“Even paradise needs a gardener” is the motto of the voluntourism project run by Save Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. And how true is that? While the project initially began as a response to the damage left by the devastating flood in Vernazza in Oct, 2011, it is a continuing one. The territory requires hard work, and many of the landowners are elderly or the land has been passed down to absent lanowners and left abandoned. So the project between Save Vernazza, Busabout and the Treadright Foundation has started its new season and will run until the end of October.
If you are coming to the area please join us on this worthwhile project and know that you will have contributed something very substantial to the ongoing restoration and rebuilding of the area. The Cinque Terre area is not just the villages but the territory surrounding them and it will give you a great insight into the lifestyle and culture that has made this region so unique for centuries. BUT….it is hard work, often just climbing up to the worksite is tough, and the various tasks require a lot of energy.
Even if it is only for half a day, you will be tired and dirty, but as the evaluations show – “very satisfied, amazing, awesome, loved it, great experience….” Every work experience is accompanied by a local bi-lingual guide and a great lunch is provided!
Unfortunately this year there is no wine and food tasting project that ran in 2014.
And it’s not the only project that is contributing to the restoration and maintenance of the area as the following photos show – photo credits to Catherine Unger. The photos were taken during the rebuilding of some of the dry stone walls above Manarola.
Here over the past month a group of 12 unemployed – 7 of whom are African refugees who arrived on the Island of Lampedusa 8 months ago – have been clearing land in the terraces and carting stones to repair the old walls, together with landowners and local community volunteers. The project is being organised by the Fondazione Manarola, the Cinque Terre National park and the Caritas ( Charity group who house the refugees).It’s the first of its kind and from what I heard the project has been very successful and participants proud of the work done up to date.
Every little bit helps and as the Manarola Foundation comments ” the project provides important evidence of how it is possible, with tenacity, a common commitment and organization, to address the issues of our time and understand that solidarity and integration are not merely rhetorical words but real opportunities for personal and collective growth.”
So do join us this year or donate to Save Vernazza. Save Vernazza in turn recently donated a new stretcher to the Alpine Emergency Assistance of la Spezia who are often called in to rescue hikers who have fallen along the trails. All donations are spent within the territory and details can be seen on Save Vernazza. It’s a long haul, but we are all in it together so the ‘gardens’ of the Cinque Terre remain a ‘paradise’ for all of us and future generations.
‘Together we can make a difference.’