Here at Taino Farm, from time to time we get to experience the delight of sharing a glimpse of farm life in the Dominican Republic with one of our guests. Guest blogger Ny-Ann Nolasco wrote us and and shared about her experience here!
During my stay in the Dominican Republic, I had the opportunity to work on Taino Farms for a day as a hybrid intern and tourist and get a glimpse of farm life in the Dominican Republic. Working on the farm had many wonderful surprises; learning how unfit I was for anything that required exerting effort was not one of them. I’d never worked on a farm before and I even unfriend people who invite me to “Farmville” on Facebook.
Every time I lifted the hoe to clear off weeds around the tree, I wished there was an app for it. It didn’t take long before I realized my glimpse of farm life in the Dominican Republic was also a form of agricultural Crossfit. When you lift and push a wheel barrow, you just have to tuck your elbows in and it’s a kind of triceps workout. When you cut down a branch with a saw, you Use your hips! or Use your knees! Going up to the kitchen at Taino Farm was like going up the eff’ng stair masters. Mountain climbers??? How about you climb the hill that gets you to the river? A glimpse of farm life in the Dominican Republic was an authentic workout experience, filled with huffing, puffing and cussing.
There are guys in the gym who lift 200 lbs of <whatever it is they’re lifting>, but me, the only “200” I do is type 200 words per minute in my ergonomically set up office – the kind of office that reduces the repetitive stress injury so that you can repeat the same stressful activity over and over again. I was definitely out of my element at the farm. I wanted to “work on a farm” because it was a romanticized thought in my head: working with my hands… working hard… under the sun… Turns out working with your hands means getting knee deep in dirt, working hard means pouring out sweat and under the hot sun means slathering yourself with sunscreen. Though I underestimated how difficult it would be to do those things, my glimpse of farm life in the Dominican Republic showed me that the idealized phrases amounted to more than just a lot of shaking muscles, but also a whole lot of pride at the end of the day. Every time I cut a branch with a saw (granted it was about the size of a quarter), I felt like I WON! And I happily proclaimed it to the tree and the surrounding goats.
At the end of the day, do I fit in at the farm? Absolutely! It was so much fun being out there learning about plants and pruning principles and methods of cutting branches to avoid pests and diseases, all while learning Spanish too! And it was even more fun eating the produce. A glimpse of farm life in the Dominican Republic doesn’t leave your stomach lacking. Hungry? Grab a starfruit from the nearest tree. Walking back to the main house? Grab a lemon mangosteen from the nearest tree. Working? Grab a banana from the nearest tree. Resting? Grab an abiu from the nearest tree! I’m not quite “fit” enough to be really efficient in the farm yet, but if you work hard and enjoy it, you’ll fit right in with the crew, the goat, the cows, the chickens, and Piggy, the beloved farm dog. My glimpse of farm life in the Dominican Republic definitely made me want to go back!
The best part of the day? Jumping in the river. I’m reluctant to even tell you about this well kept secret because you might end up going there and crowding the isolated, cool, and amazingly wonderful river!