Our three weeks at the Mindful farm volunteering…Has been great! we have been meeting a lot of other volunteers traveling and experiencing what its like to work the land, connect with nature, and support Pi Nan, the farmer. Its mostly hot and then some, however the nights and early morning are cool.
We start each day at 6.30am. We get dressed, have a cup of tea and we are off on our morning meditation to the hill overlooking the valley and watch the sun rise above the mountains. Its absolutely breathtaking. Not to mention how peaceful it is; listening to the birds and local wild life is just so exquisite.
After meditation we walk back and have breakfast. It’s normally around 8 to 8.30 when we start working. Some of us work on gardening, whilst others work on getting Pi Nan’s house ready for his wife and 4 month old daughter that arrive in April. The work varies from watering, making a compost or 3, to building mud bricks, cooking, planting, weeding, running pipes for sprinkler system, to building steps and much more. A lovely volunteer named Ben, a gardener from England, who is planning to stay about a year on the farm, was there to help out with the garden. With his and Pi Nan’s guidance we were able to plant and sow many vegetables, from pumpkins to sweet corn.
We are all really enjoyed it there. The Mindful farm is a place where everything is done with mindfulness, love, compassion and one big happy family. If you are tired you can stop and take a break anytime. We have lunch around 12.30 and then a siesta break till 3pm where we resume work around 3 till about 5.30 or so. We have showers and prepare food, Although Pi Nan mainly cooks but not all the time. All the volunteers get together and have fun cooking as well. Tahira especially has taken a liking to cooking.
We eat off the land, just picking lettuce, bananas, tomatoes, many greens and so much more, its amazing. One day, Pi Nan goes for a walk and comes back with 3 types of leaves that you can eat either raw or cook from trees near by, other than his garden. Another time we were coming home from a walk by the little river/creek and Pi Nan tells us to stop and pick two types of leaves from the river bed for cooking…Its just amazing!!!
We then have dinner around 6 – 6.30pm, sometimes 7. After we have a little time to wash up and start to wind down for ourselves before our night meditation and a talk which Pi Nan leads around 8.30pm. For our meditation we look out across the mountains and valley from the porch on Pi Nan’s little house. Its so picturesque and conducive to our peaceful meditation.10 pm we go to bed, and by then our bodies are certainly ready for sleep.
We have experienced many things here in such a small space of time. We were invited to a three day funeral here in the village. Yes three days of food preparing and eating before the cremation on the third day. It was interesting to witness, when we went to help on the first day with some of the preparations, that no one was crying. Pi Nan told us we would see no crying and that it was more of a celebration of that persons life than a sadness of loss. We attended a compost making workshop presented by Metro University of Chiang Mia but funded by the Queens project for farmers. We got invited to a Buddhist festival in a nearby village about 45 minutes away. Met many locals and ate with them and shared stories. Experienced cooking on open fire many days as part of kitchen set up on the farm. And on the last day before leaving Pi Nan was offered 33 ducks from the Queens farm project which we visited. It was only 15 minutes away from the his farm and we had lots of fun catching them and transporting them on the back of a hilux ute.
It certainly was challenging at times, as we stepped outside our comfort zone. Embracing it allowed new experience and awareness to open up new opportunities for growth on many levels. Learning, having fun, meeting new people and sharing travel stories and most importantly experiencing everyone coming together as one community working together, has opened us up and others to many rewarding outcomes.
As a family we felt privileged to contribute not only to Pi Nan’s vision of organic farming and community living, but assisting him building his house for the arrival of his wife and four month old daughter from Japan. We felt quite at home…As Pi Nan say’s “you can live here as long as you want. This is you second home.”
There is much work to be done on the farm. Although volunteers come and go, there is limited resources and funds. For more information you can visit www.mindfulfarmers.org
Until the next post…Live the life you want!
Lot of Love
Faris and Family