When you hear about WWOOFing, it is always related to organic farming. Yet, WWOOF is more than that. It can be understood as a mutual exchange between unknown strangers, where the hosts provide accomodation and food, WWOOFer provides the time and effort in helping out different activities. (check out more on my previous post My first ever WWOOF experience in Okinawa Japan)
My host family
Masaya-san and Tomoyo-san are a young couple in their 30s, they both are university graduates who studied in Tokyo and Osaka before. Before their baby was born, they decided to move to Okinawa (without any plan, as mentioned by Masaya), where they first met, to start a new life with their baby girl, Mitzan. Masaya and Tomoyo believed that Okinawa would be a good place for their daughter to grow (which I totally agree!).
From my observation, Mitzan is no doubt one of the happiest children I’ve ever met! She is a curious girl who loves animals. She was a little shy to me at first, as I said there were not many people on the island, but we got along well quickly. She is like a baby from the wild, her parents usually let her run around naked around their house. The couple both work part-time, so they could have plenty of time accompanying Mitzan and seeing her grow. They bring Mitzan to the zoo once a week, they let her try everything that the adults do, e.g. when Tomoyo is cooking, she would let Mitzan stand on a chair next to her and watch, and occasionally let her involve in some simple cooking steps. They also keep a tiny broom and tiny water bottle so Mitzan can join when they are sweeping the floor or watering plants.
I am deeply impressed by the enormous patience my host parents have. As a psychology teacher, I have read bibiographies from many of my students who confess their frustrating relationship with their parents. Parenting is never an easy job. It is the enormous patience and love that bring secure attachment to this little young girl. I am optimistic that Mitzan will grow up confidently and happily! 🙂
My work as WWOOFer
I literally did different things every day, like weeding, cooking, cleaning up the house, taking care of Mitzan, making miso and painting their washroom walls.
- Woke at 7am
- Had breakfast with the family
- Helped with clean up
- Rest a bit and started that day’s work
- Lunch time and helped with clean up afterwards
- Continue with the daily work
- I usually finish early so I could walk to the nearby beach!
- We had dinner around 6:30pm
- Helped with clean up
- They let their daughter sleep around 9pm and all the lights in house would be turned off
- My free time (I wrote my diary… which I never did back at home)
I appreciate that Masaya always invited me to work by using “Can you please help in…?”, he invited me to join his work, instead of ordering me to work. He told me he had to think of some activities that we could work together in cooperation. He thought it is the key of WWOOFing, to accomplish some tasks with the help from each other.
If you are really scared of bugs or insects, think twice before living in the farm.
The greatest thing about finishing work early, is to run into the beach!!! Okinawa beach rocks!!!
I actually went back to visit this loving family in May 2016, almost one year after my WWOOF stay.
Mitzan is almost three years old now. Apparently she has forgotten about me, but she knows that Shelly was the one who helped in painting their bathroom wall :P. I was very glad to be able to visit them again.
I finally finished putting all these into words, my first every solo travel/wwoofing experience in Okinawa. I was glad that I made this choice, and thanks to WWOOF and my host family that brought me such a memorable experience. xxx