Hannah’s experience with ACARBIO

I still remember the day I first arrived in Tramonti. When I got of the train in Salerno in the morning of a day in Mid-July, I had a little shock because it was already so warm. After I found my bus, I enjoyed the ride with a stunning view of the Amalfi Coast – no exaggerations here. That day I arrived in ACARBIO’s office around noon. I had lunch with everyone which gave me the chance to settle down and get to know some of the people I would spend the next five month with. After lunch I was shown the apartment and the room, I would stay in. I shared my room with another volunteer, and we were four volunteers in the apartment which was named “Villa Vanilla” by previous volunteers.

On the next day, which was my first working day, two other volunteers and I met up with the participants of the ESC project “Make it green” for a clean-up in the forest and at a cemetery. I would spend six weeks with these participants, who came from all over Europe, attend and co-design their workshops and activities, take part in cultural nights and build friendships. Something that I remember as very special is, that we were invited to participate in Tramonti’s medieval parade for which we were provided with handmade, historical costumes. I truly felt like a part of the local community.


Around the same time the project “Roots & Roofs” took place in the chestnut forest. The participants built an eco-building and an outdoor-kitchen, and I was lucky to be able to participate for a few days. I not only learn something about natural building but could also help actually building the kitchen, learn in the process and see what we can build with our own hands. I spend hours making mud by mixing soil, water, and straw with my bare feet leading people to call me “Queen of the mud”. With the mud we built almost everything – the walls of the kitchen, the stove, the oven …

September was a calmer month without a project and mainly office work. That means for example gardening work, labelling tomato jars of Refiascone, helping with writing applications for new projects, making social media posts, backing bread, or collecting and drying herbs for tea. This gave me the chance to explore the area and spend a lot of time at the beach. Having only been at the North Sea and the Baltic Sea before, I had never seen such a clear and beautiful sea. I will never forget the first time I went diving at the beach in Minori and saw a shoal swimming around me. Further, I really liked the cities at the Amalfi Coast like Atrani, Ravello, Vietri and Amalfi. For me, they have a unique charm with their small and labyrinthine alleys and house. Also, Naples has been a good destination for a day trip or two. Even though the busses do not always work how they should, you can definitely get around and enjoy the beauty of the area especially in summer.

As October approached, we started preparing for a Permaculture training, setting up the tents and outside showers for the participants, making posters for the trainers and preparing the office for the sessions. During the training, my tasks included the filming of the activities of the training and helping with the meals and maintenance of the indoor areas. Whenever I had time, I could participate in the training. This training was an intensive time, when I spend the whole days at the office and was constantly busy – I enjoyed that very much.

Subsequent to the training, we filmed and edited a video tutorial about permaculture and wrote an evaluation report giving me the chance to develop editing skills and deepen what I had learned about Permaculture. I am very grateful, that I was entrusted with these tasks even though I had never edited a video or written such a report before.

Also, we had a lot of cultural evening organised by the volunteers, which I relished a lot. We usually had traditional food and learned something about the culture. For example, we learned a traditional dances during the Turkish and Viennese night, had a quiz about Armenia and Germany and learned how to write our names in the Georgian alphabet. Apart from that we had Italian lessons twice a week, and lessons to learn a traditional, local dance, we were invited to spend time with the Italian volunteers at the Municipality in Polvica and to a weekly dance party with traditional music to have an exchange with locals. Since I walked about 20 min from “Villa Vanilla” to the office, I was always happy when ACARBIO’s lovely dogs decided to walk with me.

Looking back, I had wonderful five month in Tramonti, not only because I learned and experienced a lot of new things and because of the beautiful area but especially because of the people I met there, because of the great feeling of community and the chance to do a lot of things together.

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