My first Workaway: Eco Build in Cardinot, Nova Friburgo


I’m a few days in and am so grateful to be able to be here. I arrived late on a Thursday and the following day was a national holiday so I don’t actually need to start work properly till Monday.


It was dark when I arrived but when I woke up the following morning I was blown away by the landscape. The house we have is an old rural type building which had just been renovated (not to modern standards, but to a clean and liveable state) with a stream running by, a small lake across a bridge, orange and other random fruit trees outside, and  it is all surrounded by green mountains. There is a waterfall which I hiked to and the site where we will be working is up a hill with incredible views of the surrounding area. Bart our host keeps the fridge stocked full of nice food and he has even rented us our own house.

I was told that WOOFFing was quite often out in the sticks so you don’t get to see the country, and actually this Workaway is outside a small town but I really feel like I am experiencing the real side of Brazil. Previously I didn’t understand the appeal of ‘getting off the beaten track’ (apart from a dough-eyed conceptual point of view) as there would be no other travellers to talk to. But having got lost and taken a few local buses to get here I completely get it. The journey was a real adventure, albeit insanely stressful at times.

 On my second weekend in Cardinot I arranged a couch surf with a guy in the local town. We went for a hike to the top of a tall hill and could see 360 around the area. We could even see down to the site which I am working at. Above is a photo of a piece of land in the centre of Nova Friburgo which was wiped out by a landslide about 3 or 4 years ago. The building is still cut in half and the grass has begun to grow between the buildings


I have just finished my second day digging foundations and it is so tiring. We are at the site at 7am and leave at around 3:30. After lunch I could barely keep the wheelbarrow in my hands as my fingers were so weak. The work is very tiring but really rewarding. If I can stay here for the full five months and see the build through it will be amazing. During that time I will also get a two week break in which I can go and see some of the East coast of Brazil.

We’ve just finished day 2 and I feel the work will be similar for a while now so I am going to post this now.

(oh and so far this month I have spent about $50, which is a little win)

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