There is also space for self-directed volunteers with experience in agriculture or engineering to propose a project and see it through in the community.
Spanish requirement: Intermediate or better is prefered
Here you will incur your own expenses and be responsible for the progress of your project. We will guide you to where it can be of the most use and help you find the resources you need.
We believe all people bring unique skills with them. Whether these be agricultural, medical, creative, or mechanical, we hope that volunteers will come and share these skills with the families they stay with. In turn, volunteers are given the opportunity to experience rural Nicaraguan culture, live in these beautiful mountains, and learn about small-scale, un-mechanized, organic and sustainable farming.