It was interesting to be a volunteer in Madagascar. I think this experience was full of change and pleasure. My project was Wildlife Research and Conservation and when I arrived at the camp, everyone said hello to me with big smile and enthusiasm. It made me feel like home; like we were family.
The typical day at work started at 8am with feeding the animals (horses, alpacas, llamas, goats, camels), which was my favorite part of the day. It took about an hour after which I had some free time. At 11 am we started cleaning the guest houses, which took a few hours before some more free time until 5 pm when we fed the animals once more.
My favorite part of the day was on the way to the Old City when we passed a group of palm trees. Our guide made us stop and told us to look at all the trees. He asked if they were all the same and then explained how each palm tree was a tree that grew slightly differently. For me this was the perfect image of Israel, a place where everyone is growing separately yet still a unit growing and developing together. It made me realize that life is not about them or us, but about everyone just in different places.
I loved working in the garden, Shlomo was a great teacher. It was lovely being able to spend a few hours under the sun, working with such beautiful flowers; especially since I come from a big city! The plants grown in the greenhouse are also grown by the students, and they later sell them to raise money for the school. I also got to work with the animals, which was my favorite part. The school has chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, birds, chinchillas, and more that I’m sure I’ve forgotten. I loved my baby goats the most!.
I do miss all the mornings and afternoons with the horses. I have engaged in some garden works like harvesting and plowing. The freshly harvested food was very delicious. I enjoyed every meal with the great view of Requijada’s landscape. Also, I participated in the ornithological research which offered me a valuable opportunity to appreciate and understand more about different breeds of birds.
Genevieve and Brian have really found a little slice of heaven. I had my own straw bale cabin that immediately felt like home. In fact on one weekend I left the comfort of the farm and ventured to the coast of Spain to do some diving (since we are given weekends off) and I remember after a few short hours of being on this beautiful coastline – I started to feel “home sick” for my straw bale cabin and couldn’t wait to get back to it.