My Stay at the Desteni Farm in South Africa

in farmlife •  9 months ago

My Stay at the Desteni Farm

I can’t believe I’ve been at the farm for 17 days already! Time flies – which is a good reminder to make the most of each moment! This is a lesson I take seriously, especially as I settle in here at the farm. I thought it would be easy to adjust to the life-style and pace here, because when I visited two years ago, things were easy and comfortable. This time, however, knowing it was a more long-term stay, my body needed some time to settle in with regards to the climate, food, and then there's the need to structure my own time for myself. There are no schedules given to me here, no boss to keep me in line, and nobody looking over my shoulder to see what I am up to. Here, I must rely on self-honesty and self-movement. I want to make the most of my time here, and push the points that would have me do otherwise.

The Environment

The environment here is amazing, unlike anything I have experienced at home in Canada. It seems like around every corner there is something new and exotic for me to see and understand. Whether it be plants, animals, man-made structures or even people, everything is quite different due to climate, geography, political landscape, culture and economy.

The one thing that remains constant is the fact that no matter which environment we are born into, we all have the same basic need and the requirement for support. Here in South Africa, the consequences of lacking such basic support are more apparent. This is something to which I choose not to turn a blind eye – but rather to understand and penetrate so that I truly know what it looks like to live in lack, and so be able to place myself in the shoes of another.

The living space here is at the same time incredible, and basic. I do not have the luxuries I get at home. This does not mean, however, that I feel deprived. Everything that is here is taken care of and used responsibly; items are recycled, repaired, and reused, daily tasks are managed well, and even the kitchen scraps are a valuable source of food for the chickens and other wild animals.

Within this, I can see the results of people taking self-responsibility, considering the group as one and equal (which includes the humans, the animals (both wild and domestic), as well as the physical environment), and treating the physical space here as an extension of themselves.

I found it quite easy to let go of the luxuries I was used to and adjust to enjoying the simple things – the awesomness of nature, a hot bath (it is quite cold here at the moment, especially at night), unbelievable people, a hearty meal, a hot cup of tea, a fire at night, succulent fruit, fun and playful moments with animals and Caesar. Consumerism globally runs like a rampant disease in this world, and the amount of stuff we own that is one-time use or cheaply made is the source of a lot of problems, both environmental and on an internal level of what we are accepting and allowing. But here, life takes place within and as simplicity, yet every need or want I have expressed has been accommodated for wherever and however possible, and if not possible, alternatives are given. Letting go of the apparent ‘luxuries has been like a breath of fresh air.

The bedrooms here are clean and spacious, providing a place for everything including working on the computer. The importance of one’s personal space is understood and honoured, as we all need a place to rest, work, or just spend time alone if we want. Aside from the bedrooms, everything else is shared and communal, yet it never feels crowded – even at dinner time when everybody comes together to serve up a meal. Everyone pitches in and is busy with their own projects and responsibilities, all the work gets done, just like in nature, nothing is ever rushed.

I will continue in my next blog with: The People!

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Wow, right here in my country, sounds lovely. Are you here for long?


It IS lovely! Such amazing scenery, animals, plants and people. I am here for three years, as that was the maximum amount of time the volunteer visa would allow for. If I could, I would have made it longer!


Enjoy every moment!