It was my first day of volunteer work and from the looks of the place , there was much to do. A new plot of land was recently purchased and needed to be weeded and raked. The dead leaves needed to be collected and thrown on top of the newly mulched and turned land. The chickens needed tending and of course the rock war was about to begin. I was volunteering with a couple who had been traveling for four years doing farm work and construction. They were hardworking and extremely knowledgable about permaculture. We worked together, cooked together, and shared stories of our lives. The work they did in only a week and a half changed my view on what it means to travel . It doesn’t have to mean always going to hostels or going on every tour offered. It can be staying in a place and building a connection with the land and people there. I hope to create such a sustaining lifestyle one day.
Permaculture revolves about creating a self sustaining land where everything can be used and repurposed. Raked leaves can provide shade for future gardens and they block the weeds from getting sun readying the land for rainy season. Glass bottles can used for building walls to create shady hangout areas. Paint cans become new planter pots. The idea that things can have a second life is something I love. It’s kind of like traveling. You leave everything behind and the weight of the past is replaced with the weight of your bag. You become a creature of change. A constantly changing person whose biases are proved wrong again and again until nothing is left but just a curious open minded person who wants to understand everyone’s story.
Our first project was to create a better composte pile so the chickens couldn’t spill everything all over the place. We carried at least twenty cinder blocks to the back. Though a short walk, but when carrying lots of cinder blocks it becomes twice as long. Especially in the heat. We brought the wheel barrow and mixed gravel,cement, and water to make the sloppy gray mix. We shoveled the shit into two piles and built a wall with the blocks and gray slop. It took about two hours but when we were done a composte bin appeared. It was not perfect but it would do. Later we slept the afternoon away from the heat hidden in our hammocks. Like bats wrapped up in their wings waiting for the night. We played guitar and sang to the mosquitos while the night rains brought in the smell of lemongrass from the nearby herb garden.