1. This is what paradise looks like.
2. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
“Everyone is picking noni.” Zach (owner), 8am
I don’t even know what that means. Just like I had no idea what Kava was until some people from the farm took me to a Kava bar to drink this herbal tea thing from coconut shells. Now I know. That seems to be the theme of things around here, "Now you know," which is great because it means that I'm learning tons of new things! Turns out Noni is this white- yellow fruit that is pressed into Noni Juice, which the farm then sells to Hawaiian grandmas and Whole Foods, both of whom praise Noni for being a cure all fruit.
We (the 16 volunteers) pile into two trucks and headed down a huge hill, borderline mountain. From the hill, all you can see is bright blue water to the right, front and left and a humungous sky just a few hues lighter. There are crazy cliffs at the edge of the property that drop down to a rocky beach.
Noni , Kava and Taro are grown in areas at the bottom of the hill. We picked Noni all day on Monday(8-3:30), with breaks every hour and a half. Ants were all over the fruit, which means that they were all over my arm and all over my body. That was a feeling to get used to. Saw bumble bees the size of a half dollar. All day I flip flopped between, “It is so hot and I’m covered in dirt and bugs. I thought I was in shape, why am I so tired?” to, “This is incredible. I can hear the water crashing against cliffs and am swinging a stick at tree branches to knock down tropical fruit.”
I am totally out of my element here and I mean that in the most amazing of ways. The biggest adjustment has been slowing my east coast pace and getting rid of the need to be doing something or making the best use of my time. Today, I cut climbed in and out of huge taro plants, cutting taro leaves for 5 hours (taro leaves are steamed and eaten like spinach, but like 2-3 feet long) and was blown away by the beauty and simplicity of life here. Its like, slow down, look around and enjoy whatever you are doing.
A few other tidbits:
- I ate a starfruit from the fields on one of our breaks.
- Made delicious taro chips for dinner (FRIED and dusted with salt, onion and garlic powders, Lawry’s seasoning, sugar and a little Mrs. Dash)
- My legs and feet are cut up from grass b/c we've been working barefoot. I put noni on them today (so nasty, smells like fermented poo) but they don't hurt or itch anymore!
- I forgot a nail clipper. Can’t bite them when there is chicken shit underneath them.
- Saw a cat pawing at a mouse that he had recently killed. Then watched it eat the mouse’s head in one bite.
- The lava from the volcano is going to flow soon, meaning that it is going to come splashing into the ocean and you can hike out to see it.
- Still haven't been in the ocean yet. That's the plan for the weekend.