“Mom, mom look what a cute little yellow gosling! Can we take it home? Please, please!”. So they take the little, yellow gosling home. They take care of it and feed it even though they have no idea how because the only thing they know about little yellow goslings is that they are little and yellow.
When little yellow gosling becomes a big, grey goose which poops a lot and tries to fly, they are confused. Nobody told them that little goslings grow up to poop more and fly! They sometimes cut the goose’s feathers. Sometimes its wings deform by themselves due to bad diet. Such pet is not fun anymore. They call a rescue and ask them to take it.
Really a lot of birds get to Skywater Rescue Ranch and Sanctuary this way. There are other reasons as well, almost all the animals here have their own, sad story. Being hit by a car, getting tangled in nets, falling out of a nest, attack of another animal. All of them need help – and they get it there.
What was my role in it?
WWOOF volunteering in the USA. My day.
Feeding and watering the birds
My morning routine was to feed and water all the birds on the farm.
Boring? Not necessarily. Some of the birds eat seeds but some of them eat dead mice. Yum, it doesn’t sound boring, does it? My first meeting with the mice was quite difficult but after a few days I had great fun playing with them 😉
No comments needed 🙂
Cleaning up after birds
Let’s say that birds are not the cleanest creatures in the world. So I had to clean bird poop out of a concrete terrace. Also, unfortunately not all stories have a happy ending so I also had to clean up dead birds a few times. Well, it’s a part of a bigger process. You can’t save the world without getting your hands dirty.
Preparing medicine for the birds
I was injecting medicine into a mouse, which I fed an owl with. It has already been this stage of my friendship with dead mice that it was a very fascinating task 🙂
WWOOF – other tasks
WWOOF is about working on a farm or a ranch but it doesn’t mean you won’t do anything else. A lot depends on the place and how much work the farm requires but you may be doing other, not farm related things too. I helped to prepare the house for painting, cooked dinner a few times, drove the car when my host Stefanie couldn’t do it after her surgery.
What are the advantages of volunteering as a WWOOFer in the USA?
I’ve heard a few times – that’s all great but why did you volunteer? You could have seen so much more in the meantime instead of getting dirty with bird poop. Yes, I could have, but I didn’t want to. Why?
The fact that for these three weeks I almost didn’t spend my own money at all because I didn’t need them neither for accommodation nor for food is an obvious advantage – but it’s not the most important one.
First of all, I met amazing people. I lived with them for these three weeks and I participated in their American life. I got to know the “American way of thinking” and even though I knew it to some extent already and it’s not very different from ours, it was very interesting to learn more about it.
WWOOF is not only work – it’s also fun and travelling. During my stay I was riding a bike around small towns which I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Together with my host Stefanie we went wine tasting to California Shenandoah Valley and to Napa Valley. She took me to the best Golden Gate bridge viewing points. Thanks to her recommendations I visited beautiful places which are not so popular among international visitors – Lake Tahoe, Muir Woods, Bear Valley / Point Reyes National Seashore.
Is it worth volunteering in WWOOF program?
Yes, it is! I gained new experiences (a city person working on a farm?!), I learned a lot – about birds, about life on American village, about an “American point of view” – and about myself. Due to these experiences I again became a bit better version of myself. And at least I know, what little, yellow gosling grows up to be 🙂
Are you ready? 🙂 Now check how WWOOF works and find your own volunteering opportunity. Also remember that WWOOF is not the only option. You can also check what was I doing as a volunteer with AIESEC in Russia and my opinions and hints about volunteering with AIESEC.
In case you aren’t fully convinced, check this post in which I asked Polish travel bloggers if in their opinion it is worth volunteering abroad 🙂
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