What an incredible place and experience
I wanted to volunteer on a farm and had been browsing on helpx looking for the right place, but it takes time, you need to work out where you will be etc and I had not made it happen yet.
One of the girls I met at Hostal Izychuluma said she was going to one and the owners were coming up to the hostel to pick her up. She showed me the spec, and biodynamic stuck out, it was convenient, close by, would be super handy and save me any more research I thought.
I went with her to meet the owners and see if they needed any more volunteers and if it felt right it could fit perfectly with the end of my visa.
I met them, Walter and Susan, and we agreed I would go there the following Monday,. Perfect.
We met in the village there was one other volunteer there, a guy and we piled all the stuff into the jeep, Walters wife was staying in town for an extra few days so it was just the 3 of us.
The drive was stunning through the Mountains then onto a rough track where we literally drove over the River 3 times, its clearly a road that is not passable in heavy rain.
About 50 mins later we arrive at the Finca. It is jaw dropping.
In the middle of nowhere, 360 view of the Mountains, green, trees, cows, goats, chickens, donkeys and a dog.
Yunis, the other volunteer (a young attractive, and hilarious French Algerian guy) and I looked at each other in obvious agreement, this was a great move.
I had no idea what I was going to be asked to do, we arrived later in the afternoon and got shown our rooms. I got the best one, upstairs a proper built room and Yunis took one of the huts in the garden. They looked pretty dusty and mosquitoey to me, but he seemed cool
By the time we did this then reconvened to discuss dinner and the next days itineray, I had started to sneeze.
I asked if they had a cat, that's what it felt like, but they didn't, not in the house. I had also taken out some blankets in the room, so I thought it could be that, its not unusual for me to have minor allergies to cats and house dust, I did not realise at the time I was going to have the worst hay fever I have ever experienced.
The spectacular setting of the farm was worth it though. What a place for a Retreat I thought, that's how I see stunning settings.
We met with Christian a local farmer who had been there for 7 years, him and Walter got the place going, planting, organising, building and all the incredible amount of work it takes to organise the land. And Jose, he has only been there a few months, but big into the land and keeping it pristine, he was a wealth of knowledge and happy, open disposition.
Yunis and I go with Jose to weed the vegetable beds. Perfectly nice work, and an ok temperature, a bit hazy so we did not get the full pelt of the sun.
Jose has no english, which was good for me, he just chatted away and I think I understood most of it. I was happy just to be hearing spanish as I didn't really hear any at the hostel.
In the afternoon we had a lesson on biodynamic farming and what it actually means, with Walter. I smiled when I noticed the clock, the Power of Now. Me and Jose above.
I knew Biodynamic worked by the moon, but I did not know it also went with the Astrological signs and Elemental beings.
This was a true mind and eye opener.
"Each farm or garden is viewed as an integrated whole, as a living organism in its own right. Like a human being, a farm is made up of many different organs and systems. When these are managed and brought together in a dynamic way, they interact positively with one another to support the health and well-being of the whole. And like a human being, each farm is unique, with its own personality and identity. The holistic expression of a farm’s unique potential is referred to as the “farm individuality.”
Harnessing the energy of the Cosmos, through the land, into the food and then through our bodies. How do you like the sound of that.
Didn't take Yunis and I long to overuse the word Cosmic to our great hilarity for 2 weeks.
If we do not harness this powerful energy, we may not be able to take our thoughts through to actions. Hmmmm food for thought, this is what I deal with daily with my clients and mycellf.
It was a luxury for me to prepare nutritious food again, I have not done this since I left home. Going to the greenhouse and picking the greens, pulling the carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and eating the oranges, lemons, papayas and mangoes straight from the trees. We just missed avocado season, bummer.
I was in Cosmic nutrition Heaven.
We had a lovely week, I pruned tomatoes, weeded, and just enjoyed good food and the stunning setting. The hayfever came and went, annoying but ignorable, I tapped and tried to let the body deal with it.
There is another fantastic feature in this farm, at the bottom of the garden there are 2 rivers, one that provides Mother Natures jacuzzi.
The most amazing thing to do when you are hot after your weeding and digging.
There are also cows on the farm which is invaluable when you are self sufficient, they make so many worthwhile products from manure through to cheese.
One had a baby calf when we were there, that blew me away, seeing this gorgeous little thing stoat about the field, from the darkness of his mamas womb to this incredible Finca, wow, ma nature.
Yunis got on with the milking, he was up early everyday doing the do, and then they separated the animals at night, which seemed weird to us, and when it was just us at the weekend, that caused us more hilarity.
Yunis made cheese, yogurt, sour cream, condensed milk, kefir and jam, it was so amazing to see all this, and the different things that you could do.
Everything was alive and fresh and full of Cosmic energy.
We also did a healing swap, I did some energy work with him and he gave me an abdominal, painful massage. He was really good, but it was not a go to sleep affair.
He is multi talented, wine exporting, ex trendy wine bar owner, yoga teacher, masseuse, free dive teacher, speaks Korean, French, Arabic, English and Spanish. And he is only 30!
And he is a dancer. I was drumming one night and he just started dancing round the kitchen, sooooooo cool! A force to be reckoned with in the best possible way.
His Scottish is not that good mind you, he looked at me blankly daily.
Walter has been making cheese for 45 years, so he was a pro, and we could get the milk then have cheese the next day. He is a fascinating, lovely, quiet, humble man who has farmed all his life and is now enjoying learning new things, healing, drumming, spirtual practises and a load of other things, super impressive to see my generation and older still taking on the World.
His wife Susan is vivacious and bright and has an amazingly altruistic project called Kins innovation. www.kinsinnovation.org
KINS networks practice “heart-mind” collaboration to achieve the most daunting of global sustainability goals working without pay. See the science behind “heart-mind” athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=237WCALmJXQ
They are a powerful pair and have a place in Vilcabamba where they go there every Friday and come back on Monday afternoon. That left us on the farm just chilling for the weekend, it was beautiful. But for some reason my hayfever went into overdrive. Sneezing, nose running, and mad mental itching in my nose, throat and ears, which affected my sleep and much as I tapped, my energy was defo dulled.
On the Monday they arrived back with 2x18 year old German girl volunteers.
And another family with 2 young kids.
They were here on a mission for the land, a Spirit house is being built an area that the Kogi tribe from Colombia had recommended. I will do another blog on this story because it is fascinating and mind expanding and too long to fit in here.
Where was everyone going to sleep, I assumed the girls would come with me, but it looked like I was getting put out for the family, which made sense, but not when you have hayfever. More itching and mosquitos could push me over the edge.
However Sylvie, the mama picked up straight away on my thoughts which impressed me hugely, she said no to putting me out and that they could sleep anywhere. Unfortunately for Yunis the only other feasible option was his pad.
I had 4 beds in my nice, mozzie free place and said he could come in with us, but he decided to go for the tent. After a night of no sleep, cats and bugs he moved into the girls dorm and we all lived happily ever after.
Sylvie, a healer and expert on all indigenous plants, brought me a pile of herbs, grasses and flowers to boil up for 20 mins and shower with. It smelt amazing, I loved it. Plus a nettle to make tea with to hopefully knock the hayfever on the head.
Sylvie and Jorge have 7 kids between them, and they brought the youngest 2 with them, an 18 month and 5 year old. Beautiful boys and always magic to have kids energy around and it so fascinating to see other cultures and how they raise their children. The oldest one chatted away to me in Spanish which was actually really helpful, I picked up a few phrases from him.
On the second week my energy levels were down with not sleeping right and constantly blowing my nose and itching the unitchable. I was tapping and constantly trying to ignore what the body was doing, letting it work it out, but boy was it annoying.
Christian had bought 30 or so medicinal plants and they had to be labelled and named so I took on this task as it saved me being right in among the farm. I started working on all the medicinal benefits, still not finished, but it is my area of passion and I loved it. Having Sylvie there too was awesome with her huge knowledge and love of the land and the plant kingdom.
These are people with deep spiritual connection to the Planet and see it as alive and sentient. This change in narrative from our one, means they treat it with a reverence and respect. I am now fully appreciating the power of our Story culturally as well as personally. If we fully understood the Planet is alive would we behave differently?
My pot of herbs above, the inca garden and me and my greens.
We had a lovely week, 18 year old German girls, 57 year old Scottish granny, 30 and 40 year old Ecuadorian farmers, 30 year old French Algerian, the American owners and the Colombian family who are the translators and coordinators for the rare Colombian Kogi tribe. We had super interesting chats.
On the last night we took the drums down by the river under the moon then did a meditation under the Ceiba tree, it was magic.
Volunteers and Opportunity.
Walter and Susan are getting older, their words, they dont have time to look after the farm and develop the opportunities there and look after the volunteers, so they really need someone or a couple who could take that role on.
Clearly this would be the perfect job for me, but I have a big project in Scotland next year, and cannot commit at this time, plus the hayfever thing could be a problem long term.
I am setting up a 12 week healing community in Scotland, to bring the latest, proven scientific methods and protocols to the people in the hope to help us see our incredible power, when we learn how to operate the body. The body is genius, we just have an untrue narrative about it.
But what a fantastic opportunity for the right people. Such exciting potential there, and plenty of huts that would be fine for staying in with a little bit of tlc, soft furnishings, animal proofing and mozzie nets.
It truly is a magical place, I will return, I dream of Retreats there, the most perfect place to heal and connect to raise your vibration.
They even have a pedal powered smoothie maker.
Yunis and I are talking about the possiblities of pulling our skills and passions and running some Retreats here in the next year or so.
Watch this beautiful space.