today I wwoofed...

The car came to a halt on a gravelled incline driveway as Luke and I climbed out. We stole a brief, confused, and a wee bit worried, glance at each other and then wandered around what we hoped to be the back of the house. The entire time I was really hoping that we were wandering on the "correct" proprety, in hopes to avoid an angry yell from a local unhappy farmer. I didn't even know if New Zealand farmers were in fact "yellers", but really, I had no need to find out now did I? Around the corner and across the grass we tentatively walked up to a beautiful setting. A stunning view of the rolling hills landscape, chickens, pigs and cows and a backyard bbq with the entire family! Terri, her kids, Terri's sister, her kids, all the kids' friends, the baby nicknamed "fatty" and of course, the roley poley dog named Pudge. Immediately we were welcomed to table just as everyone sat down. Child after child stared at us as though were were foreigners as we ate. Although, I suppose we were foreigners weren't we? Luke immediately became Luke Skywalker which all the boys took to very quickly! As we finished up dinner with this massive new family, Luke and I stole another look at each other as if to say, "Here we go! Our first wwoofing experience."

After the intial overwhelming moment of meeting the whole family and all their friends at once over dinner, wwoofing became a very enjoyable arrangement. To wwoof is to engage in world wide opportunities on organic farms. It is an online organization developed primarily to provide support to organic farmers by means of eager-to-work travellers in exchange for a clean, quiet bed and three meals a day. BINGO! All travellers are focused on food and looking for new and exciting experiences, so this is a fool-proof concept. Wwoof hosts give the wwoofers a list of duties or projects they hope to have completed in the 2+ weeks of their visit. Wwoofers aim to complete approximately four hours of good solid work per day, depending on the requirements of the wwoof host of course. Completeing physical labour while having the joy of being outside is very satisfying after weeks of simply "touring around".

I have learned things about animals, organic growth and natural eating habits that I had never thought were necessary before. The experience of milking a cow, eating freshly lain chicken eggs, picking out piglettes to raise and then eat, planting an entire vegetable garden and learning just how many food items can be created purely from ingredients found around the yard has been truly astonishing! And being welcomed into their home as a part of the family has taught me more about New Zealand culture than I ever would have learned in a museum. It also feels good to provide those helping hands in order to give mom a few more minutes each day to spend with her kids - essential in any and all cultures!

The kids warmed up to us very quickly, as they are used to new wwoofers entering their family every few weeks or so. The house, the cats, the kids and the dog all feel like home now. Terri has told us that she has hosted many different wwoofers from all over the world - Europe, Peru, Malaysia, Canada and the USA, ...What an amazing opportunity for her children to hear different accents and learn about other parts of the world from their own living room. They have a world map with pegs in the city and country that each wwoofer is from. Wwoofing is a fantastic way to save money and have richer experiences while travelling, and eat much better too! (no more beans & white rice for two whole weeks! woohoo!) It also is a great way for organic farmers to open their doors to willing helping hands who are usually eager to learn. The opportunity to experience different cultures without leaving your land; sounds like a win-win if you ask me.
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My first time milking a cow. This lady's name is "Licky"
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Luke's first time playing on a sit-down lawn mower. He enjoyed himself!
Daphne Goode
04/19/2012 9:42pm

Hi Deanna---it is so wonderful hearing about your travels and knowing you are so happy in learning new things. We have friends who take wwoofers on their Cowichan Valley farm, and here's a small world story. While we were attending a wedding in Hawaii last year, we met a young man from Columbia who was working in a restaurant and had enjoyed his time in the US, but desperately wanted to see Canada. He had a bit of an agricultural background, so we told him about wwoofing, and set him up with our friends in the Cowichan Valley. They were just about to start a term of wwoofing, but Canadian Immigration failed our Columbian friend, and he was very disappointed at being turned down because his visa had run out. We understand he is trying to renew. Anyway, we have enjoyed many experiences with guests at our friend's farm, like you, they were travellers from other lands. So, it was very cool hearing about your experiences. Still looks like very nice weather by the photos, with you and Licky and Luke on the ride'em lawn mower...enjoy your time in NZ...I will look forward to your next installment!!!
Tomorrow is a WestShore meeting...wish you were going to be there but happy you won't be, actually, and are still enjoying your new adventure!
Hugs,
Daphne

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Sweet Dea
04/21/2012 11:53pm

Daphne.. isn't it so interesting when you realize how small the world can be.. and that this experience that really is beginning to be my favourite part of this whole trip.. may be similar to the experience that many other people have had at your friends farm? Life is all about experiences isn't it?

Enjoyed your comment "wish you were going to be there but happy you won't be, actually" ... that's how i feel too!! :)

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Melsa
04/21/2012 7:33am

My dearest Phophanna,

You are Luke are so cute - it wasn't until this very moment, reading about your first fresh chicken egg, cow milking, and Luke's ride'em experience that I fully realized, how really and truly "city folk" your roots are despite your camp councilor background and Luke's 100 mile beginnings ;) I'm so glad you two are getting to experience this in your travels – judging by the photos you are both naturals!

Happy farming!
Love Melsa

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Sweet Dea
04/21/2012 11:51pm

ha ha ha.. oh melsa.. it's true.. I really am a city girl through and through. But! I do give everything a try! I may be cringing on the inside and desperately holding back the urge to squeal and run away screaming.. but that's for me to know! hahaha.

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04/23/2012 1:27am

I'd love to see that map!

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