Project location: Hveragerði is a small town of about 1,700 inhabitants that lies some 45 km east of Reykjavík. This friendly little community sits on top of a highly active geothermal field, which provides heat for hundreds of greenhouses where fruit, flowers and vegetables are produced throughout the year. Even bananas grow in these greenhouses! The name Hveragerði means ‘hot springs garden.’ Geothermal energy is Hveragerði’s lifeblood, and you probably won’t find such a natural wonder in the middle of a populated area anywhere else in the world. Nearby you will find an even more geothermally active site: Gufudalur, the lovely ‘Steam Valley’ behind the town. This whole valley is full of hot springs, geysers, mud pots, fumaroles and steaming vents.
Our host is a non-profit organisation called the NLFI Rehabilitation and Health Clinic, which is a part of the Natural Health Association of Iceland. Every year approximately 2,000 patients and other guests enjoy their diverse rehabilitation programs, which are focused on an approach that builds self-confidence and personal responsibility for the patients’ own health. The clinic has earned a solid reputation, both in Iceland and internationally, since its foundation in 1955 for personal and effective care of patients. It is one of the two most important rehabilitation clinics in Iceland. In the last years this ongoing camp has been the most popular camp in our organisation.
Work: The Natural Health Association has a horticultural and environmental department, including forestry, gardening, and greenhouses, which is where Worldwide Friends volunteers work most of the time. Volunteers will help with growing the tomatoes, cucumbers and making tea made of Icelandic herbs and also do some environmental work around the property.
The nature of the work depends largely on weather conditions, which can change quickly. Volunteers should bring clothes appropriate for outdoor work, but also clothes for working inside the warm greenhouses. Working hours are usually from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and volunteers will have a one-hour lunch break.
Leisure: Worldwide Friends volunteers have free access to the local geothermally-heated swimming pool. Traditionally, natural pools have played an important social role in Icelandic culture. Most Icelandic pools offer indoor and outdoor swimming, as well as hot tubs and saunas or steam rooms. Hveragerði is known for having great areas for hiking, including the hot river in Reykjadalur.
WF Iceland will also organise reasonably-priced weekend excursions to some of the most popular, beautiful areas and natural wonders that Iceland has to offer. Excursions include unique Icelandic sights, such as glacial lagoons, waterfalls, volcanic and geothermal areas, glaciers, geysers, lava forests, hot-springs, rhyolite mountain ranges, steam-vents or even icebergs.
Accommodation and food: Worldwide Friends volunteers will be staying in a fully equipped bungalow consisting of several double bedrooms and a living room. Volunteers need to bring their own sleeping bag, but beds and sheets are provided. Wireless internet access is provided free of charge.
All meals are provided and cooked by our hosts, the Rehabilitation and Health Clinic. The menu for the project is primarily vegetarian, but two times a week it includes locally-caught fish. The food at the Rehabilitation and Health Clinic is known throughout Iceland for its high quality. The standard of food and accommodation does not get better than in this camp.
Language: A basic knowledge of English is required for this workcamp.
Terminal: Flights arrive at Keflavik International Airport (KEF), just south of Reykjavik, Iceland. WF Iceland will offer a minibus trip from Reykjavik to Hveragerdi for 60 euros, which includes the Golden Circle South Iceland excursion and the return trip back to Reykjavik.
Additional information: There is an extra participation fee of 250 euros for this workcamp.