March 11, 2012

Overlook Farm

Ann and Gary with Iamou
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I was an in home care giver. Not to say that caring for the elderly wasn't challenging, but it was never my passion, and after nine months at over eighty hours per week I began looking for a new path. I sat in the room I rented at a New Hampshire boarding house with The Backdoor Guide to Short Term Job Adventures (which I've recommended many times) and began highlighting potential destinations. It didn't take me long to find Overlook Farm in Rutland Massachusetts, one of Heifer International's two US education centers. Remember that when I make a change it's a fast one, so within a month and a half I was a residential volunteer.

I lived at Overlook Farm for a year and loved it. It's one of those places that feels completely separated from the greater reality of the world, even though our job is to educate people about that reality.  As well as being a fully operational farm, they have the Global Village, with houses like the ones found in Peru, China, Poland, Kenya, and Ghana. Visitors can see how people live in other countries and even get to participate in the livestock chores. Check them out for potential work camping opportunities, residential volunteer positions, or just to stop by and take a tour when you're passing through the state. you won't regret the time spent.

Donna: the fearless livestock manager
Since leaving the farm I've tried to stay in touch with the many awesome people there and volunteer for events whenever I can. This weekend was their annual pancake breakfast and I was lured out of my studies with the promise of fresh sausage and maple syrup, both of which are produced on site. It was great (as always) so mark you calendars for this time next year.

Years ago when I told my client, a crotchety former school teacher, that I was leaving her to work for Heifer International she said "Heifer International? Is that a fat camp?" If you too are unsure of what Heifer International is please take a look at their website and no, it's not a fat camp.

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