Food, Lodging and Travel
Up until recently, volunteers have been housed in a volunteer house in a quiet part of the island. Presently, volunteers need to arrange and pay for their own lodging for the duration of your stay and we can advise on different options to choose from.
You will also be responsible for preparing all of your own food. Food is not included in the project fee and so you should aim to budget for your food at least $350 per month, which you can use to buy your supplies at the local grocery store. There is also a local farmer called Hazel’s Vegetables who sells his produce near the airport- ask a member of staff to show you where. There are also a few restaurants on the island you can visit.
Health, weather, facilities
The climate on Statia is known as a tropical dry climate. It is warm year round, ranging from 25 to 35 degrees, with a gentle ocean breeze. Rainfall occurs during the rainy season, but only for short spells. Oranjestad is the capital of Statia, which caters for facilities such as internet access, 2 banks, post office and a few local shops.
There are no health hazards to be aware of for Statia, except for sunburn possibly or mosquito bites. You can drink the water straight from the tap in most establishments but ask before doing so as it may come from a cistern. The island is very peaceful, and there are no problems with crime or safety.
How to get there?
In general, you can travel from your home country to St. Maarten (Air France, KLM fly on a regular basis from Europe, American Airlines and others from the USA). From there, get a connecting flight with WinAir (www.fly-winair.com) to St. Eustatius. This is a local airline that flies there, flights usually take about 20-30 minutes and there are several flights a day. Prices can range from 250-250 USD return. There is also the opportunity to use the Makana ferry (www.makanaferryservice.com) between Statia, Saba, and St Maarten, this can take up to 3 hours. It is recommended to take sea sickness pills when taking the ferry, as it can be quite rough depending on the weather. The price for the ferry is about $100.
Type of volunteers needed
You should be 18 years old or over, fit, healthy and capable of carrying out strenuous manual work in all weather conditions in a hot climate. The upper age limit is generally 50 years old, due to the strenuous nature of the physical activities in this project. We can be flexible with placing older volunteers than this though on a case by case basis, as we assess all applications individually, particularly if you have a lot of outdoors or manual work experience – please email us if you have any questions on this. No specific skills/qualifications are needed (but advanced PADI diving certification is required), but those with previous experience in manual conservation work, trail work, gardening, sea turtle monitoring etc. would be particularly useful, as well as those who are self-motivated. We need people who take their own initiative and are flexible. Keep in mind that the programme is an NGO with limited funds and capacity. Tools and equipment can get broken, so you have to be able to overcome these adversities. You will work in a cross-cultural environment, so the success of your volunteer project depends on being accepting of alternative practices from your own. The project will especially appeal to those with an interest in conservation, tropical botany and marine biology. Anyone with additional skills, such as ornithology are especially welcome.
Interns and volunteers who are not Dutch or US citizens are now required to obtain a work permit to volunteer here for any period of time. Dutch and US citizens can stay up to 3 months without this, but if they wish to stay longer they will have to go through the same process. The cost for this process is $248. For the work permit, the applicants are required to provide a valid certificate of good conduct with an apostille stamp of the countries that they have resided in the past 5 years, and a proof of means of existence (which amounts of half of the minimum wage of Statia ($850 per month), however unfortunately this needs to be funding from a university / loan / scholarship etc., and cannot be from savings. For this reason, we are currently only accepting applications from US and Dutch nationals.