Friday, July 20, 2012


Kate and Elior fooling around, they are both Volunteering here at the moment

Would you work for R 800.00 per month? Now although this is very very low pay, it is actually below the legal wage limit in South Africa, way below, but let us ignore that for now. My point is, jobs are very scarce in this country and a lot of job in the alternative and green fields are taken by volunteers. Volunteers are well meaning travelers on fairly low budget, but they will actually pay money to work and stay as volunteers at alternative communities, eco villages, organic farms etc.

Unknowingly this kind of tourism actually takes jobs away from locals. Why would you pay somebody (even below minimum wage) if somebody else is willing to pay you to “have the experience”. This whole thing is a bit out of control. In this “experience’ the volunteer, mostly students, come and work in your garden in exchange for knowledge and skill. This is a great idea and obviously the volunteers has to stay somewhere and this is normally where the “donation” comes in and then you still have to work a certain amount of hours per day and you do basic things like digging in the garden or weeding or depending on your skills, build or break, mostly quite physical, but also low paid jobs. This is where the problem comes in, these low paid, low skilled jobs are now done by the volunteers and somebody is losing out on a job because, as I said, why would you pay somebody to do a job that somebody else is will to pay you to do?

I think volunteering is a great idea but volunteers should be made aware of what is happening. All the volunteers I have met so far are wonderful people, they have good intent and wonderful plans and they do bring money into the county, but unfortunately, there is this one little problem, the one explained above.

The same reason so many alternatives have so many kids in such dire times, they are breeding their own workforce, why pay somebody if you can “make” them. I know I am going to be in big trouble for this one, but that is just the way I see it.

Winter garden

An absolute winter essential around here, mini Greenhouse

The internet or rather lack of internet is still driving me insane, that combined with the lack of power, but on the brighter side, we planted about 400 seedlings yesterday. Nice little team effort with the kids getting involved. I must say I have never replanted carrots; you normally put them straight into the ground. They are tiny, they are not even orange at the bottom and at first I thought they were little parsley plants. That was embarrassing! We panted yesterday and today it is raining. I am not so sure if that is a good or a bad thing, they need the water, but this is icy cold rain, might even snow.

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