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.
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.
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
Guaduas, 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.