2 weeks in Nakupenda Farm, a community farm following Permaculture life style.

I loved so much our 2 weeks volunteering in Myanmar, that I was 100% I was going to do a same experience this year. While traveling we met mostly other travelers, and the only interaction we have with locals is them seeing us as tourist/money income. Volunteering on the other end, is more about working for locals and having deeper exchanges with them !

I chose Nakupenda Farm because of their interest in permaculture and respect of the nature. They try to grow everything they need, so they can buy as less as possible and reduce their environmental impact. The project just start last year, so the farm is not giving all the food necessary yet, but it’s a work in progress ! They also got chicken for eggs, a mushroom farm, compost, filtering water system, dry toilet, solar panels etc… All of this helping them to be self-sufficient. For the moment the owners, a Belge/Cambodian couple, still need to work most of the year in Belgium to get incomes for the project while the sister and volunteers take care of the farm ! In exchange of our work we got free food and accommodation.

Everybody work for the community, cooking, cleaning, watering plant, taking care of the compost, farming, feeding the animal… It can be a lot of work, but we still have a long lunch break from 10:30am to 3:30pn because of the heat. It’s also mean we wake up early while it’s still cool, breakfast at 6:30am… But people get use to it quickly and it’s actually really nice to enjoy the cold morning and have a nap after lunch !

Since I arrived we have been cooking some amazing dishes, mostly vegan, we don’t have a fridge so we can’t store any eggs, milk, butter… But we do have a wood oven and some really creative volunteer ! We already had pizza, with tofu replacing the cheese. A mango cake with crumble on the top. Some tofu paddies for burgers. Mango puree with roasted peanuts. Greshly ground peanut butter every morning ! A lot of delicious curry with fresh herbs and spices from the garden. Hundred of different tea from the garden ! Having a garden with so many different herbs make cooking so much fun ! Some volunteers know a lot about medicinal plants, which we use when needed ! I leaned a lot about cooking different dishes and make everything from scratch !

Activities:

A lot of farming, mainly watering the huge garden for me and turning the compost every two days. Others are re planting vegetables, looking after tree…

We did a lot of painting to decorate the house and around. I did a big drawing of the meditation principles and start a other one with other volunteers.

We also have to harvest the cashew nuts with their fruits everyday, which means walking around the 200trees !

Sometimes we make bed for new vegetables. Which means we dig a hole, and fill it up with plenty of nutrious material, like wood, compost, caw poo…

And we prepared the production of yoster mushroom. We first made a compost with saw dust, rice flowers and sugar.

Then we put it in plastic bags.

We steamed them for 3hours in big cylinder where steam come through.

Then we took them to insert the mushroom spores !

We hung them, and now we just have to wait 3weeks for the first mushroom to pop up ! They will grow continuously for 6 months !

The 2 weeks went so fast ! I’m happy to go back to my holiday but I will miss living in this farm with all this amazing people 🙂 !

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