Green Banana Paper is seeking volunteers!
We are looking for skilled and motivated people to work with Green Banana Paper in exchange for a professional and cultural experience. Currently our most desired skills and needs include:
Our company needs are dynamic and always evolving and changing. If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity and do not see your skills listed here, please don't hesitate to contact us.
SUBMIT AN APPLICATION and we will be in touch with you as soon as we can.
Please continue reading for detailed information about life on the remote island of Kosrae!
Experience life in a tucked-away tropical paradise. Your front yard will be a sandy beach with a large reef-flat to meander out amongst grasses and sea cucumbers. Gentle breezes rustle the coconut fronds and banana trees. Fiery orange sunrises welcome the new day, and the constant hum of the ocean is an ever-present reminder of the beauty and natural wonders that surround us on our island home.
An internship with Green Banana Paper is a multi-month immersion to life and culture in Micronesia. This is a very unique opportunity for individuals ready to fully experience a remote island culture and work with a sustainable development company. Many elements of our work engages with people in the US and other first-world countries around the globe.
Volunteering at Green Banana Paper consists of mastering your job or project and then training a local employee to carry on the work. This could mean designing a new banana paper product and teaching current workers how to make it, creating original graphic designs, taking high quality photos and managing social media outlets, mastering technical equipment and sharing how to maximize our printers and cutting machines, or learning about Green Banana Paper and being a sales rep at various events.
While this island is a paradise, it is still a very real world with a culture that has its own raw realities. Here is a breakdown of important lifestyle elements to life in Kosrae. Please thoroughly read our About Us and Blog pages to get a better understanding of Green Banana Paper and the island lifestyle.
Micronesia is hot and humid. You will sweat effortlessly and all the time. Doing any kind of work in the sun? Immediately break a sweat. Moving around? You’ll sweat. We are just 5° North from the equator and the sun is extremely strong. Constant hydration is vital to thriving here and you will become very aware of your time in the sun, even if you are just walking a short distance.
This is the spot to be for bananas! And coconuts are a mere 50 cents each. Breadfruit, taro, banana, and coconut are the four main local foods, and rice and pork are also very common in a local diet. You can buy fish from a marina and there are a handful of vegetable stands, though they are not super reliable. Container ships bring goods to Kosrae every six weeks. When the ship comes, we stock up for a while. We tend to eat a lot of frozen veggies, beans, and other imported goods.
There are two restaurants on the island at each of the resorts. They are both two miles down the road from Green Banana Paper. Sometimes there is a movie night with the film projected on an old sail at Bully’s Restaurant.
Religion is an immense part of the local culture and activities on Sundays are restricted. There are over 11 churches on the 42-sq mile island. You may practice any religion you choose, but you must follow the Sunday rules. Culturally, people are not allowed to work or take anything from the ocean on Sundays. We may do as we like on our own property, but for example, you may go hiking but not scuba diving on a Sunday.
There are significant gender roles on the island. Embrace the relaxed language where everyone is a boy or girl, not man or woman. There are strong cultural ideas of proper activity and dress for guys and girls. As a foreigner, you may experiment with these boundaries more than a local, but know that gender roles are very real, and especially for girls.
The social life is very limited. The island is very small and there are very few people here. There are no cafes, movie theaters, etc. There is a very small group of westerners here. Everyday 25 locals come to Green Banana Paper and you can get to know them. Please be prepared to spend significant time on your own. The island population is approximately 6,600 people, and less than 20 are Americans.
Recreation & Exploring Kosrae:
Hike in the jungle, explore waterfalls, surf, paddle board, rent a kayak, SCUBA dive with Micronesia Eco Divers, meet sailors passing through, and there is all the time in the world for your own creative projects.
There are plenty of special spots to explore in Kosrae! Please be aware that all land is private so you will often need to hire a local guide. We can help you get set up or go on adventures together.
There is a two-bedroom apartment attached to the back of Matt’s house. There is no air-conditioning. We have fans and sleep comfortably at night with that. It is not uncommon for the power to go out and it can get hot without the fans. We have rainwater catchment tanks for drinking water. There is a washer and dryer in the apartment.
Green Banana Paper is home to two friendly dogs. You may be asked to care for them as needed.
The hardest part is getting here. United Airlines is the only airline that services the island and we currently have six flights per week (three to Hawaii and three to Guam). We recommend the United MileagePlus program to get the best deal. If you have access to the MileagePlus program, it's just 35,000 miles to get from the USA to Kosrae.
Once you’re here, you can get a Kosraean Driver’s License ($6) and have shared access to our vehicles. There is also a taxi service on island.
We request at least a one-month commitment.
Room & board, stipend ~$300/month.
Volunteer from Sept. 2017 – May 2018.
Projects at Green Banana Paper: blog writing & website content, factory organization systems, product development, public relations work.
Volunteering at Green Banana Paper was an excellent way for me to blend my interests of learning about a culture different from my own and working with an environmentally- and socially-responsible development company. I also learned a bit of the Kosraean language, went on a few weekend trips to Walung (a village only accessible by boat) with local friends, explored numerous waterfalls, learned how to SCUBA dive, and was here for grand festivities during Christmas and Cultural Day in April. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or are curious to learn more about volunteering at Green Banana Paper.