Monday, April 17, 2006

Australian Mud Bath

There are some experiences that remind you who you really are inside. No matter how much you may try to change, there are some characteristics that are fundamental to your personality. Today, my identity as a spoiled brat was wholly confirmed. I, a girl who has never done a hard day's work in my entire life, decided it would be a good idea to try my hand at farm work. It seemed like a good idea when I made the decision--it's a new experience, I can do it for only a few weeks, it's a good way to save money (because it's always in small towns where there's nothing to spend it on), and I'd heard it wasn't so bad.

After four days of sitting around bored to tears at the hostel, there was finally work this morning and I was ready to go. It's been raining a bit here in Bowen, North Queensland, and when the ground is wet the machines that usually plant tomatoes can't drive properly so it all has to be done by hand. The fields were pure mud. They had us take off our shoes because it wasn't worth it to keep them on. Tomato planting consists of one person dropping the plants on to a plastic cover and another person poking holes in the cover and planting the plants. Basically, it's a lot of bending over.

The rows we planted seemed endless. There were 100 plants in a crate, and we just went through crate after crate. My back was sore after about 10 minutes. Just when you got to the end of the row, there'd be another row to start. All in ankle-deep mud. The sun came out for awhile, which made me think I was going to faint. As much as I adore the sun, it is hotter here than anywhere I've ever been, including the Caribbean, southern India, and equatorial Kenya. It's just brutal. Luckily the rain started up again. Never have I been so glad to be in soaking wet jeans.

Finally they told us we were finished. My shoulders and back ached, and I have the feeling my arms and legs will be sore tomorrow. I checked the time--we had only been out there for three hours! What am I going to do when we have to work a full day?

There is no question in my mind that I am not cut out for farm work. I will stay the week and a half that I have left, probably praying every night that there will be no work the next day. Yes, I am a spoiled and prissy and can't handle manual labor. But right now, I'm just fine with that.


esl said...

That's hilarious!

Mom said...

Now you can relate to your mother who spent many an hour hoeing sugar beets and blessing every drop of rain that kept us out of the fields.
Remember to wear lots and lots of sunscreen and then put on a long sleeved shirt and a hat just to be sure. This too will pass and you will have something to tell the grandkids. Hang in there.

Beto Chavez said...

haha!!! i did field work since i was 7 with my parents!! it's painful and hard!! but i know my geeth geeth is a strong and capable woman...hehe. besos.

Erika Glenda said...

too bad you didn't have a sun hat, huh? and mine is just sitting on my wall doing nothing. AGAIN, I am very jealous of the.. er.. fun you're having.