Initially, I didn’t have Molino de Guadalmesí on my list, as they need volunteers to stay for a minimum 3 (!) months and be fluent in Spanish. It was a last minute decision to book a 5-day stay as a guest, stopping over on my way from Ronda to Sevilla (via Tarifa). This eco village is centered around an old mill alongside the Rio Guadalmesí.
The landscape and atmosphere of the place are breathtaking. Where else can you have rolling hills, the Mediterranean, a crystal clear river and the continent of Africa all within arms length?
The Molino is also the first project on my trip that is actively converting from private ownership to a community-owned foundation. And in practice it can be felt that Johnny (who has been at the Molino for 12 years) is transitioning control to the ‘Molinos’ and ‘Aldeanos’ (those are varying stages of involvement/seniority). The first step to any of this, however, is a 3 month stay as a voluntari@. And there’s certainly enough work to do. On top of the 21 goats (see header image) there are chickens, a massive garden and various buildings to look after.
The Molinos don’t mind the guests getting their hands dirty, so I tried my best to help out with goat herding/milking, and building a contraption to save the trees from the chickens…
Community management seems to come naturally at the Molino. There is just a basic sense of mutual respect. There are also daily after-breakfast games and a talking session around the bonfire on monday nights.
All meetings are in Spanish, which – although tricky for my – is a good idea to help integrate the project in the neighbourhood and avoid ‘eco-colonialism’.
I had an amazing time here and am definitely planning to come back!
But for now it’s time to move on to Los Portales with a quick stopover in Sevilla.