VOLUNTEERS AT WORK (April 18, 24,25 - 2011)
Every year, I am
working on several new projects at my farm. Although I rarely take in
long-term volunteers anymore, a lot of work can get done in a short
time. One of this yearís projects was the clearing of a weeded area in
order to establish several specimen of
a structural bamboo widely grown in South and Central America.
My support this time consisted of John Grady
who spends much of his time doing volunteer work with various
meaningful projects around the island, Daniel who had the best
vegetarian restaurant on the west coast and Guillo, a gifted singer
and painter from Jayuya, who grew up with a farming background. The
first phase of our work went smooth and everyone was happy at the end.
But there were still a few days of hard work
ahead, and just a few days later, Mike Poland offered to come over
from San Juan and help out some more. He and Gretchen had already been
helping months ago with building a milking station for my goats.
Anyone who knows Mike, knows him as the ideal company: he only wants
to help, never be a burden, and even brings his own food and tools
whenever he volunteers for projects. And just when I thought it could
hardly get any better, two more volunteers offered their help: Jorge
Bencosme, a knowledgeable palm enthusiast who has a deep appreciation
for nature and is one of the more ecologically conscious young people
I know here, and finally Christian, an Austrian student, who visited
for the first time. Although he came all the way up from Mayaguez on
his bike, he didnít lose any time and worked hard all afternoon.
Everyoneís spirit was contageously positive and I even had to remind
everyone several times that we had already done our quota and that it
was time to stop, but everyone wanted to continue to work. Itís really
hard to find a better group of volunteers.
By the time day #2
was over, all the rough work was done, and Mike and me were able to
finish the remaining finetuning the next day. I was so inspired when I
saw the results that I staked out the areas for the future
plants right away. The
which I will plant within a few weeks will make a wall that will serve
as a windbreak, give some shade and provide culms for some
construction projects around the farm. Just when we were almost
completely finished, a gentle rain came down, as if reconfirming that
the land is ready now to plant the bamboo.