Volunteer Information

Tent of Nations Volunteer Information

You are very welcome to come and volunteer at Tent of Nations – we are always happy to have visitors staying at the farm. You can read more about the Tent of Nations project and the background to our situation on the rest of this website.

If you are thinking of being a volunteer, then here’s some of what you can expect…

Farm:

Tent of Nations is a family run farm, growing Olives, Grape vines, Almonds, various vegetables & fruit. In total there is around 100 acres of land, and there is also a small poly-tunnel. We have a small herd of goats, a horse, a donkey, pigeons, chickens, rabbits and dogs. We are in the process of increasing the production of the farm and for this reason, and also because of the economic situation in the West Bank, we are not yet at the point of producing enough crops to make profits from the farm commercially.

Community:

There’s a friendly & fun communal atmosphere at the farm with everyone working together and getting to know each other. There’s often a real mix of nationalities among the volunteers and we regularly have visits from other groups who come for day visits, or to just stay a couple of nights. Meals are provided for volunteers and everyone at the farm eats together each day. There are normally 4 long term volunteers throughout the year, and we accept short term volunteers from 15th March to 15th November, so there can be from 4 to about 25 volunteers at any time. You will find that the most common languages spoken are Arabic, English and German.

Vision:

We believe in bringing people of all cultures and nations together and building bridges of peace through dialogue, understanding and friendship. The farm provides a place for people to work alongside each other and learn from each other. We try to give an example through our work of what it is possible to achieve, and alongside running the farm, we also operate some other projects.

Work:

We ask that you commit to working at least five days a week, for about 8 hours a day. You are then free to take time off to travel around the local area and visit the many tourist spots in this historic land.

The daily routine at the project is to get up around 7am to eat breakfast with the rest of the volunteers. Most of the day is then spent working on the farm with breaks for drinking tea, eating lunch, and finishing around 4-5pm.

You’re free to do what you wish in the evenings – often after dinner people sit talking & sharing stories (around a fire if it’s cold!), or if you are musical we have a guitar and you can entertain us!

As well as general work on the farm such as planting trees & vegetables, watering & weeding, harvesting crops, & maintenance, we have some specific roles for which we need volunteers. These are:

Accommodation:

You will be staying in a large well equipped marquee tent if it is warm (with paved floors & beds with mattresses). The infrastructure at the farm is very simple as we are not allowed to be connected with running water or mains electricity. We have composting toilets and also solar heated showers on sunny days, but all our water is collected from rainfall so we have to be careful to not use much. We do also have limited electricity, and you can access our wireless internet if you want.

We accept volunteers between 15th March and 15th November. We do not have the infrastructure to provide accomodation to volunteers during the cold winter months, except for 4 long term volunteers. It is still possible to come as a day volunteer during the winter – particularly to plant trees in January to March, however we cannot provide overnight accommodation so you would have to find somewhere to stay nearby.

What to Bring

You will need to bring strong shoes, a torch light, working clothes (plus gloves are useful) and a sleeping bag. The weather in winter is normally cold, so please bring warm clothes, gloves, a hat (it might be windy) and a rain jacket. It can also get very cold at night.

Weather

As the farm is on a hilltop 950m above sea level, it is usually a bit colder & more windy than other places nearby. The weather at night is normally cold, so please bring warm clothes and a thin rain jacket. You may also want gloves and a hat. Here is a guide to the weather throughout the year.

March - The weather is usually warm, windy with light rain between 18º-24º however sometimes it can also be very cold & rainy during the daytime. On the vineyard it is usually warm but windy during the day, it gets cold in the evenings around 10º.

June – The weather is mostly hot, dry and dusty. Between 22º-27º. On the vineyard it is usually hot during the day and it can get chilly in the evening.

August – The weather is mostly hot, dry and dusty. Between 26º-32º. On the vineyard it is usually hot during the day and it can get chilly in the evening.

October – The weather is mostly hot, dry and dusty. Between 20º-27º. On the vineyard it is usually hot during the day and it can get chilly in the evening.

Costs:

For a number of years the Nassar family have welcomed visitors to come to the farm to enjoy Palestinian hospitality, to experience life on the farm, and to learn about their situation. The family do not operate this as a business, and do not seek to profit from volunteers visiting. However, the reality at the moment is that they would not be able to continue receiving volunteers without donations to meet the costs.

We therefore really welcome donations towards the cost of food and amenities for volunteers, as this is essential in order to help the project to be sustainable. Because of the unique situation in the West Bank, basic necessities like water, electricity, fuel, and food are all very expensive. To cover our costs in providing food, electricity & facilities to volunteers we recommend a donation of $70-$100 per week for short visits depending on what you can afford. If you are planning on volunteering longer term then we realise you may be on a limited budget and not be able to afford to donate as much. For longer visits of more than 1 month, then we recommend a donation of around $170-$200 per month. You don’t have to make a donation, but at the moment it is the only thing that makes the project sustainable. We are working towards making the project self sufficient in future.

We realise that you are already offering us your time and skills and we would love to be able to offer hospitality for free, but the reality of our situation means that this is really very difficult. We hope this doesn’t put you off from visiting – please talk to us about it if so. We really want you to feel welcome to visit our farm, learn about our situation, see what we are doing, and hopefully become good friends. The bottom line is that the friendship, support and enthusiasm of volunteers is far more important to us than any amount of money.

Travelling to Tent of Nations:

You can fly to Tel Aviv in Israel, or to Amman in Jordan, and then travel overland to our farm. You can find detailed directions to Tent of Nations and a map here

As you would expect we cannot cover your travel expenses or insurance costs. You should be aware that some insurance companies exclude the West Bank from their cover, so you may want to ask them about this.

In order to get to the Tent of Nations you will have to pass through Israeli border controls and get an Israeli visa at the border. This will allow you to travel in both Israel and the West Bank. For many nationalities you will be able to get a free Israeli tourist visa when you arrive at the border which will last for 3 months. You need to have a passport which is valid for 6 months. For more information please see http://www.goisrael.com/Tourism_Eng/Tourist+Information/Planning+your+trip/Visa.htm#tourist visas

If you wish. it is possible to request not to have an Israeli stamp in your passport, however it is not guaranteed this will be granted. In such cases, you must fill out form 17L including your personal details, and that form shall be stamped by passport control upon entry/exit.

It is safe to visit the Tent of Nations. However, as you should be aware, the Palestinian West Bank is occupied by Israel, who control the area with their soldiers & other forces. You may want to get advice about visiting and should keep informed about the situation before your visit. If you have any concerns or questions then please do email or call us.

You can also find advice about travelling at http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/israel-occupied