Hell to heaven – Ocho Rios pt 1

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There are a lot of things I have learnt to cope with during my life, and I do cope pretty well. Reading faces, change, understand social cues and, to be honest,  being social full stop. I had to face these challenges head-on at uni, it threw me in at the deep end. Now it seems my main difficulties are more sensory; temperature changes, foods smells, textures, mud, bugs and noise especially set me on edge, although I still find being with or around people for long periods of time very exhausting. Luckily I can spend hours with Jake in comfortable silence and neither of us are bothered. Despite this, I have tried to face everything so far head-on and have lived though it (with only the occasional breakdown.)

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After Montego Bay, we started out first workaway in Ocho Rios. It was a farm in Fern Gully. Our hosts were French-Canadian Lise and Jamaican Michael; and two nicer people you could never meet. Soon it felt like home. Michael gave me the nickname of “Miss UK” and Jake was “The English Man.”

It was a little shaky start. We arrived Sunday night and our bedroom door had swollen because of the rain and wouldn’t shut. We had to tie it closed from the inside. We also had to cook in this little hut in the dark with giant moths flapping in our faces and trying not the scream at finding a cockroach on top of the fridge door; and let’s not forget the non-flushing compost toilet.

Jake said wait until the morning and everything will get better, and as usual (I hate to say that) he was right. I loved it. We were there for two weeks – at first – and in the end we didn’t want to leave.

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They plan was to work four hours a day, five days a week, 7-11. Now my job back home didn’t usually start till 10, so I usually got up at 8 so I had time to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and be ready at work for quarter to. The idea now of getting up at six was horrifying! Especially while we are technically in holiday. It was so difficult to begin with. The early start and physical work did help me sleep, which was needed as the cockerels had decided it was time to call out every day around 2:30 am.

 

I would not say I am unfit, at home I did swimming, Krav Maga and Pole Fitness classes, but that exercise is very different to farm Labour in the 30° heat at some awful time in the morning. We were working with these two guys from Germany, Marco and Chris who we got along with really well. We chatted a lot, went out together and they taught is card games – which I usually managed to beat them at.

Our first day we were working with a man named Lator, weeding , transplanting Cilantro and Arugula (I think that’s Coriander and Rocket in UK English) and picking the carrots and tomatoes, which were then cooked by the most excellent chef – Colin, for us for lunch.  It was quite fun actually, except I got bit by something that did not agree with me one bit. It made me go dizzy, my ears go fuzzy, and for a bit it got so bright I couldn’t see. It went as fast as it came and I was back after about twenty minutes rest.

Over the two weeks we did lots of different types of work. We built the fire pit; which we had Pizza around one night using the proper clay pizza oven. We did watering, weeding, seeding, planting in the fields, concrete mixing, built an earth bag/ cob house, painting wooden beams for the roof and some wormacompost (well Jake did) – as soon as I realised it was sifting though mud and picking up worms I quickly scampered away.

I have come far, but not that much.

 

Pt 2 I will talk about the people we met, the things we did, and the puppy!

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