Gaia Sagrada Work Exchange Program
All guests of Gaia Sagrada become part of the family and most don’t want to leave once their retreat is over, which is why we created the Gaia Sagrada Work Exchange Program!
We are offering open-minded, open-hearted people the opportunity to join our family and live with us here in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador for 2-3 months, in exchange for help around our center. Although preference is given to former guests who have been with us for a retreat, we do welcome applications from anyone that is called to be of service to the work that we do here.
Our volunteers are not only relied upon to help in the kitchen or work in the gardens. We’re looking for people that have the calling to help others and to be of service to humanity! This an incredible opportunity for anyone on the path to becoming a healer, counselor or helper of others. Whilst it’s certainly not a prerequisite, a large portion of our applicants are already psychologists, counselors, spiritual teachers and so on. Here at Gaia Sagrada we facilitate and witness deep healing and transformation on a daily basis. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the human condition, consciousness and beyond!
However, your educational background really isn’t important to us. What we look for in volunteers is the desire to be a part of our vision to make the world a better place!
Watch the following video to hear some of our volunteers talk about what life as part of the Work Exchange Team at Gaia Sagrada is really like!
During your time as a volunteer you will have the opportunity to learn and grow by being of service to the center and to our guests. Whilst you will certainly gain a deeper insight into the plant medicine traditions practiced by our shamans, at this time we cannot offer shamanic training or apprenticeships for our volunteers.
All volunteers are given the opportunity to participate in ceremonies during their time at Gaia Sagrada, but our volunteer program should not be seen as just an opportunity to experience plant medicine for less, the primary focus of being here is to help and support our guests. The top priority for all volunteers and staff here at Gaia Sagrada is to be of service to those who are here for healing.
Participating in plant medicine ceremonies can be a quite intense experience, especially for those still in the process of their own personal healing journey. In the past we have found that volunteers who still have a large amount of healing to do, which can often be brought to the forefront by the plant medicines, can sometimes find it difficult to follow through with their daily tasks / responsibilities. Of course, the staff and community here at Gaia Sagrada will always be here to support our work exchange family, however if you are being called to the plant medicine for personal healing we strongly recommend attending a retreat as a guest first. This will allow you the time and space to focus on yourself and your process.
Life at Gaia Sagrada is magical. We run our retreats on pure love. But sometimes this can be very demanding, energetically and emotionally, and so it is important that our volunteers are able to keep themselves energetically clean and stable, understand how to avoid emotional transference and know how to set appropriate boundaries.
Whilst it is not essential for applicants to have prior experience with Ayahuasca or San Pedro, it is preferable that our volunteers understand the space that our guests will be working in before they join our team. For this reason, experience with these plant medicines or other psychoactive materials is beneficial.
Work Exchange Commitments
- 3 retreat minimum commitment (4 retreats maximum)
- Arrive on the Wednesday before the retreat begins and stay until the Saturday after the retreat ends, as there is preparation and cleanup before and after retreats. We have a mandatory staff meeting on the arrival Wednesday. Available retreat dates are listed on our Volunteer Application Form.
- 75 hours of work required per retreat – 5 hours per day of work hours x 15 days
- Volunteers agree to leave the center inbetween retreats or work 5 hours per day in exchange for meals and accommodation in between retreats.
- This is not a punch the clock and check out kind of job. You will be assigned tasks each day but outside of that and not included in your hours it is required that you interact with the guests, be there for them emotionally as they go through their processes, and provide them with love and support while they heal. You will be scheduled for most of your hours every day, but sometimes you will need to take initiative to get the hours you need by doing extra tasks. There is always something to do!
- Pay a $200 deposit to secure your volunteer position upon being offered a spot. You will receive the full deposit back at the end of your stay. We only keep the deposit if you don’t fulfil the requirements of the role while you are here.
- Pay a $150 per retreat fee ($450 for 3 retreats/$600 for 4 retreats) – This includes one ceremony per retreat, laundry, transfer from the airport to Gaia upon your arrival, and offsets our operational costs. Taxis to and from Cuenca at the end and beginning of subsequent retreats are shared and generally cost $5 – $7 per person. If there is space available and you are up to date with your hours, you may be offered the option to join an extra ceremony during the retreat. Extra ceremonies are priced between $100-$125 per ceremony for volunteers, prices vary per ceremony.
Work Exchange Benefits
- Unlimited healthy and delicious vegetarian food – 3 meals per day and snacks!
- Dormitory housing, comfy beds in nice, modern housing
- Hot showers 24 hours a day
- Use of facilities, hot tubs, WiFi
- Hiking on 55 acres of beautiful Andean mountain trails
- Participation in Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies
- Assisting in Ayahuasca ceremonies
- Opportunity to hold classes and workshops for guests
- A unique space to learn about yourself and others
- Become part of the family and live in community
- Lots of love, laughter, and fun in paradise!
Work Exchange Tasks
- Meal prep in the kitchen
- Kitchen cleanup
- Housekeeping and cleaning
- Leading yoga sessions if you are a certified yoga teacher
- Leading meditation classes and/or workshops if you have a skill you’d like to share
- General work around the center
- Assisting in Ayahuasca ceremonies
- Preparing ceremony spaces
- Being there emotionally for the retreat participants and assisting them with their needs
- Being available and willing to jump in wherever you are needed
Code of Ethics for Volunteers
- Conversation should be inspiring, not depressing. We require a positive, happy attitude to work here. That means no complaining, or talking endlessly about politics, conspiracy theories, or what is wrong with the world. We are here to uplift people and help them find joy. It is also important to keep your language clean.
- No drinking, smoking marijuana, or recreational use of drugs of any sort are permitted on or off the property. Use of these substances during your time as a volunteer and representative of Gaia Sagrada is grounds for immediate dismissal. WE HAVE A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY FOR DRUG USE. If you are actively using alcohol, marijuana, or any other drug on a regular basis, this is not the place for you. It is essential that we keep the energy here clean and preserve our reputation as a safe place to experience plant medicine.
- Be respectful of people’s need for privacy. Ask before you take pictures and ask for consent if you want to post a picture of someone on social media. Some people like to keep their private lives private, it is important that we honor requests for privacy from guests and volunteers alike. Do not post anything online about others without the person’s explicit permission.
- No romantic or sexual advances towards guests or “hound dogging” (trying to get a guest or fellow volunteer to become romantically or sexually involved with you). Many people come here to heal sexual and relationship issues and we are providing a safe place for them to do so. Therefore it is important that staff and volunteers at Gaia Sagrada maintain a professional relationship with our guests, in the same way that a therapist does with their patients.
- Remember you are a representative of Gaia Sagrada both on and off the property.
- Be sensitive to guests’ needs. Be a helping heart and hand, or someone they can talk to while they are here if the need comes up. Volunteering here is not just about putting in hours. It is about being there for people in a loving way. Always treat guests with kindness and conduct yourself in a professional manner.
- Be respectful of each person’s process. Guests’ experiences and processes are private and are not to be talked about unless the person wants to talk about their own experience or process.
- Resolve Conflict: No “red dogging” which means no talking behind other people’s backs, including talking negatively about guests, other volunteers, staff, shamans, or even management. If you are unhappy with someone or a situation, please look for a peaceful resolution with that person or seek help or advice from management. Negative energy is felt even more strongly when working with plant medicines and we must avoid any negative energy affecting our guests.
- Stay clean physically, emotionally and mentally. Maintain good hygiene and your daily practices to ensure you are able to keep your energy clear and not take on energy from others. Also be conscious of energy transference from yourself to others.
- Honor the rules at Gaia Sagrada. The rules are there for the benefit of everyone. Please do not argue with a rule or work schedule, particularly during retreats. If there is an issue, please speak directly with management and we will try to work with you to find a resolution.
If you are interested in joining our family here at Gaia Sagrada, please complete our VOLUNTEER APPLICATION FORM and we will be in touch!