Our first Wwoof experience in France
NB! I wrote this post more than week ago and by now we are already in new place… We left sooner than it was planned, I explain later why so. But internet in the last place was so weak that I couldn’t even open our blog but know I have the chance to upload all the posts.
I have written about Wwoofing before but its all in estonian still… So first – what is Wwoof? Wwoof is: “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or Willing Workers on Organic Farms, is a hospitality service operated by a loose network of national organizations that facilitate homestays on organic farms.”(Wikipedia)
But if I would explain in my own words then in one hand its an amazing way to travel with very low budget and experience different places, cultures and so on as a local person. And in the other hand for farmers it’s a good opportunity to share their knowledge, passion, visions and so on, so people could help to built up their dreams. System is usually easy – you work around 5h per day 5 times a week and in return get a accommodation and food. That guts down the travel expenses and you still have time to wonder around!
We have been in our first Wwoofing place for already 3 weeks for now and we have same amount of time left. I don’t even remember how we choose this exact place because we did this agreement already in June. But I know that it wasn’t our first choice but the first one just didn’t have places for us at the exact time we needed. Basically our conditions were that they have to accept at least 2 wwoofers and also accept dogs, have to be in certain region that we choose, accommodation has to be okay and also the farm should not kill animals there. Why I paid a lot attention to the accommodation is because we were planning to stay for 6 weeks and we didn’t want to spent that time on somebody’s couch in the living room. But even after narrowing or options down with those conditions there were couple hundred choices left..
The place we ended up has a nice accommodation. I mean its not a luxury or something new and so on but it has everything we need. Its separated house were we live with one Swiss teenager. He has a room on a first floor and we (at first) have the second floor for ourselves. Its not big, two rooms, but its very cozy. Downstairs we also have kitchen and bathroom. But by now we are already living also downstairs in one room because that way its easier do heat up the house. Don’t get me wrong its warm in here, over 20 degrees mostly but the house is old stone house and it gets very cold inside..
We work for 5 hours 5 times a week, weekends are off. The schedule is that we start at 9 work till 12 and have lunch all together then. After work comes siesta of course and we start again at 14 and finish aprox 16 o’clock. Work is random, what ever they need do be done here. Cleaning the garden, the yard, painting, planting, making the guesthouses up and so on. I must mention that this place isn’t a farm, not even close. They have animals and big garden but its main purpose is renting out guesthouses and running a social program for Swiss teenagers. So there’s a lot of people around here. I mean when I think of farm then I mean more like people growing stuff, keeping animals for terrible things and etc.
As I told we eat lunches together and the make the food for everybody. We take care of our own breakfast and dinners, if its weekend we cook all our meals. Once a week we go to a shop and choose what we need and they pay.
My favorite part about this place is animals. I just love animals but I must say that in lot of occasions I would prefer to see them living freely. But I am so happy to know that not a one animal in here is going to be eaten. Actually here is two so said farms together and that means more animals 😀 I try to write down all the creatures they have: 3 big cats, 6 kittens(4months old), one extremely small kitten(founded, looks like European wild cat..rawr), 4 dogs (one is puppy!), 3 donkeys, 3 horses and 1 pony, chickens, 2 pigs and a LOT of tropical birds (including talking parrots). I think that is all. The cats are just everywhere.. But they are so cute also. And oh my, one pig is so cute and loves when you scratch his belly. He even acts like a dog a bit. Donkeys love when we give them green leaves (the ones that are outside of the fence, so they taste the best ofc 😀 ). Parrots tend to scream “saadu” what means “do you have problem with me” its like they basically argue with each other like that. I hear them saying “hello” a lot also. My favorite is one little bird Bönie who is the only one who wants to have contact with you. He flies to my head or my hand and just previews.
If to talk about location then its quiet here. Its apart of city’s and villages and actually don’t have any interesting places around… The nearest big city is Louhans which is quite nice actually, we like it, especially at night. For the next place we will choose a bit better location. Don’t get me wrong its nice and calm here but if you wanna travel and see a lot its just to far from everything.
The only annoying thing here is that our so said boss is making weird comments. I mean like it makes as feel like we are 12 years old’s in a summer camp. For example this morning he let us know that our cleaning day is Saturday and we have to clean then.. (with the Swiss teenager). Okay I understand that cleaning is necessary but we are capable of thinking and cleaning without having rules for it… And there is many rules around here, I hear them now a lot.. I can understand that the boys need some rules but we aren’t part of the social program.
Eventually we had enough of this and decided to move on faster. I really liked there and there were people who were so awesome but just we didn’t fit with the boss. And also this program isn’t about cheap labor.. Its about so much more and we felt that we don’t feel that there. But I am still very thankful for the time there and there were also people we admired and would love to meet them again. With time I feel more and more comfortable to speak my thoughts out and say that this don’t make me happy or I don’t feel good and I will go now. We started this traveling time of hours to feel happy, have a laugh, experience and learn and if we feel stuck that means its time to go. By now we are in a new place, this time thru WorkAway and we are so happy here! Will write about this soon and there’s also a lot of places to visit around here. Tomorrow we are planning a bit bigger trip to Verdon Gorge!!
Does anybody have their story to tell about Wwoofing? Or have you planned to try this program our?
And we are now in Provence. Do you have some favorite places here that you would suggest us?