Our first taste of volunteering…
We had just one thing to do today, and it wasn’t until late in the afternoon either, which meant a morning of nothing and then an hour or two spent getting ready to leave the caravan. We walked to Middlemore train station, which took around twenty minutes, and then took the train as far as Papakura, where we had to be by 17:30 to meet our first ever volunteering hosts!
We found their details online a few weeks back, reached out to them, and arranged a three week placement with them starting today and finishing in early October. We got to Papakura a good half an hour early, had a cup of tea at the station, and waited for them to arrive. We had one picture of them to go by, so thought it might be a bit of a struggle to find them, but I think our giant rucksaks with bright orange rain covers made us stand out enough amongst the crowds. Within no time we were on our way to their home – a privately owned farm in Huana, nearly an hour away from downtown Auckland.
We had a chat about what’s expected in terms of work, how many hours we have to put in each day and how many days we are expected to work per week, then went through house rules as well as health and safety information. I guess the fact that it was 18:00 by the time we’d arrived led me to think that we’d probably just see the evening through and start work in the morning, but our hosts had other plans. We dropped off our bags, sorted out our uniform (dirty old clothes that can afford to get ruined), put on a pair of gum boots (NZ slang for wellies) each, and made our way to the cow paddock on the back of a quad bike, which was an experience in itself.
Our first task was to get around twenty or so calf out of the pen and into a field which was maybe 200m away. Armed with a stick each an just about no idea what to do, we managed it with no trouble, under supervision of course. Pretty chuffed at our success we headed back to the main building for dinner.
After eating we met the rest of the family, and then sat down with the four of them to watch a movie together. We had a very quick tour of the place after the movie, discussed potential projects for each of us during our stay, and then went to bed at around 22:30. Our room had no power so obviously it was pitch black, but not an issue because both of us were more than ready to sleep anyway.
The internet is almost non-existant here so apologies in advance for being slow on updates. Also it isn’t unlimited, so uploading photographs is a bit of a problem because it uses so much data. I think what I’ll have to do is save photographs and upload a gallery style post when we leave for you to look back on. Sound OK?
Here’s to tomorrow, our first days of work in almost four months!
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