3. Being a volunteer at Hästekasen

1. What is ESC
2. Erasmus/ESC – Who are we
3. Being a volunteer at Hästekasen
4. Long ESC
5. Team ESC
6. Methods and traditions

Travel instructions and what to bring

It starts with you fully researching HFA.
Then the questionnaire; Apply here
After that a zoom meeting
After that we discuss your motivation and wants and see if you will benefit and fit into the lifestyle here.

Hästekasen Facebook photos
Read about our “green” approach
Are we self – sustainable? Read more

We are looking for participants for:
1) Short ESC (2 months)
2) Team ESC participants, one month (May, July, Sept)

Before you apply – read everything below.

Lately we have been doing less farming.

This is the project!
Notice in the picture that WORK is in the center of everything.
Non-formal and Informal learning through practical work.

This is NOT a school. Do not expect teachers. You are responsible for your own learning.

One of our senders issued this “warning“:
“Remember that Hastekasen is a challenging place and it will be nothing like your “normal ESC”. At HFA it will be difficult, hard, challenging but also rewarding, for many volunteers, Hastekasen was a life-changing experience also because it was truly forcing them to come out of their comfort zone. Can be cold during the nights, definitely dirt, mice, spiders, the quality of food will depend on your and your colleague’s skills as you cook together, there is nobody to clean after you, there is dry toilet system fully serviced by people living at the farm, so also volunteers = YOU (which means emptying the bins and urine containers). The work, meetings and soft skills workshops are obligatory. Sharing circles are obligatory. The conditions are harsh. And you live on a farm in the forest, no city, no pubs. No smoking, no drinking (only for some celebration moments together). Lots of emotions, both positive and negative. Can you survive? But. The feeling of creating a community for one month or more, feeling of belonging and family bonds is unique, the feeling of being part of nature which surrounds you is outstanding, the freedom to be whoever you want to be, give you wings, the skills you learn there you will not have a chance to even try in another place. There is some sort of magic that I cannot describe. Some people love it, some hate it, some can survive, some after time realize how important was what they experience at Hastekasen. It’s also an amazing sandbox where you can work on your personal development. There are paints and music instruments there, lots of jam sessions. And there is a sea 15 minutes from the farm.
So please think it carefully and if you think it’s too much for you don’t push yourself, find another Team ESC more suitable….”

What we do – what you may learn as a volunteer.

Economy & period of stay
You can choose between 1 or 6 or 8 months (maybe longer)
4. Long ESC
5. Team ESC
You are expected to participate in at least 38 hours per week.
Your travel costs will be covered up to a limit.
You will receive 150 euro pocket money every month.
Food and accommodation is covered (organized by the host).

This is not a school or a course – this is learning by doing in a non-formal way. You must actively take part.

Practical information

TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS (print this out – save it).
(The activity starts on the first day of the month until the last day of the month – unless otherwise stated)

Book your ticket about 6 weeks before arrival (they are the most cheap at that point). You can arrive 1-3 day before the planned start day if that simplifies travel or is cheaper.
You can leave up to 1-3 days after the activity starts. You may be asked for a fee of 12 euro a day for those extra days.
You do not have to get your travel approved by the host! You actually will not get any answer if your tickets are “good” or not. Just buy the tickets that travel within the right time frame, and within the budget. If you want to spend more money on travel than the budget its up to you. Max is usually 275 euro
Travel money will be reimbursed after the activity.
If possible buy a ticket where you can change dates. Long ESC may want to stay longer.
Take the opportunity to go by train…. buy inter rail ticket…add some extra days… see Europe. The travel budget increases to 320 euro in this case.
You are only allowed to travel from and to the country which you represent / your residency. Maybe exceptions if you are coming directly from another Erasmus / ESC activity. ASK.
You may only travel during “travel days” – you can not stay in Sweden after the activity and then go home (if you want your ticket paid).
You must give the organizer all your travel tickets, and put them in the DRIVE.

Send mail to (info@hastekasen.se) the day before you come. Send text message to +46 (0)760 450850 BEFORE you start travelling. Send a message when you land. OR use the shared Whatsapp group to inform how your travelling is going.
From Gothenburg Landvetter airport. After Landvetter take FLYGBUSS to town GBG, central station. 100+ sek, Credit card. Swedish west coast travel
(There is also a local bus #612, probably blue, that is cheaper, if you intend to understand Sweden, then take this bus. You can probably buy a ticket/ travel card at the “pressbyran” (shop) inside the flight terminal just where you exit). Maybe change at Landvetter “city”/municipality and take a another bus to the central bus station in GBG.
At central bus station buy a TRAVEL CARD at ticket office – fill it with 200 sek. You will need it now and in the future.
Save all receipts! And boarding cards e t c!!
Take bus Towards Lysekil 841. Pay with Travel Card (or credit card) – Make sure you also show it when you leave the bus, otherwise it will loose money. Ask the busdriver when you will arrive at BOKENÄS SKOLA:
Send text message to +46 (0)760 450850 and say when you arrive at BOKENÄS SKOLA. Or inform in the shared Whatsapp group.
Get of at Bokenäs skola (l.5 hours later).  Walk 70 meter south, behind the yellow school and wait at the parking lot. If it is raining you can stay at the bus stop.
If you sent message in time, you will get pick up in time.
You are going to Hästekasen gård, in Eriksberg.

Your national EU health card
Big walking in nature boots
Flashlight (
head lamp if possible)
Backpack (
that is the way to travel)
Your laptop (
if you have and need)
Inside soft warm shoes.
Cold weather clothes
(We have extra working clothes here)
Sleeping bag if you have.

Dirty working clothes.
One book that you want to donate to our library

This is not a 9-5 kind of activity.
Some days we “work” 10 hours, other days we may just sit in an watch films and drink tea and talk. There is lots of room for improvisation.
Some days there are a course at the farm and the ESC may have to adapt to that, take part, or support, or take a day of.
Sometimes you will have to take initiative yourself.

You must understand that the volunteer work is mainly the building work, and sometimes small scale farming. It is obligatory to take part in these activities.
The community living that involves you cleaning and cooking is NOT part of the regulated ESC work.

  • Main activities (depending on season and time you spend here):
  • Living in a community, sharing household.
  • Natural building with logs, wood, stones, clay, straw.
  • Survival nature skills / camping.
  • Possible to do handicraft.
  • Manure work. Recycling of resources.
  • Work in forest.
  • And some:
  • Food preservation, baking.
  • Permaculture gardening/ small scale farming (some animals). Soil work.
  • Special Topics: Leadership and entrepreneurship

Other things we do
Scrape old paint. Dig. Trim fruit trees. Play musical instruments.
Recognize wild plants and herbs e t c. Repair engines e t c. Build homepages. Hatch chickens. Carry. Work with piping. Move big stones. Watch films. Move and spread manure. Climbing trees and rock. Research on internet. Read about farming. Go on excursions. Carry hay. Listen to music. Discuss… and more…

Mostly vegetarian food, absolutely no smoking (not even in your freetime). Restricted use of; shower, laundry, dryers, heating. Limited Wifi and internet use. We TRY environmentally friendly life style, where we save resources, using less comfort.
There is no city here – only trees, rocks and sea.
If you want follow the activities at Hastekasen farm (ecological farm community) you can follow us on facebook

Depending on how long you stay you will learn some self sustainability and maybe be part of a future ruralisation. You may learn to grow food without machines, you may learn to build your own house, cheap and ecological – if you are curious and active.
You may be able to pursue your own projects within the community.
If you stay longer we expect you to grow and become a leader.

There will be emotionally windy

You need some of these:

  • Prior experience of practical handy-man work.
  • Be able to live simple with less comfort.
  • Initiative and work ethics (activities is obligatory)
  • Background of economic problems, or social problems, or school problems, emotional problems e t c

These are also good:

  • Be able to communicate in english.
  • Planning a future life on the country side.

Share the vision.
Be interest in doing the work described.
Have a passion for being in the forest and on the sea.
Preferably you have already tried short stays in communities. Now you want to stay longer and live “slower” and simpler.
Remember, this is not a city.  Just a few people in a house on the countryside with low living standard. Simple life is a goal.

The project aims to improve THREE entities:
1) Your life
2) The hosting organization HFA
3) The European society

Emotional warning
You will be moved out of your comfort zone, you will be nervous, you may feel that too much is asked of you, you may think about going home, you will notice how much you do not know, you may be angry, you may be questioning your self confidence, you will be questioning the people that organize the work.
There will be demands and expectations on you, you will be expected to remember things, to be able to repeat and do things just after being shown them once, in time, you will be expected to be able to lead others.
Your potential is great, we have great expectations on you. Your hands and feet are not enough, you need to be focused and aware, your ability to observe and analyze and remember, you need to write some things down, you need to take responsibility and initiative. You need to bring your “heart”, to care about the things here.

Out of 145+ volunteers so far 7 has wanted to leave earlier, 5 has left earlier.

Hästekasen will help you grow. You will be offered to stay longer after ESC if you like it here, you will welcome back if it is a “fit”.

Step away from the mainstream

There is a wide variety of work and activities here. We will try to offer you lots of variety if you are on a Long ESC
We want you to avoid causing category 1 situations, and in time help to stop them. Category 2 and 3 is the main work here. We want you to focus on working in category 3. If you contribute to category 3, we can spend more time in category 4, and make more time for category 5.

Sometimes we do what first seem impossible

It will be dirty, you will sweat, you will touch animals, you will touch worms, your body will at times hurt, sometimes it is boring, sometimes it is cold and raining. It will make you mentally strong.
We expect you to be able to lift 30% of your bodyweight (men 40%).

You will share household with many others. You will have to clean, cook, bake e t c. You will share your free time with the people living here. Food will be simple and mostly vegetarian. No nicotine allowed. We try to avoid too much sugar. You can drink alcohol on special occasions.
Living conditions are simple, sometimes 15 degrees in your room (spring/autumn), there are maybe ants and mice and mosquitos.

You will work, and live at the same place. The community living is not officially part of the volunteer work, but you have to live here and follow the rules of the community. Make sure you check out these rules before you accept.
You will have a private room if on a Long ESC, but mind you, there may be a spider or some ants also living there (this is the country side).
If you want to visit nearby towns there is a bus station 5 km away, the nearest shop is 15 km away. Most volunteers do not leave the farm much, but usually takes a longer vacation in Sweden (we will help you organize this). The nature around Hästekasen with sea and forest is great places for excursions.

You must use the outhouse dry toilet, maximum 3 showers every week. There is not much sense taking morning showers since we do physical work in nature. We do not have to feel “fresh” when working in nature.
Max 1 laundry every week, do not use the electrical dryer (wind will dry your clothes for free, without environmental impact). Don¨t bring things like hair dryers.
Sometimes we have Wifi. Do not bring your mobile to work. Because we try to be “here and now”. No TV, no videogames – not even in your freetime (if you want to fit into the vision), because you chose this ESC because you want to do things in nature with others. We often watch films/documentaries together.

This is what we mean with simple lifestyle – saving resources, becoming more self-sustainable. Do not expect Swedish high material standard.
Sometimes there are electricity cuts, you will have to make a fire to keep warm and to cook. There is no city here, civilization is far away, no shops, no cafés, no bars – nothing. A 5km walk to the bus. Here you find only nature, and weather. This is a rural experience. Come here because you are looking for this experience. Do not be too romantic about “Swedish countryside”.

FOOD and shopping
To follow the vision of sustainability, save resources, low impact, simple living and health… these are the guidelines for food shopping:

– No alcohol, wine, beer (you can buy your own for festive moments)
– No soft drinks, no juice. We usually drink water /tea (some coffee).
– No meat (only our own sheep) (if you eat meat, you have to take part in slaughter)
– No bread (only our home baked)
– Very little candy/cookies/chocolate (you can buy your own)
(only some sweet things we eat together, or our own baked)
– One fruit per person per day (focus on local produce)
– Avoid long transported food (such as exotic fruit)
– No luxury pre-cooked food.
– Focus on trying to use homemade jars from last years harvest.

All these restrictions reflects how much of the planets resources we want to use. Being adaptable and consuming less, will make you empowered, more self sustainable on a personal level.

…and you will have to accept mice, spiders and ants inside the house.
These are the kind of shoes you need

Possible outdoor activity skills on your free time e t c
Learn to swim (depending season)
– Orientation in a forest
– Camping in the forest.
– Basic rock climbing skills (not winter)
– Freediving (mainly summer for long ESC)
– Kayaking (not winter)
– Yoga
– Fishing
– Climbing trees (mainly summer)
– Zip line
– Ice scating, skiing (flatland) (if there is ice)
– Bikes
– Bow shooting

We only lend equipment if you fulfill the work criteria of 38 hours a week.

Personal development
We will discuss things like what you could be doing five years into the future. We will discus things such as empowerment, learning, skill, responsibility, performance: motivation, confidence, goal, discipline, identity. Things that shape our life.

Remember you have come her for a new experience, not to recreate the life you had at home. That means you will have to adapt to new things, maybe even things you do not like.
Our personalities

You will have to be mature enough to be childish

We are very much interested in your skills.
Maybe you know something that we can use, or do here.
You will need to tell us things like allergies, food preferences and strengths and weaknesses that we have to be aware of.
We can not accept smokers. Food will be mainly vegetarian.

2018 Sept short EVS

We will help planning your own personal vacation/excursions you may want to do.

If you get injured or sick

-> If you think you are dying or in risk of permanent injury -> CALL 112 <- And explain your problem.

If you see someone else in risk of dying or in risk of permanent injury -> CALL 112 <- And explain your problem.

If not….

  1. Try to take care of yourself. Try to solve your own problem.
    (Do not mess up our medical cabinet – you will be held accountable)
  2. Ask for help.
    Ask a friend for help.
    Ask a leader at Hastekasen (there are medically trained people at HFA)
  3. Call a professional -> CALL 1177 <-
    A nurse will advise you over phone (they speak English and they are good)

As an ESC volunteer you are insured with CIGNA

Before the ESC you were asked to get and bring your:
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) (the blue card)
If contacting local medical care this is the card you must show.
OTHERWISE you must pay yourself.
You may (or may not) be bale to get your expenses back from CIGNA afterwards.
It is somewhat bureaucratic, and will take time.

If you want to seek support from local medical care please be aware of:

  • Bleeding and broken things they will take care of fast and efficiently.
  • Antibiotics for possible risk of borrelia is also fairly quick.
    Swedish health care is over burdened. There are long ques for serious illnesses.
    There is a lack of doctors and they must make an evaluation if your case is important enough.
    They will see you, but if your problem is not clear and easy solvable, they may send you home after giving you some pill/medicine for the symptoms.
    Remember there are many illnesses that needs time. Time will heal you. Your body is working to heal you – it is designed for it.
    Some of the medicine they generally give – we have at HFA.

If it is not urgent – HFA will not drive you to a hospital. You will have to take public transport (The project or rather Cigna will pay).

One of our dry toilets that is part of recycling nutrition and closing the loop with nature.
Hästekasen Front yard
Evenings in the tavern

1. What is ESC
2. Erasmus/ESC – Who are we
3. Being a volunteer at Hästekasen
4. Long ESC
5. Team ESC
6. Methods and traditions