Today I received an email from Hermine, the artist cum owner who runs the Chateau de Sacy in Picardie, France. There will be an art exhibit at the Chateau this September which will run until October. Coincidentally, I saw the photos sent by Chelsea, a friend whom I met while we were volunteering and traveling, and on an indefinite leave from work. I have written a post – WWOOF:
Chateau de Sacy (Week 1) https://maftravelgraphy.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/wwoof-chateau-de-sacy-week-1/ and nothing follows after.
WWOOF or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, others adapted it to call – Willing Workers on Organic Farms while others choose an acronym which is – We’re Welcome on Organic Farms. WWOOFer is how you call a volunteer who participate in WWOOFing activities. A WWOOFer do a voluntary work helping the host in the farm. In return the host provide the WWOOFer a free accommodation and food.
Looking back, it was one of those meaningful activities I have done while traveling. Staying and living with a local, learning their language, helping in the domestic work at home and farm, participating in their day to day living different from yours is such an enriching experience. We learn best thru our active participation and actual application. What I remember most was what Hermine told me that what inspires her to re-invent the Chateau was her fellow artist Filipino friend (hmnn, I can’t recall the name, he’s in the Wikipedia and I think we came from the same Alma mater). Hermine kept telling me that I was her first WWOOFer from Southeast Asia,and the only one from the Philippines). Whatever she meant I did not bother to ask. I remember the day I arrived, Hana, a fellow WWOOFer excitedly open the gate for me and help me carried my luggage. I greeted her the French way, kissing on both cheeks. I attempted to do the same for my host but I wonder why Hermine appeared to be distant and seemed to snob me. Days later, Hermine talked to me openly and said she she was dismayed seeing me arriving at her palace as she was expecting Mafey to be a boy! And physically built with muscles!! I was laughing out loud and asked her – does my name sounds like a boy? But she cited that since I was working in a construction and engineering industry – she was expecting some masculine boyish who will work at her farm. As there would be lots of heavy stuff to carry, like the pile of woods from felled trees, and other work that requires man power! 😛
Should there be another opportunity like this in future, I would not have second thoughts doing it again. Doing something I don’t normally do on a daily basis makes me appreciate the world we live in for what it is and what it has to offer. It presents situations that enables me to connect to people that resonates my ideals. I keep evolving and changing as day follows night. But is always within the same matrix, we call LIFE.
Some mementos from Chateau de Sacy:
The following photos are from Chelsea, the humble American I met at the Chateau and ended up being friends. Meeting Chelsea and Roger has changed my impression towards Americans. Although, Hermine has a strong dislike towards Americans she continue to host people from the US. Maybe in future, I might be able to set foot to US too. But this seems not any sooner as US “dislike”, me I guess ;).
And, one of my favorite snap of Chateau de Sacy: