To be honest, I have been struggling with how to write about the second farm where we volunteered. We had an absolutely beautiful experience at the first farm. We were embraced by the family whole heartedly. We grew, learned and laughed. (If any of you are interested in volunteering on this farm, please contact me and I will give you the necessary information.) The second farm, however, was a different story. I suppose this is the risk of entering a situation based only on what you have seen online. Having already made a two-week commitment, we found the environment to be hostile and uncomfortable. The farm owner was disrespectful, impatient and unkind. We picked up on this little by little during the first few days. When we were forced to shovel dirt as a punishment for not leaving her pancakes in the morning, however, we snapped. That day, we booked our hostels and planned to leave the farm early.
Though I am still processing what I learned from this experience, the biggest takeaway so far was a lesson in my own autonomy. I can always leave. Always. It was a matter of putting our well-being and health first. Looking out the bus window on our way back to the city, I was elated. Relieved and elated.
It was a shame, however, to leave the beauty of the region earlyl. It was located in San Gerardo de Rivas. This mountainous area is home to hot springs, hiking trails and waterfalls. The following photos are from the Cloud Bridge Nature Preserve, a reforestation project. We hiked the preserve with the other volunteers from the farm. It was a joyful escape for the day. And luckily, we made it back to the farm just before the afternoon rain.
I am planning a future post on what I learned from my first Workaway experience. Stay tuned.