Nástrahy wwoofingu

Vianočná atmosféra stále doznieva. Všetci sme tak trochu spomalili  a venovali sa jeden druhému. To je aj naše posolstvo. Najviac si však prajeme, aby sme mali pohodové dni s rodinou po celý rok. Dosiahnuť to nie je vôbec jednoduché, preto  sme tu. Premýšľame a premýšľame, ako sa chytiť našich veľkých životných zmien, aby sa náš sen stal skutočnosťou. Popri tom robíme wwoofing, teda pomáhame farmárom a rodinám len za nocľah a stravu. Doteraz bol náš wwoofing o dobrých skúsenostiach. No čo čert nechce, raz musí prísť aj tá negatívna. Škoda len, že práve na Vianoce.

kuchyna luxus

Deti papajú pomaranč v kuchyni nášho domu na pláži

Z luxusu rovno na intrák

Pobudli sme už u štyroch hostiteľov. Začali sme vo veľmi skromných podmienkach na Awhifarme. Odtiaľ sme sa presunuli na River Pa farmu pri Wellingtone, kde sme strávili tri dni bohaté na skúsenosti. Farmár Paul nás ubytoval, teda jeden z jeho šiestich wwooferov, v staršom dome. On sám pritom nebol doma, no ponúkol nám pomoc – odpočinúť si a nabrať nové sily na dlhej ceste na Južný ostrov.  U tretej hostiteľky sme si zažili luxus v dome na pláži len pre nás. Ťažšie sa potom privyká na horšie. Aj preto sme ubytovanie u nášho štvrtého hostiteľa brali sprvu až tragicky. Problém bol v ich životnom štýle, ktorý je diametrálne odlišný od toho nášho.

Kábliky, knihy, dvdčka u ITčkara

Manželský pár v stredných rokoch si spokojne žije v malom domčeku na najkrajšom mieste mesta Kaikoura, na najvyššom kopci s výhľadom na zasnežené hory a pod nimi more. Ona je umelkyňa, on IT špecialista. Dom má pekný starožitný nábytok s množstvom pekných doplnkov. Jedinou chybičkou krásy je, že cez všetok neporiadok vkusné zariadenie ani nevidno. Dom pripomína chlapčenskú internátnu izbu. Všade kopec kníh, časopisov a IT výpočtov na kopách, po stole, sedačke, knižnici, všade. Do toho kábliky, dvdčka, usb kľúče atď. Majiteľ sa zrejme drží hesla – všetko sa raz zíjde. Každý centimeter v dome je preto zaprataný vecami, ktorých životnosť už dávno vypršala. Všetko by bolo v poriadku, keby sme päť dní v tomto dome netrávili s našimi zvedavými deťmi. Stalo sa teda, že za mnou prišiel Jakub s pasom jedného z majiteľov –„ Aha čo som našiel.“ – alebo Maroš s klbkom slúchadiel do mobilov.

vyhlad z terasy

Náš výhľad z terasy domu v Kaikoure. Opäť niečo po životnosti, čo vám tu krásu kazí – staré krmivo pre vtáky.

NO baby friendly

Dom nebol vôbec babyfriendly, preto sme trávili dni väčšinou na pláži. No na druhej strane, hostitelia boli k nám veľmi milí. Zverili nám dom, nedali nám žiadnu prácu, len venčiť a kŕmiť dvoch psíkov. Vzali nás do obchodného centra, aby sme s nimi nakúpili na celý týždeň jedlo pre nás, ktoré zaplatili. S Jančim sme si povedali, že vždy lepšie ako na Vianoce kempovať. Aj zlá skúsenosť je dobrá skúsenosť. Doteraz sme si mysleli, že každý hostiteľ si uvedomuje, výhody aj riziká návštevy detí. Ponaučili sme sa. Farmárov sa musíme vopred pýtať, či je ich dom prispôsobený pre deti. Z mesta Kaikoura sme preč len niekoľko dní, no už teraz na to spomíname s humorom. Aspoň sme si zaspomínali na staré internátne časy.

Deti sú filter na farmárov

Doposiaľ sme mali samé dobré skúsenosti. Predpokladám, že je to najmä vďaka našim deťom. Farmárov vyhľadávam na internetovej sieti wwoof.net. Máme tam vytvorený profil, cez ktorý posielame žiadosti o wwoofing na ich farmách. Farmári majú na svojom profile vyplnenú kolónku, či si prajú hostiť aj deti. Väčšia časť farmárov si to neželá. Hostiť deti je omnoho väčšia zodpovednosť. My sme však radi, že ich máme. Filtrujú tie správne farmy, pretože sa nám ozývajú farmári, ktorí nás skutočne chcú spoznať a majú deti radi. Zoznámili sme sa s viacerými dobrovoľníkmi a niektorí sa nám sťažovali, že ich brali ako lacnú pracovnú silu. Farmári, ktorí nás pozývajú si uvedomujú, že k rodine takto pristupovať nemôžu. Doteraz sme boli presvedčení, že takto vnímajú aj podmienky na bývanie. Pre istotu ich na to už vopred upozorníme.

DSC_0428

Ešteže sme na robotu štyria!

Riziká wwoofingu

Drvivá väčšina dobrovoľníkov má pozitívne skúsenosti s wwoofingom na farmách. Niektorí však čelili týmto problémom:

Vnímali ich ako lacnú pracovnú silu. Nebolo to teda o medzikulturálnej výmene, vľúdnosti a učení sa ekofarmárčení.

Nedostávali dostatok jedla, alebo bolo jedlo z nekvalitných surovín.

Slabé ubytovanie. Izby boli špinavé, alebo v nich bola zima.

Práca bola príliš náročná. Hodnotenia však môžu byť veľmi subjektívne. Čo jednému neprekáža, druhý nemusí zniesť.

O skromných podmienkach na Awhifarme sme vopred vedeli. Všetko sedelo podľa pravidiel. Práca na 4 hodiny, dostatok skvelého jedla. Aj hostitelia sa nám zdôverili s výnimočnými problémami s wwoofermi. Paul z farmy River Pa hovorí, že vždy sa nájde jeden z dvadsiatich, ktorý je buď lenivý, lakomý, neochotný alebo inak zneužíva hostiteľa.

Chcem wwoofovať. Ako na to?

Ak sa rozhodnete pre wwoofing, zaregistrujte sa, zaplaťte poplatok a začnite hľadať hostiteľov. Poriadne si prečítajte profily farmárov aj komentáre wwooferov, ktorí ich navštívili a napísali im hodnotenie. Prípadne si farmy vygooglite. Niektoré majú svoje webstránky alebo vlastné blogy. Rozpošlite viac mailov, alebo farmárom rovno zavolajte. Na vytvorení vlastného profilu si dajte záležať. Nezabudnite zdôrazniť čím budete pre hostiteľa prínosný a aký je váš (pozitívny) vzťah k práci. Veľkú váhu majú určite fotky v profile. Nám pri hľadaní veľmi pomáhajú. Druhou možnosťou ako sa dostať za hranice, aj na Nový Zéland, je využiť služby cestovných agentúr. Student Agency ponúka študijné aj pracovné pobyty. Viac na www.studentagency.sk

Odvážlivcom prajeme šťastné kilometre, najlepších hostiteľov, veľa inšpirácie a poznania a tiež veľa nových priateľov. 

wwof na awhif

Dobrovoľníci na Awhifarme pripravujú zmes na maltu.

The Christmas atmosphere still can be felt. We all have slowed down and devoted to each other. This is also our message. However what we wish most is to have easy days with the family all year long. But it is definitely not easy to reach it, therefore we are here. We think and consider how to catch our big life changes to turn our dream to reality. Besides that we wwoof, it means we help farmers and families only for accommodation and food. Until now, our wwoofing has been only about good experience. But hell’s bells, also a negative one had to come. It is a pity that it was just at Christmas.

kuchyna luxus

Children are eating an orange in the kitchen of our house on the beach

From luxury directly to a dorm

We have stayed already at four hosts. We have started in very modest conditions on Awhifarm. From there we moved to the River Pa farm near Wellington where we spent three days rich in experience. Farmer Paul, better said one of his six wwoofers, accommodated us in an older house. Paul was not at home but he offered help to us – to relax and to regenerate forces on the long way to the Southern Island.  At the third host, we experienced luxury in a house on the beach that was only for us. Then it is harder to get used to something worse. Also that was the reason why we considered the accommodation at our fourth host almost tragically from the beginning. The problem was in their lifestyle that is diametrically different from ours.

Cables, books, DVD’s at an IT geek

A middle-aged couple live pleased in a small house at the most beautiful place of Kaikoura town, on the highest hill with a view to snow-covered mountains and the sea under them. She is an artist, he is an IT specialist. The house has nice ancient furniture with plenty of pretty complements. The fly in the ointment is that the elegant furniture is not visible because of the mess everywhere. The house reminds a boys’ dormitory room. A lot of books, magazines and IT calculations in piles, on the table, on the sofa, in the bookshelf, everywhere. Plus cables, DVD’s, flash discs etc. Probably the owner has a motto – everything can be used one day. So each centimetre in the house is packed with things whose lifetime has gone long time ago. Everything would be OK if we should not spend five days in this house with our curious children. So it happened that Jakub came to me with a passport of one of the owners – “Look what I have found.“ – or Maroš with a bunch of cell phone earphones.

vyhlad z terasy

Our view from the terrace of the house in Kaikoura. Again something beyond its lifetime that destroys the beauty –old feed for birds.

NON baby friendly

The house was not baby friendly at all, therefore we spent the days mostly on the beach. But on the other hand, the hosts were very kind to us. They have offered their house to us, have not assigned any work to us, only to walk out and feed two dogs. They took us to a mall to buy food for the whole week for us, and they paid for it. We agreed with Janči that it is still better than to camp at Christmas.J Also a bad experience is a good experience. Until now we thought that each host realised benefits and risks of visitors with children. We have learned a lesson. We have to ask the farmers in advance whether the house is ready for children. We are only few days away from Kaikoura but we already now mention this with fun. At least we remembered old dormitory times.

Children are a filter for farmers

Until now, we have had only good experience. I assume that it was mainly thanks to our children. I search famers at wwoof.net. We have a profile created there and we use it to send application for wwoofing on their farms. Farmers have a box in their profiles whether they are willing to host also children. Most of the famers does not wish so. It is much bigger responsibility to host children. But we are happy we have them. They filter the right farms because we are contacted by farmers who really want to meet us and who like children. We have met several volunteers and some of them claimed they were used as cheap labour. The farmers who invite us realise that they cannot deal in this way with a family. Until now, we were sure they perceived so also the accommodation conditions. Now, to be on the safe side, we note this in advance.

DSC_0428

Risks of wwoofing

An overwhelming majority of volunteers has positive experience with wwoofing on farms. However, some of them have faced these problems:

They were perceived as cheap labour. So it was not about an intercultural exchange, amiability and learning, but rather about working.

They did not receive enough food, or the food was of low quality.

Poor accommodation. Rooms were dirty or cold.

Too demanding work. However, these evaluations can be very subjective. What one does not care, another maybe cannot withstand.

We knew about modest conditions on Awhifarm in advance. Everything was according to the rules. Work for 4 hours, enough great food.

How to do it?

If you decide for wwoofing, you should register, pay the fee and start looking for hosts. Carefully read profiles of the farmers as well as comments of wwoofers who have visited them and written an evaluation. Or you can google the farms. Some of them have websites or blogs. Send more e-mails or directly call the farmers. Take care when creating your profile. Don’t forget to emphasize what will be your benefits for the host and how (positive) is your approach to work. Pictures in your profile are definitely important. For us, they are very helpful.

We wish all brave people lucky kilometres, best host, lot of inspiration and knowledge and many new friends.

Five things that maybe surprise

Zealand has two islands that used to be untouched paradise especially for birds for a long time. The biggest bird of the world, Moa, with the height of 3.7 metres was living here. Until the first inhabitants, Maoris, came, they had no predators because no mammals were living on the islands. Today it is completely different. The country is the third biggest sheep breeder in the world. There is six times more sheep than inhabitants there, thus more than 30 million pieces of sheep and less than five million New Zealanders. But what has not changed is the beautiful nature. A stroll in a forest reminds of the ancient world where dinosaurs walked around. Huge palms tangled with two metres high fern, trees grown with moss, hot geysers, wild rivers, volcanoes covered with snow, limpid water. Nature created for sci-fi, for shooting of the Lord of the Rings.

What else is different than at home?

1.       Cars drive on the left-hand side, only my husband sometimes on the right-hand side J The islands that are part of the British Commonwealth have taken over the whole range of British traditions, community system and lifestyle. Not long time ago, most of New Zealanders with origins from Great Britain, i.e. Pakeha (name for people of European descent) claimed that their homeland is Great Britain. Only in last years, national awareness and own kiwi (based on the national symbol, the unique night bird) culture have been built.

2.       In relation to the British domination, in New Zealand bathrooms you may be surprised by two water taps. One for hot water, the other one for cold. If you are in such a bathroom, it is very funny to reach the right water temperature. For example, when washing socks in the washbasin.

3.       There are no billboards here! None at the roads, none at attractions, none at viewpoints. Information tables at roads navigate you to interesting places. So there is nothing to disturb you when looking at the beautiful country.

4.       Bare feet. Many people, mainly children, have bare feet. Not only on the beach, but also in towns, parks, at schools…While we are wearing windbreakers, anoraks and trainers, New Zealanders run in T-shirts and flip-flops. Very lightly worn children are surprising for Slovak parents. Even at 16 degrees, you can see little girls barefoot, in summer dresses.

5.       You won’t find any radiators in their homes. Even though temperatures at winter nights decrease to light freeze, New Zealanders do not heat. Thus, my husband has assessed that there would be no work for him as a heating designer here.

New Zealanders are real tough fellows. Furthermore, they are very natural and friendly. The country wants to maintain the image of rural community and it also means that people behave like in a village. Everybody greets all people and talk to them. In Europe, you would probably suspect such people that they want something from you. But here it is normal. They are simply interested in you.

wwof na awhif

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