Be a volunteer, an extraordinary experience

I’m finally in England. On the way to Lower Sharpham Farm, in Devon. Ready to spend my next 5 weeks surrounded by sheep, cows and hens. But on the bus I don’t feel very well, stress starts to rise and a question persists in my head : how will it go ?

I arrived at the farm and met all the other volunteers and trainees, we come from different countries and we are all different but we share the love of nature. Everyone starts to get to know each other and my stress starts going down. Indeed, the place looks amazing and the people with whom I’m going to share my days are lovely.

The days follow one another but none are alike. Every day is full so we are far from bored. We build some shelves in the barn with Jack, we plant seeds in the garden, we welcome a school to introduce them to the farm, we harvest the fruits and vegetables,… In addition to that we have some tasks spread over the week for everyone : go out and get in the hens, take care of the goats (who are adorable!), clean the eggs to sell, water the garden,… Some days we follow some classes with Mike, our “teacher”.

The subjects are varied : grassland survey, endangered species, badgers and bats… And at the end of the day it’s time to enjoy the environment where we are ! Place for canoeing, go for a walk in the forest or in Totnes or just relax in the hammocks listening to the sheep bleat… Dinners between volunteers and trainers are privileged moments during which we laugh a lot and weave links. Then it’s time to go to bed, in the yurt. I share this accommodation with the two other volunteers, it’s our space but we also share it with some nice spiders, slugs and little insects. No one is dangerous and we get used to having them with us.

 

The end of my stay happens faster than I wanted. I don’t want to leave this amazing place. Everything is so exciting here that I can’t imagine going back home just like that, leaving behind me everything I could learn in only few weeks but also all the friendships I have now.

All my fears have been swept from the first day I spent at Sharpham thanks to Jack and Mike that put us at ease and thanks to all the volunteers and trainees, who were always there to share a laugh.

Not to mention the improvement in English, I discovered a lot of new things and I worked with a real goal. There have been lots of new things to learn and try, with Jack, with Mike but also by myself. From the moment I did the requested work I was free to do what I wanted : make a wooden bowl, wooden coasters but also dreams catchers. And a thing that changes a lot compared to the school is that I was often autonomous, which is the best way to learn. It happened to me to make mistakes but it’s like this that we learn!

So if you’re motivated and not afraid to get your hands dirty (because believe me they will be after spending your day in the compost…) don’t hesitate any longer and join the farm to live an incredible experience.

Delphine from France, volunteer during the summer of 2019