So, after almost 6 months travelling in Central America, I’m finally going to update my English-speaking mates on what the hell it is I’ve come to do so far away from home and where I’m supposed to be heading on this journey.
I graduated in Ecology in 2000, but I wanted to travel so I took a TEFL course and went to South Korea as an English teacher. I meant to go for just one year but the experience was great and it ended up being two. When I got back to Spain I continued working as an English teacher by inertia, but finally got into translation and have been a professional translator for 8 years, working freelance for the last 7 years. Sitting alone at home in front of a computer all day is not the way I had dreamt to spend my life, so my interest in food and the love for nature that inspired me to study ecology in the first place led me to become interested in farming and sustainable living, and after reading up on it for two years and a small disaster trying out a tiny urban garden I decided to wwoof my way across central and north america, visiting farms and friends, so that I can get hands-on experience and put into practice the things that I had been reading about. I am especially interested in small-scale agriculture and animal husbandry, since I would like to have my own property at some point. The work I’ve done on the farms I’ve stayed at for now in Costa Rica has been: planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, preparing soil for planting, levelling ground manually for building, cocoa harvesting for a chocolate farm, helping in the harvesting and cooking of produce, building a vegetable cabinet, painting walls, helping with bamboo construction, etc.
Arriving in Costa Rica from Spain, I initially intended to head north through Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the West Coast of the US and then across Canada, visiting friends along the way, but I have now arrived in Panama, which is actually south of Costa Rica… I’m glad my steps have brought me down to Panama, though, since otherwise my tour of Central America would not have been complete. 🙂
In Panama there is no wwoof organisation as such, but there are still interesting places to work at. I arrived in Boquete recommended by an architect friend of mine from Panama City, since the area is the agricultural capital of the country, and I am now looking for places to volunteer at. There are a few organic farms here that I’m interested in working at, but unfortunately they do not have much room for volunteers and none can take me in just yet because their space is taken up by builders doing work on the house or other things of the kind, but I’ve organised myself to work at the “Lazy Man’s Farm” from December to February, practising all kinds of permaculture techniques. I still have to organise my stay for November, but for now I’m helping construct two new cabins at the Refugio del Río hostel in Boquete, owned by Luchini Lescure, a great guy who’s helped me out a lot, but more on that in another post! 😉