Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.
– Howard Thurman
Eleven months later and here I am dusting off the blog once more. I’m still not convinced that I’m cut out to be a bloggist (blogtrician? blogologist?) but in the interest of keeping friends and family updated as I prepare to head out on a new adventure, here I am! Actually, writing a blog during my last visit to El Salvador was really a wonderful way to reflect for myself by putting words to experiences. So maybe it’s a little bit self-interested in that way as well.
In just under one month I’ll be bidding farewell to Canada once more and heading off to New Zealand. This is yet another example of how perfectly unpredictable life can be! A year ago, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to guess that this would be the plan now, but I am completely and absolutely delighted at the opportunity sitting on the horizon.
Upon arrival in NZ, I will be joining the lovely Andy at Toi Toi Manawa, a new farm and education centre on the South Island. This incredible organization has offered us the opportunity to pursue independent research projects, along with the land, financial support, and mentorship to do it. AND on top of that, they’re organizing workshops for us on a whole range of interesting topics (from straw bale construction to permaculture) and plenty of hands-on experience in eco-building too. I will be the latecomer among the eight program participants, as the rest of the group has already been there for nearly a month. So, once I arrive I’ll be doing my best to get my bearings quickly and to become a useful member of the team.
While working with the group on building projects and on vegetable growing, my independent project involves building a community engagement strategy for Toi Toi Manawa (and for other places like it) in order to help spread the joy of food, farming, and sustainable lifestyles among the broader community.
So, that’s it in a nutshell! The arrangement is, initially at least, for one year. And then it’ll just be a matter of figuring out what comes next! For the moment, this seems to be an ideal opportunity to meld my ever-growing love of farming with the community development work of my Master’s. Andy, meanwhile, will be continuing to pursue his passion for farming with horses, and so I am certainly hoping to be learning a thing or two in that regard as well. Every day is a school day, as they say!
I should put in the fine print here that I’m not at all sure how often I’m likely to be writing once I arrive in New Zealand. If you don’t hear from me then you might try watching for smoke signals or looking for messages floating around in bottles. I do hope to be in touch…and to hear news back from the outside world every now and then too!