Friday, 24 March 2017

Volunteering at Curaçao

A few days ago I returned from Curaçao. I spent three weeks there. Maybe you think: “Curaçao, Caribbean, beaches, palm trees, dolphins, blue drinks”? Yes, that's Curaçao too. And I did visit a beach and swim in the Caribbean Sea. But I did a lot more.

During those three weeks I stayed at the 'kunuku' (plantation) of Aishel. She has bananas and papayas and other fruit trees, a field full of large pumpkins, nice herbs and a small nursery (mostly moringa trees). Her land is large, half of it is all 'mondi' (nature, wood). Some twenty meters from her own house there's a wooden cabin. That was my 'vacation home'. But not yet the first night. It had to be tidied up and cleaned first. So the first night I slept in a hammock between the trees. I prefered that over sleeping on the couch in the living room, even though there was some rain. Next day we made the cabin ready for my stay. 
 bananas and papayas 

Aishel is a busy woman, she has a lot to do, not only on her plantation. So she needed help. I got some tasks to do at the plantation: watering the plantation (opening a tap in a drip system, waiting for 5 minutes, then closing this one and opening the next one, etc.) each morning; watering the nursery twice a day (with a hose) and cutting the tree-killing rubber vines (Cryptostegia grandiflora). And I did some household jobs. 

There are more jobs to do, but these ask for strong muscles … Now sometimes Aishel calls a German student, a young man who likes doing tough work. Instead of paying for the gym he now gets paid for it. And he gets a nice tan in the burning sun. Of course Aishel would prefer having volunteers doing this kind of work too. That's why I promised her to write this ad:

WWOOFER(s) needed!
At the beautiful Caribbean island of Curaçao urgent help needed for an organic plantation. Do you wake up early every morning? Do you love a tropical climate? Are you in good condition? Are you more of a worker than a talker? Can you recognise the bad plants from the good ones? Are you persisting? Do you like camping in a non-luxurious accomodation (your own tent, a hammock or a wooden cabin)? Are you not afraid of tiny bugs (that might sting or bite)? Yes, are you that person? Then this will be the perfect vacation or 'sabattical' for you! You only pay for your own transportation and for the food that doesn't grow in the plantation. I recommend it, I enjoyed it very much and will return there as soon as I can!

While I was there an outdoor bathroom was built, of pallet wood. When that's finished an outdoor kitchen will be made next to it. So the life of the camping guests will become a little better … you won't have to use the bathroom and the kitchen in Aishel's own house, like I did.

-Inge Leonora-den Ouden-