We are starting to get everything squared away for our departure. Our flight will depart from Chicago O'Hare International airport on Thursday afternoon. From Chicago we head to Frankfurt, Germany with a layover just long enough to enjoy some German beer. Then to Bombay (Mumbai), India! We will finally arrive in Bangalore, a two hour flight from Bombay, at 4 am on Saturday morning.
We'll stumble out of the plane looking like zombies, probably. Not wanting to navigate a crazy-ass Indian city jet-lagged and totally green, we arranged to be picked up at the airport. Our fellow co-oper, Namitha, put us in contact with her aunt Shalini there. Hopefully she'll show us around and keep me (Andy) from doing anything too stupid for the first few days. To travel light, Paige and I are only bringing a few days of clothes and we're going to buy Indian clothes in the markets there. I hope Shalini's cooking skillz are as awesome as Nami's and I look forward to seeing what real Indian food is like. A reliable source has told me that everything in the south is fried in coconut oil, which is awesome!
Farming starts in earnest on the 20th. We'll be staying for about a month and a half each at three different farms. The farmers invest time in teaching WWOOFers the skills to be helpful at the farm, so it's good etiquette to stay for at least a month afterward and put those skills to use.
The first farm we'll stay at is a small family farm just outside of Bangalore owned by a gent named John Fennessy. He's a US expat with an Indian wife, so there shouldn't be any language barrier issues while we adjust to working on a farm. What do they do there?
The land is mostly flat, the plot is long and narrow, just under five acres, with an already established mango and chickoo orchard, as well as several full grown coconuts, mangoes and pomegranate trees. We have begun making intensive vegetable gardens, and there are some completely open fields, which we hope to use for growing more veggies and field crops. That said, it is definitely a young farm and where most of the work is happening there is little shade… It is a life of simplicity and hard work amid a peaceful atmosphere.
Sweet. His farming approach is based upon permaculture which I have had great curiosity about. Traditional agricultural approaches are very hard on the soil, depleting nutrients and requiring continual addition of fertilizers. Permaculture instead aims to build healthy and diverse ecosystems that yield produce for the people cultivating them.
The beaches of Kerala will be close enough to make trips on the weekend. This is what it looks like outside of my house:
This is what the beaches in Kerala look like: