Der ehemalige Volontär John Jenkins aus Wales hat sprichwörtlich einen Narren an dem Reservat Aldea Luna in Argentinien gefressen, wie ihr auch seinem Erfahrungsbericht entnehmen könnt. Ende des Jahres möchte er – sobald sein Reisebudget wieder aufgefüllt ist – zum dritten Mal dorthin reisen. Und er möchte jeden davon überzeugen, das ebenfalls zu tun. Seine Tochter ist seiner Empfehlung bereits gefolgt.
“I heard about Aldea Luna from an Australian couple, Katrina and Aaron, whom I met while we were working together for 3 months at an Animal Research Station in the Amazon in Peru at the beginning of 2011. They were backpacking for a year around South America and found Aldea Luna by chance from a woofing website I think. They only intended to stay for one week but like almost everyone who goes there, they extended their stay to two or three weeks I believe. Katrina subsequently e-mailed me to describe it as “Heaven on Earth” and convinced me I had to go find it.
“My budget will need building up again before I can return”
I initially stayed for two months from early January to early March 2012 and then went back there for 3 months from early December 2012 to early March 2013. I had intended to return later in the year in October/November with my daughter but due to her time limitations, we drove across USA from the East Coast to the West Coast instead, and I am flying out to spend 5 weeks with Katrina in Tasmania as Aaron is currently working in Antarctica so my travel budget will need building up again before I can return to Aldea Luna towards the end of this year.
“Everyone is captivated by its location and the atmosphere”
Everyone who stays is captivated by its location and the atmosphere created by Martin and Elizabeth. Martin was born in Buenos Aires and is an incredibly charismatic friendly man of Argentinian Italian extraction. Elizabeth is from Uruguay and is the most positive enthusiastic kind and loving person you could meet. They have a 16 year old son Matias who is very intelligent, has seen nearly every film ever made and read most of the classic books, being 18 months ahead of his age group. They also have little Anna who is now 7 months old. All the family speak excellent English as well as Spanish of course, and Martin is fluent in Italian and quite good with German I believe. Matias also has useable French so the dinner table is alive with multi-lingual conversation.
“Livestock: one horse, 5 dogs and numerous chickens”
The family are helped by Gerardo, a school friend of Martin’s, who has been with them since they established Aldea Luna (Moon Village in Spanish) some 7 years ago. At present they have the main restaurant/common room/kitchen building with a lovely porch area, two cabins – one of which has 5 beds and the other 7 beds. There is also Martin & Elizabeth’s house and Gerardo’s house. Livestock at the last count was one horse, 5 dogs (all very friendly and part of the family) and numerous chickens.
“The only electricity is from the use of a small generator”
They take Paying Guests who don’t have to work, Volunteers who work 6 days a week from 8.00am to mid-day and pay a nominal amount, and two Woofers who have to work the same hours as the Volunteers plus each weekday afternoon from 3.00pm to 7.00pm but pay nothing. Everyone helps cook meals under Elizabeth’s direction, all of which are 100% vegetarian and are superb. I am not by nature a vegetarian but have no problem while I am there as it is all so fresh, nutritious and healthy. I have never known anyone leave the table hungry. Bread is made daily and is superb. They have three main terraced garden areas which are planted in accordance with Steiner’s theories and tweaked for the phases of the moon. If this sounds a little far out, believe me it works! All water is rainwater catchment and the only electricity is from the very occasional use of a small generator, either to power the blender for the exquisite chilli sauce or for Martin to indulge his disc jockey ambitions at the Saturday night parties.
“Beautifully isolated mix of mountains, valleys and rivers”
The area they own is just less than 1000 hectares (2,400 acres) and is a beautifully isolated natural mix of mountains, valleys and rivers criss-crossed with trails, many of which are colour coded to ensure no-one gets lost (well not for long!). Elizabeth is very conscientious in making sure that everyone is aware of the sensible walking/hiking rules, logging their trips in and out, wearing appropriate clothing and being in company.
“Most were backpacking around South America“
While I was there, I met people from Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, China, Argentina, Brazil, Holland, Belgium, South Africa, USA, Australia, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and a few other countries that I have forgotten….. Most were backpacking around South America but some like myself came specifically because they had heard how special Aldea Luna is. I am a pretty active 70 year old widowed retired surveyor from Wales who has worked abroad for many years so had no problems mixing with everyone else, the majority being in the 20 to 35 year range but with several others between 35 and 65 years old. I am generally told I don’t behave like a 70 year old should, as I run with two clubs competitively, hike up to 42 mile challenges in 24 hours, paraglide, surf, have two high powered motorbikes and a few other activities so I guess I’m not the best person to advise on how the older person might find volunteering. However, there were several other males of 60 to 65 years age that came through while I was at Aldea Luna and who seemed quite comfortable with the day’s activities. Basically working in the gardens – weeding, planting, fencing – from 8.00am to mid-day then free time all day.
“It will change your life”
For me the best part is the pleasure I get from being with such lovely people as Martin and Elizabeth and being welcomed as part of their family. This is a common feeling of everyone who experiences what is frequently described as The Magic of Aldea Luna. Don’t just write the article – please go there and experience it for yourself but beware, it will change your life!“