today I wwoofed...
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.