Amurtel

AMURTEL Poieni Farm
Contact person: 
Didi A. Mainjiira
Languages spoken on the farm: 
English, Romanian
Description of the area: 
The farm is in the rolling foothills of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains in the southeast of Romania, along the banks of the Buzau River. The village is a tiny annex to the small town of Patirlagele, which is about 15 minutes away by car. Traditionally, it is primarily a fruit growing area, and there are many orchards of plum trees in the surrounding hills . There are also many small subsistence farms. It is a beautiful area for hiking in the nearby hills and swimming in the fast flowing but shallow Buzau river, 10 minutes walk from the house. The land is easily accessible by car and bus (there is a bus stop right in front of the farm) as it is on national road DN10, and a railway line follows the river.
What do you grow on the farm: 
The farm grows fresh vegetables for weekly deliveries of seasonal vegetable baskets to a Community Supported Agriculture group of consumers, as well as for the needs of AMURTEL’s nearby children’s home and after-school center. We are especially interested in volunteers with experience in permaculture or organic farming methods.
Farm size: 
1.9 hectares
Months when they accept voulteers: 
May, June, July, August, October, November.
Volunteer activities: 
Organic gardening: planting, weeding, harvesting, watering and helping to prepare and deliver baskets of vegetables for the CSA group in Bucharest and Buzau. All cooking and cleaning is done together with other volunteers and workers. There is also the opportunity to interact with the children from the Familia AMURTEL children’s home, involving them in the gardening activities, or with the young adults that are in transition towards independent life.
Accommodation: 
The farmhouse was the vacation house for our children from the Familia AMURTEL project, so it is summer-camp style. There are separate bedrooms for male and female volunteers, with bunk bed arrangements. There are also separate showers and toilets for males and females, with indoor plumbing and hot water and a washing machine. The main house has a kitchen, Didi’s room, a covered veranda and a bedroom with bunk beds space for 6 people. In addition, there is a small house outside with a separate bedroom and a bunk bed for 2 volunteers. There is a total of 8 spaces in bunk beds, however we usually accept up to 3 volunteers at a time as we sometimes need the space in the larger house to accommodate the children from Familia AMURTEL, or other guests that come for vacations or workshops. Heating is with ceramic tile wood stoves.
Diet: 
All of AMURTEL projects serve lacto-vegetarian food and we request volunteers to prepare only vegetarian food with the plates, cutlery and pots in our kitchen.
A few words about the family: 
The Familia AMURTEL project that is supported by the farm, is currently home to a group of 12 children and youth that are in the child-protection care system, having experienced neglect until they were brought into the care of the home, where we strive to create a loving family environment. Most of the caregivers have been in the project since it began in 1995, which has provided a lot of stability for the children, and they are well integrated in village life. In addition, AMURTEL has a program for those that are now young adults, to help them transition into adult life. AMURTEL also runs an after-school program for 30 disadvantaged schoolchildren from the village, providing them with hot meals and homework support. These projects are in the nearby village of Panatau, about a 30 minute drive from our farm, and volunteers are encouraged to visit and get to know the children who will be fed from the food they are growing.
Pets: 
We have a dog “Himalaya” that is small and very friendly.
Other comments: 

We do request female volunteers to bring loose, modest T-shirts and jeans, and to be conscious to wear them when our young teenage boys from Familia AMURTEL are around. There is no wireless internet.