You’ve read about the beauty of D’Urville but what did we do there? Good question. The better question is, what didn’t we do? We came here thinking we’d be looking after a 3 year old and helping a family pack up their possession in preparation for their departure form the island. But, not soon after arriving one of those two jobs was no longer needed, and the 3 year old was going nowhere. So, with one of our primary jobs no longer needed what were we left to do? Short answer: Plenty. But before we get to that let me outline the terms of our staying there. Like many other WWOOFing jobs we would put in 5 hours/day 5 days/week for three meals a day and lodging. This was a great deal considering the variety of meals and caliber of the housing. The house we stayed in was called the Villa; a three bedroom home with beautiful natural wood ceilings and floors, double sided fireplace, and fully equipped with antique furniture. The meals were accommodating of our vegetarian life style and in addition to the three meals we were given all the snacks and coffee we could need.
Upon arriving we quickly realized that there was plenty to be done around the home. The family doesn’t spend the entire year on the property so the grounds can become a little wild and the interior can collect dust. We proposed that we spearhead our own projects that we see around the home and in exchange we be get paid a monthly standard income. They decided they could afford $1,000/month based on an average of 7 hours/day 6 days a week. We thought this was perfect, it allowed us to work freely and not have to log hours. I started on the grounds right away. The grass around the home was almost waist high from the persistent rain they had been getting. As I weed whacked and mowed I slowly discovered garden beds located around the home. I weeded the beds as I found them, and turned over the vegetable garden so we could start to grow food. It was a rewarding experience to see the grounds start to take shape. The garden beds I discovered had plants from gardeners past, so I merely cleared a way for them to thrive and be center stage. The vegetable garden was never fully realized, less than 1/4 still needed to be weeded and there was plenty more to be done throughout, but I’m proud of what I was able to do with the time I put in.
David spent most of his time with the 3 year old Dante. Dante was the reason for choosing this job because David wanted to gain experience working with children. Well, he got it, and anyone that has worked with a 3 year old will understand the frustrations and tribulations that come along with it. I think he did incredible though, and it was just as much of a journey learning what Dante needed as it was for David reflecting on his own upbringing. The only real reference we have for raising a child is how we were raised ourselves. Dante wasn’t his only job though, we both got time with the little one over the course of two months and it was a great experience to have. He’s such a bright and curious individual and he never ceased to amaze us with his memory and knowledge. Children truly are sponges.
Once the family saw our potential (and their homes potential) they quickly started to give us jobs throughout where some TLC was needed. We honestly touched every part of that property from cleaning and rearranging the Villa, to renovation projects in the pantry and kitchen, to moving large pieces of furniture from building to building. David and I realized our own potential as well in these projects. Our attention to detail, the way we play to each other’s strengths, and our strong work ethic creates a team to be reconnected with. And because of this family we were able to realize this in ourself and in each other. For this we are truly thankful. Rachel, the mother of the home, offered such personal and thoughtful insight into our personalities that it really added to the experience as well. She is a kind soul and we will miss her effervescence.
The rest of our time was spent socializing and relaxing, with some personal projects here and there. Next I’ll post about the locals that we met and the rest of the time that was spent on the island in my third and final post.