It was a hot October morning. Normally when I awoke the heat was manageable, only right around noon is when you start to feel like crawling out of your skin and hiding in a hole. But in the morning? Golden.
However, this day in particular for some reason was absolutely formidable. From the moment I stepped foot outside it was as though I immediately walked into a sauna. Just thinking about it gets me all hot and bothered. You already know what kind of day it’s going to be just by the temperature outside.
The majority of our work for that week consisted of a special project the host called the “North Perimeter”, which basically entailed dedicating 4 hours to tug at tree weeds until you fall over, getting stabbed in the process with cane grass’s fiberglass-like prickles. Let’s just say it was not the most pleasant of work to be doing, and the heat was just the icing on the cake.
I was determined to pull as much as I could in the shortest amount of time. I tried to make it a game so it would magically become fun despite the conditions. It was a race against time between me, myself, and I. I popped in my headphones then went to town until my noodle arms and lanky legs couldn’t muster the strength any longer.
At some point, I went to get water and immediately felt as though I was going to blackout. Working so rapidly is such heat probably wasn’t the brightest of ideas I’ve had in my lifetime, but whatever could make the time pass I was all for.
What I anticipated to be a good idea ended up biting me in the ass because I ended up with heat exhaustion and dehydration by the end of the day. Sounds fun, right? Let’s just say the rest of my afternoon consisted of chugging water and sleeping.
When the next day rolled around, I decided to take it easy. Pace myself so I wouldn’t end up the same or worse off than before.
As we finished tugging at more weeds, we began to gather the debris we had extracted and put them in the big waste buckets to then throw in the back of the truck to take to the dump.
The host had been out and about, helping us where she could monitoring our every move and keeping her eyes peeled on us like a hawk. This seemed fairly unusual, even for her being as micro-managing as she was, considering all we were doing was clearing the land.
As more and more buckets were rotating being thrown into the truck then back to the designated area where weeds had been pulled, I decided to post up by the truck, unload the buckets as they came to make the process smoother, then take those buckets down to the bottom part of the land so they could be used for another project.
When everyone completed this task, we all gathered in a group circle to conclude the workday and be dismissed.
For the sake of privacy, I will not disclose any factual names and will call the host Jane.
Jane began to discuss tomorrow's activities and what it might look like as far as work goes when suddenly she came to a long pause.
You know the kind of silence that's quiet for too long and it starts to become uncomfortably awkward? Think crickets and fake coughs to break the silence…
Yeah, it was one of those.
“Kaylee, you brought all the buckets down to end of the property… can anyone tell me what is wrong with this scenario?”
After some more awkward silence along with my face now turning into the color of a tomato for genuinely not understanding where she was going with this — one of the other volunteers chimed in and said, “Jane, I think we are all thoroughly confused. What was wrong with bringing the buckets down?”
My palms were turning clammy and I started twiddling my thumbs, clenching my jaw while my stomach churned.
Everyone was dismissed but I was told faster than I could walk away to take a seat.
Moseying my way over to the rock wall, I remained stunned. As I sat and looked up, I asked her what was wrong, only to be welcomed with dead silence and an empty gaze. Dandy.
She had a stern, harsh, look in her eyes and I swear at that moment her pupils were black.
I sunk even deeper into myself wishing I could disappear from such an odd and unfortunate event.
She began to say the work we had started that day was not 100% complete (obviously… because name one person who can weed 5+ acres of land, pulling tree weeds by hand in a days time. No one. Literally no one) and our work tomorrow would consist of continuing to chip away at the North Perimeter.
Due to my decision to put away the buckets and, OH NO, dare I say stack them, supposedly created extra work for her and the team.
That was it… that’s why I was being yelled at. For taking the buckets down the hill?
You’ve got to be fu**ing kidding me.
Her argument from the get-go was incredibly unreasonable, considering these problems have simple solutions. Such as, maybe walking to get the buckets and bring them back up. It’s not complicated, nor is it strenuous in any way. I mean, they weigh less than a pound for goodness sakes I think we’ll be okay.
Want to know the best part of it all? She concluded the conversation by informing me I would need to gather my things, find a new farm, and leave within 3 days time.
All because of some buckets.
Mind you, when wwoofing you are practically homeless. It sometimes takes weeks to get in contact with farms, at least on the island, not including the time spent simply attempting to solidify your stay.
I was freaking out, panicking, crying, the whole works.
How was I supposed to find a place that would take me in, but also ensure my safety? Make sure the work I would be doing is something I am proud of, resonate with, and am passionate about. Ensure my living arrangements were reliable, and the food that was provided was substantial, the work hours were an even, and I'd be nearby some sort of transportation?