Now, some people might think this is free labour for the hosts and slave labour for the volunteers. It might be in some places, but it is not supposed to be.
In the first place it is a cultural exchange where people who travel have a safe place to stay and get some experience along the way.
The volunteers are on average 23/24 y/o who take a year off, after university or college studies, before they join the hectic 'adult' world. They travel the world or nearer their native land. I wish it existed when I finished my studies - I would still be traveling probably ;-)
Not all volunteers are that young. People take sabbaticals at any age. Our eldest volunteer, Pat, was 68 and we had a hoot.
Here is Pat helping (and doing a fantastic job) to decorate a cake for friends of ours.
You see, it's not all slave labour. Generally they work 5 hours per day, 5 days per week. They get a comfy room and fantastic food. We take them sightseeing and include them in our family and social life.
Their first task is to clear a bit of land from brambles and gorse that was nearly encroaching onto the house. Not to worry, we've still got plenty of blackberry brambles in other areas on the land.
They are doing a great job.
Young willows have been liberated.
Heaps of gorse and brambles, waiting to dry out and be disposed of.
Here comes Trouble
All vying for the newcomers' attention. And they get plenty of it.