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¨Hi! I'm David, and I did a two months voluntary service in ecology in Plasenzuela, in Spain.
I decided to do this volunteering for different reasons : to improve my spanish skills, to learn more about permaculture and nature in general,... Most of all, I wanted to try the simple way of life of the countryside, far from the city.
Before going to Spain, I used to work with computers (software development and digital communication), but for me, it seemed completely disconnected from life. I didn't like being seated all day long in front of a screen, locked up in an office, and exhaust my brain with technical problems. As many people of our time, I wanted to move, to breathe, to use my hands, to feel useful, to have a simple life – and this is one of the main goals of the organization IMORA.
So during these two months, I was able to try this way of life and the farm work. The tasks were varied : seeding, mulching the vegetable garden soil, feed some wild birds, look for the eggs in the henhouse, trimming some olive trees, preparing a sensory path,... It's difficult to resume all we did !
What I liked most was the vegetable garden work, discovering the different vegetables and other edible wild plants, learning about micro-organisms and how to protect the soil. I also really enjoy talk about permaculture and holistic philosophy, of the connection between everything (humans, other animals, trees,...) and of the imbalances that can happen.
I also appreciate learning more general things, such as cooking some typical dishes (the miga from Extremadura or the famous tortilla de patatas), baking bread, preparing yoghurts or making oat milk. I'd like to continue doing all this stuff in Strasbourg !
Of course, there are differences between the idyllic vision that we can have about country life and reality, and for me, this volunteering was the opportunity to discover them. You need to accept that there are things that you can't control : the body limits, the weather (which was fortunately great during these two months), the animal behavior, the plants that don't grow the way you'd like... or the beginning of a global pandemic (!), for example. But it's a good way to increase your adaptibility.
There were also some activities that I missed during these two months : to see my friends and my family, to go to the movies, to go some conferences about current topics... or to play the banjo.
But as a colleague of mine said, all the experiences can be seen in a positive way, in spite of the difficulties encountered – because you always learn new things about the world and you.
Because of the pandemic, I wasn't able to travel in Spain as I wanted. Fortunately, I explored Extremadura, a region that I didn't know before my volunteering and that I really liked. We went to the lovely cities of Caceres and Merida with my collegues, and also to some arachaelogical sites, This part of Spain has a very interesting history and Toño enjoyed telling a lot of facts about it. We also went by bike to see some beautiful wild landscapes with the other volunteer, Mimi.
In the end, I'll have a nice memory of this volunteering. I'm gonna miss all the people I met during these two months, the quiet of the place, my chozo (the small house where I was sleeping), the animals. I'm sure this experience will inspire me for the rest of my life.¨