4 days, 5 projects, 40 students

First of all, my name is Henrike, I’m 18 years old, from Germany and I’m living here for a year as a volunteer. To make a long story short, I wanted to go abroad after finishing high school, to experience a new culture and meet new people. That’s how I got here.

For four days (18.09.-22.09.2022) a school class of about 40 visited us here. The students are currently in the eleventh grade and are 16 or 17 years old. The intention of the class trip was that the students could experience what it is like to live in simple circumstances and work on different projects with hands-on experience.

In the end, we prepared five projects that we then implemented together with the students. The aim was to complete all the projects in this time, but the time didn’t quite work out for all the projects and so unfortunately not all the projects are finished yet. During the preparation for all the projects, we had to cope with a few, actually countless changes and keep changing the plans. Sometimes for example, it was because we didn’t have certain materials available or a new idea or improvement came up again during the developing-process or building. This was quite tiring in places and sometimes I found myself thinking “Will this ever work out?” But in the end we all really got behind our projects, helped each other and somehow it all worked out (for the most projects). 

I managed and organised the Spirulina project together with Trisha, a 17-year-old who also lives here in the community. In case you don’t know, Spirulina is a microalgae that has a very high nutrient content and most importantly is very high in protein and by consuming it you can guarantee a better/higher protein intake. The goal in our project was (and still is) first of all to build up a set-up for production and then to produce organic Spirulina. There were six students in our group. In fact, we even managed to finish the set-up and also to start the production of Spirulina. Unfortunately, after five days, the Spirulina in our tanks died. Apparently some factor in the water (pH-level, temperature, iron content, CO2) was not right. But it would have been too good if it had worked straight away. We are already revising the things and then we will try again.



One project was to show the students how to make and weave fabric.


Then there was the “How an ideal sustainable cohesive economy/production process works” project. Here the students worked with the leaders of this team to make pickle and crispies (spicy crackers) and in the process the students were introduced to the topic.

Another project was to build a biogas plant. This project was led by my fellow volunteer with another member from here. The biogas plant is supposed to produce CO2 for the Spirulina and gas for cooking.

There was also the goat shed project. We have now got five goats here in Proto and they need a proper shed. The goats will share a shelter with the cows and walls had to be put up to separate them and the roof was finished.

To everyone’s delight, a media team documented all the projects and made a short video. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/GHKYU2ldD3U

I really have to say that the four days the students were here were exhausting and stressful. Nevertheless, working and fiddling around together was super fun and worth all the effort.

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