Saul was our first long-term Workawayer and it was not without some trepidation that we went to pick him up at the heliport this past July. ‘What happens if we simply don’t get along?‘, we said to each other. After all, we couldn’t just put him on a bus or a train and send him off to the next Workaway gig down the road. There are no roads connecting any two towns in Greenland anyway (or trains for that matter, either). In fact, we were the only hosts for thousands of kilometers in any direction (!) — and Saul was planning to stay with us for nearly three months. ‘That’s a quarter of a year,’ we said to ourselves. If we didn’t get along, it was probably going to be hell, we thought.
Well, we very quickly realized that we had been blessed with a gem. Saul has so many wonderful qualities, it’s hard to know where to start.
It goes without saying that he’s a determined ditch-digging, paint-scraping, rock-shoveling hard-working man. And we have never seen anyone so eager to wash dishes! A dirty plate didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in his presence.
But what made our time so special with him was not so much the dirt-under-your-nails grinding labor that we threw his way — and that he tackled with unbridled enthusiasm — but rather his ability to come to terms with so many different social situations. We were working and living together at times under pretty close quarters, but things with Saul always went smoothly. There was no subject that was taboo with him and he was very easy-going. We enjoyed cooking together, talking about our favorite books and movies, sharing recipes, and so on — and we took him along to birthday parties and evenings with friends where communication was somewhat hampered by loud music, somewhat copious amounts of alcohol, plenty of laughter and smoke — and at least three different languages (occasionally) being used simultaneously around the dinner table. Saul always did remarkably well, even if he doesn’t speak more than a smattering of Danish and Greenlandic.
It was also a joy to show him around what we refer to as “the neighborhood.” He was visibly awestruck by the glaciers and fjords and icebergs and mountains. You could see him just soaking it all up. This was obviously the trip of a lifetime for him and that was a pleasure to behold. His ardor for adventure also gave us an opportunity to go on a hiking trek that we’ve been planning for some time now. Even when the going got tough out on the trail (or on the boat, for that matter), there was never a complaint from Saul. Au contraire! He was up for anything and everything — and you should have seen the joy on his face when he witnessed a huge glacier calve into an ice-filled fjord. Wooow! Wooow! (We’ve never heard anybody say ‘wow’ so often.)
By the time he was getting ready to go back to South Africa, it felt like he was almost a member of the family. We even shared a number of bad inside jokes, e.g.., “What would Chris do?” (Don’t ask, it’s an inside joke, remember?)
Saul was also (eventually) accepted into the pack by our (rather picky) late dog, Trotzki. We’re very glad that he got to know the pooch before he died suddenly only two weeks after Saul’s departure. That way we all got to share in some of Trotzki’s antics.
Saul is always welcome back here in Narsaq. Perhaps next time he may even come here with his ‘significant other’ in tow. You never know. In any case, he has certainly inspired us to take a trip down to South Africa. Maybe we’ll meet up there, too.
We wish Saul all the very best and would like to express our thanks to Workaway for paving the way for this great summer with him. Wherever the road of life leads you, Saul, may your days be pleasant and your nights filled with magic and dreams.
Love and ‘qujanarsuaq’,
Monika and Paul
David and Austin stayed with us twice and for different periods of time and each time we wished they would have stayed longer and each time we parted in tears.
They are so nice, extremely modest and helpful.
I really can’t find the adjectives to describe how kind, friendly, sociable and helpful they are.
They were always offering to help with the teaching,the cooking,the cleaning,the painting and even showing other volunteers the country and taking them from and to the airport.
David and Austin,you are GREAT.
You’ve learnt a lot about Morocco and you have gained Moroccan hearts.
We’ll always be waiting for you.
Natalia and Diego came to us somewhat last minute and all I can say is thank heavens the people who were supposed to come cancelled. These guys were absolutely fantastic. Hard working, willing, enthusiastic and more than happy to get stuck in.
During their stay they experienced wall building 101, as in from scratch. This is not something that happens everyday on my farm but what these guys built stood up to the kick test and then some. Which is fantastic, especially seeing as neither had done anything like it before.
No matter what the job, digging in the rock hard soil of my mountain top they threw themselves into the task and Diego in particular (we nicknamed him ‘Diego the Determined’) used the pick to dig out rocks that would have scared some into submission.
They painted poles with recycled engine oil, they cut trees down for new posts and so much more.
Both were great to be around, to talk too and both ate my pasties and said they liked them, what can I say. You are the bees knees with sugar sprinkled on top for that, thanks guys.
I could go on but I think by now you have gotten the drift that these guys are great to have come to your place and help you out so if they offer then seriously give them a whirl.
I know I have said this before but you know what, I am going to say it again.
If their travels ever bring them this way again then they are more than welcome to come not only as volunteers but as friends also.
Robbie and Eleanor were the first Workaway volunteers to set foot on our farm and also in Kyrgyzstan, because our farm is the first one to participate from Kyrgyzstan.
My parents were at first hesitant about letting total strangers to come and live with us, so Robbie and Eleanor were experimental group for us. My parents called me after they have left and wanted me to send them more people like Robbie and Ellie!
So, nice job guys, and thank you very much from my parents for helping out at the farm enthusiastically doing any chores and working hard! I have intentionally stayed out of the picture, so that it would be a cultural exchange for both you and my parents. We will look forward to seeing you again on our farm.
We hope that we will start building our new house soon, so that you can enjoy the scenery from the balcony next time you visit us!
Holy moly. As a first step with workaway and towards giving to something larger to myself, this was a dream, a beautiful dream. Rolling hills of dry grass, fields littered with thistles, morning glories, chicken trailers and marauding adorable, mischievous Italian guard dogs. Pigs, water buffalo, ducks, hundreds of baby chicks, adjacent vineyards, outdoor kitchen, hay-bail couch, oh and the organic garden!
Now if you’re on workaway, these are all parts of the benefit of giving your time towards something bigger than yourself with little material benefit. developing the land, caring the animals, and enhancing the customers’ knowledge of what good food is like and what john brings to the table with his vision and farm can change your life. This place can use some enthusiastic bodies with a desire for educating themselves about the connection between animals living a more unrestrained life with a healthy diet and a humane death and how the respect and caring of this process all enhance our own lives.
Trevor is fantastically knowledgable, especially around permaculture and gardening, and is a real character. Trevor was super flexible with how I was comfortable helping and was very verbal about his gratitude for my contribution to his carefully organized and highly intention-oriented plot of land.
Frances is a bundle of spunk and fun. Certainly a great communicator and a hard worker, she has life experience and wisdom that allows her to open up to, teach and share with whoever is able to be vulnerable and upfront with her as well. Frances does a little everything, and is fantastic company:)
John, the mastermind will blow your mind with his vision. Not just of the farm, but his vision of how to change the world. The key; start locally, with you. John brings out the inner entrepreneur in me and is a natural motivator. His ability to wrangle help and sell an image without the selling is a gift, one you can learn from if you pay attention. His work ethic is a reflection of his energy and his love for developing what we are given and changing into an image that facilitates a more enjoyable, mutually beneficial life; it’s off the charts, so to speak 🙂
All in all, there is more to contribute to, tinker with, observe, learn from, and give to here. The people are people, passionate and honest, driven and focused, and so solid. If you’re up for it, give them a shot.