3 April 2019 – Working in an organic farm in Barbosa, Colombia

If you read my last blog, you’d know that I recently caught a bus from Medellin to Barbosa to start my next Workaway. I was in desperate need to be immersed in nature and to have a routine again.

What did I think before?

I applied for about 10 Workaways and 3 places responded. There was a hostel and two organic farms.

The hostel seemed nice but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do (I’m kind of sick of hostels now)

And when the boss from the first farm told me about the job, it didn’t sound too appealing to me. When I asked him if all the meals were included and his response disheartened me.

Boss: “Normally we share our produce but at the moment we don’t have anything to share unfortunately. We are in desperate need of restoring our garden in preparation for our inaugural party at the end of the month.”

I was immediately turned off when I saw this and even more turned off when one of my fellow traveler friends read his response and said “it looks like this farm is falling apart – find another one”

The next day, I got a response from another farm – they asked me if I spoke Spanish and eventually sent me an e-mail in Spanish describing the job. Everything sounded so perfect – the place was beautiful, they had a nice community, you got up and did projects whenever you wanted, you cooked together, did yoga and exercise together, etc….but there was one small issue I had with this place – they wanted 20-30k pesos per day to work there.

As much as I wanted to go there, I didn’t like the idea of paying to work because I could pay that price and stay at a hostel without having to work.

I could have waited for longer for more replies but by this time, I was so desperate for some direction and to get away from the city after my Spanish course that I decided to take the first farm offer.

I messaged the guy back and confirmed I accepted to work there and he happily confirmed everything with me.

This was about two weeks before I had to start work.

What’s it been like?

I’ve only been here for two days but so far, I’m loving it.

The place itself is beautifully renovated (it’s huge, modern and cozy) and it has stunning views of the mountains everywhere you look. It’s pretty funny though because I’m staying in a tool shed by myself when all the other volunteers are staying inside the house. I kind of feel like I’m a girl that’s been held captive (lol – even though that’s not the case).

The benefit? I get my own privacy (a private room) PLUS my own outdoor toilet and shower.

Like my work in an eco-village in Thailand and coffee farm in Vietnam, you don’t hear any traffic and there’s virtually no pollution. Instead, you see the clear blue sky (with the occasional rain) and wake up to the sound of flowing water, sometimes the wind and animals. Last night I looked up at the sky and saw lots of stars ~ I absolutely love it when you can see them.

It’s just extremely tranquil and I immediately felt so much more at peace as soon as I arrived here.

Admittedly, up until now, I wasn’t really enjoying Colombia that much because I was just in the big cities. This is definitely my fault but to be honest, all the beautiful recommended natural sites I’ve heard also have been super touristic which is enough to turn me off going to a place. It’s probably bad not to see it for myself but that’s why I didn’t bother and I just waited to come to Barabosa instead. I suspected it would be beautiful and non-touristic…and I was definitely right.

Barbosa was definitely what I was looking for.

We live up in the mountain (you can see the whole city from the farm), a 20 minute walk from the city center (but then coming back up from the center, it’s a 40 minute walk because it’s so steep to get back to the farm). You have to stock up on your food and ration it otherwise you’ll have to keep coming up and down the mountain which isn’t the funnest thing to do.

They also have a lovely German Shepperd here πŸ™‚

I’ve been working with a Scottish couple, a girl from Germany and America as well as an adopted Ethiopian guy who was raised in Australia. They are all really nice people (except for the Scottish girl – she was extremely cold for some reason) but I must admit – it’s been so weird for me to work with such young people. The Scottish couple were a little bit older (23 and 25) and the Ethiopian guy is 25 as well but the two girls – they are about 19 years old. It’s so strange because I can really feel the age gap between us and the lack of commonality we have.

They are so full of energy, ready to see and experience the world whereas me? I’m a withered lady who’s getting-old and cynical.

Sometimes it’s hard to be around them because they are so loud, full of energy and they talk about the things which young adults talk about ~ things which unfortunately don’t interest me…but they are very lovely and warm people and at least they are pleasant to work with and to talk to.

And the Ethiopian guy? It’s such an interesting dynamic because he’s from Australia – it’s been so long since I’ve been surrounded by an Australian on a constant basis (I’ve never actually encountered any Australians and traveled with them on this whole journey can you believe? In 8 months!!) – it’s definitely been nice to have that familiarity, talking about things in Australia and using Australian slang. It’s been so humorous for me to actually hear such an Australian accent so much again. I’m definitely enjoying it more than I expect (because when I travel, I normally like to interact more with foreigners because I tend to learn a lot about their culture, different views and ways of life…and if I’m lucky – I get to practice more Spanish).

The other main issue I have with the volunteers here is that we all speak English to each other.

I’m scared that I’ll forget my Spanish because I’m really not practicing it anymore…and then the wifi and internet is so shit here too that I can’t even watch Netflix…

Looks like I’m just going to have to read and write to learn πŸ˜”

My boss?

He’s an American guy who didn’t plan to come to Colombia and ended up finding love here – 9 years later, they are married and working on this eco-organic farm project. He cooks breakfast for us at 6 in the morning and then gives us the tasks we need to do for the day. He’s super chilled and is at least speaking to me in Spanish so I can practice ☺

The work itself physically hard but it’s such a good workout. I’m also eating healthy again and going on a drinking detox which has been absolutely wonderful.

I’ve got another two weeks here but I get the feeling it’s going to be amazing.

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