During my travels in Colombia, I spend a week volunteering at a small family farm in the Santander region of Colombia together with an American girl through the website Work Away. The farm was beautifully located just by the Juan Curi waterfalls which many travelers come to visit.
I was supposed to have stayed for a whole month at the farm but ended up only staying a week because I got ill from some mosquito bites. Read the whole story of how Colombia taught me I’m a city girl here.
In this post, I give a unique insight into how the life is at a small Colombian family farm. Each day is organized more or less the same way.
The sun is slowly rising above the mountaintop. As the sun rises, the animals at the farm awake. And without the need of an alarm, we wake up with them. We get in our working clothes which are dirty from yesterday’s hard work in the field. However, nobody cares because we are all the same. The work in the field will just make us even dirtier.
The purpose is to get started with the work as quickly as possible since the sun by midday makes it almost unbearable to work in the fields. La señora of the farm lights up the fireplace to prepare the first meal of the day.
Breakfast is served which usually includes a soup made of potatoes, a flat corn bread and a cup of tinto – strong Colombian black coffee. The soup is the base of all meals at the farm, and the potato a very popular ingredient in it.
The work in the field starts. It varies but during my stay, we were cutting down cañas (e.g. sugar canes) or clearing the corn and banana fields.
The sun is high in the sky, and it is soon too hot to work. The last hour before lunch we help out with different other tasks where more hands are needed to proceed with the job; hanging up a sign, cutting and carrying wood.
While we had worked in the field la señora has prepared the lunch. The lunch consists of a potato-based soup (like the one in the morning), a plate of rice, lenses, and a piece of meat.
After lunch, we have time off to relax and do what we what. We go to explore the surroundings of the valleys, rivers, and waterfalls – or pet the cute puppies.
When we return, we relax and take shower (only cold water, of course). While the sun passes down by the mountaintop, and it slowly cools down, la señora starts preparing the dinner.
The dinner is ready. And you know what? It consists of a potato soup! And a plate of rice and meat! I must admit that after only a week of potato soup for both breakfast, lunch, and dinner I will have to wait a looong time before eating potatoes again. While we eat the darkness falls around the farm.
By now it is almost completely dark. After the hard work in the field, we are exhausted. The only places with electric lighting on the farm are the kitchen area and the toilets.
So shortly after dinner, we go to sleep. Tomorrow will anyway start early.
Have you ever volunteered abroad or at home? What did you do? And how did you like it? Free feel to share your experiences in the comments below!
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