Today’s the day I began volunteering in The Wildflower Home. I will start of by telling you about The Wildflower Home and the supports that are available. The home provides shelter and supports for women, young mothers and women from indigenous/hill tribe communities from situations of poverty, domestic violence, abuse and discrimination. The women are often shunned by their families and communities when they find themselves pregnant and out of wedlock as this is seen as placing a bad omen or curse on the home or community.
The main goal of The Wildflower Home is to support the women to empower themselves through life skills, education, parenting skills, law classes, organic/sustainable agriculture, needle craft, art and self healing, which in turn enables the women to become self sufficient.
Volunteers are collected at 8 am by our driver P’Yu. The journey to the home takes us 40 minutes outside of the city but it only felt like 5 minutes as I gazed at the mountain landscape so different in contrast to the neon lights and shiny temples. On arrival we were introduced to Sister Anurak of The Good Shepard Order and chatted for a while about the project and the tasks that needed to be done. Volunteers help out with workshops, English classes, construction, farming and garden work, daycare and office work.
While the women attend classes or work on the land the volunteers support them by looking after the children in daycare, a bright and colourful area where we met five children aged from 10 months to 3 years of age.
The children were very excited to see us and were full of energy, so much so they kept us busy with games, arts and crafts. We all had lunch together on a patio overlooking the farm. After lunch myself, Arron an American volunteer Tim and Myshi the workers began working on a new project which involves building a canopy cover and new pathway.
We recycled old materials from the farm and began paving the path. Everybody pitches in no matter how hard, heavy or mucky the work is. The atmosphere on the farm is one of unity, friendship and harmony.
Whilst collecting materials from the farm in my wheelbarrow I noticed the compost system wasn’t working as well as it could be as there was no protection from the hot sun and no pre-composting. This is a new project they began just a short while ago, I spoke to Sister Anurak and suggested a shelter for the compost area and a pre-composting area and regular turning of the compost. Sister Anurak was keen to hear about the worm composting project in Sikanda an NGO in Mexico and gave me the go ahead to sketch and construct the shelter and source the recycled materials from the farm. With so many volunteers from around the world the sisters welcome new ideas that will benefit the home and hopefully increase the women’s productivity and sales.
I will let ye know how the worm composting project works out.
After a long day working hard and building relationships with the woman, children, sisters and workers, I stood waiting for our bus home to the volunteer house and felt humbled by the positive energy and work ethic of the women of The Wildflower Home. As I watched them weeding, harvesting, tending to the animals and attending classes throughout the day, their strength and determination to succeed against all odds is something that will stay with me long after I leave.