My first experience, their first experience too. Both of us (Host and WWOOFer) are new to this program. I was worried but excited. From the forum wrote by other wwoofers, good things and bad things did happen. To be at unknown place and meet unknown people, i’m glad that my sister, Nor was with me.
We travelled for more than 4 hours by express bus to southern part of South Korea due to New Year long holiday’s traffic jam. We arrived at Geochang Terminal Bus around 9.30 pm and hurriedly i gave a call to our Host. Around 20 minutes later, our host arrived, a women around 45 years old. Our place to stay not that far from Terminal Bus (around 20 – 30 minutes walking). We left our bag in a small Hanok house and again been brought to another house belong to another host. Hahaha ..From the conversation over supper, i got to know that my host is not 1 person or a family but consist of 6 families together under a group call TURWOOL. They called each other by nickname, no real name and i don’t need to use respect term who a younger person or stranger like me should use to address other people which a big NO in Korean society. hahaha .. i still recalled how nervous i am trying to address them just by their name.
Winter when most of people is in hibernating mode especially for farmer, nothing much we done for 7 days staying there. But i learned a lot appreciating time without the buzzling life at big city, without tv, without internet connection. Our routine everyday will be woke up early, walking around 5 – 10 minutes to one of our host second house aka workplace. Having breakfast, helping our host with her chores, lunch, back to our place and touring the village or sometimes went to the town. As our stay fall during festive celebration aka Seollal or in Malaysia, Chinese New Year, we experienced how local celebrate it. Starting with rice cake soup as breakfast, greeting the elders (bow), together with one of the host family to watch movie, we spent the holiday like local did.
The other things that i cannot forget is the experience of managing ondol system using charcoal in a very traditional way and manually. Even my younger korean friends impressed with that coz it’s hardly been used nowadays. Find out more about ONDOL.
Only on the last day, when the weather much more warmer, we managed to work at the farm by cleaning out the previous left over harvest and prepare the land for spring. And at night with 2 of our hosts, we watched an old German movie at Geochang Community Centre.
Even i had not experienced farming activity here, but I enjoying a slow life Geochang offered me. And time spending with my hosts was a memorable one. I’m not sure how Sangi the poet, Param the painter, Yonggam the academician, Hasim and his Pansoori husband and others whom I didn’t had a chance to meet got together at Geochang, But they are here now, to achieve their dreams to be involved with nature and away from busy life at big city. We bid goodbye on the day snow slowly falling at Geochang with a promised to be back when their hotel project finish in 3 years time. Till then, Thank you TURWOOL!!!