The next stop I planned on my trip was Tamsin’s Scott’s house in Tuatapere, but she wouldn’t be ready for me for another five days. Tamsin had suggested I WWOOF at the local backpackers called Last Light Lodge in the meantime. (For those that don’t know, WWOOF is a global organization that facilitates work exchange programs on organic farms). So I set off for Tuatapere, a real small town in New Zealand’s Southland province, by thumb. My first time hitchhiking, I stood at the edge of Te Anau near the road and threw up my hand. Twenty or thirty minutes later, after many cars had past me by, a kiwi by the name of Nat picked me up. Nat was a tourguide working at Milford Sound, on her way to do a bit of Trekking on her own. It took me a few minutes to start to relax, not yet used to the whole hitchiking thing. But it actually turned out to be quite fun and easy to talk to someone you have never met and will likely never meet again! But actually, as chance had it, Nat wound up at the Last Light Lodge that night. Despite her plans to go trekking for 10 days she had neglected to bring a stove!
Once I arrived I met Craig, the owner of Last Light Lodge, which was a cafe mixed with a hostel, campground, and organic farm, but still quite a work in progress. I had lunch and then got to work pretty quickly painting on the rooftops of the dormitory. Craig’s neice, Chyrstie, stared up at me asking to go on her trampoline (I couldn’t resist!) I soon met the other WWOOFers, Calvin from Hong Kong, and Moritz and Sophia from Germany, who filled me in on how things worked. Food consisted of basically toast for breakfast and rice or pasta for lunch and dinner, aside from small amounts of meat and veg that Craig put in the community fridge for us. It was my first WWOOF experience and not so glamorous, but the Germans, who had been travelling and WOOFing for quite some time, assured me Last Light was quite sparse compared to other hosts.
The next couple of days I worked on building a stone wall out in front of the cafe and got a new roomate, Solenne, a young french girl. Her english was about as good as my french, which is to say quite bad! We had fun trying to talk to each other. Moritz and I ate a lot of toast.
Kelvin and Moritz
My last full day at the Lodge, I got a chance to practice some really purgative Qi Gong out in the field. I went deeper than I was normally able, opening up a deep well of energy in my gut. Later on, the WWOOFers and I were pulling some meagre looking lamb chops out of the fridge to have for dinner when a sheep shearer started accusing us of stealing food! We had assumed the chops, which were not labeled, had been put in the fridge for us by Craig. All the WOOFer’s food was unlabled while the customers’ had their names on it, as per the instructions posted on the fridge door. Apparently though, the lamb was not for us.
Taking point for my friends, who had fallen silent, I tried to reason with the aforementioned sheep shearer, offering the lamb back but pointing out their mistake in not labeling the food. The shearer would not have it– she would not take the chops back and would not admit to any mistake and continued to accuse us of theft. I got angry. And I felt it coming from that pit in my stomach! Despite my arguing, which I was kind of getting into 🙂 I got nowhere with this shearer and so we popped the lamb in the oven and proceeded to chow down in awkward silence.
For me it was a good expereince as I tend to have difficulty with conflict, but I find it really amazing that the opening I had with Qi Gong preceded the event. I had experienced similar things before — it was almost as if revealing this part of myself allowed the situation to arise.
We finished off the evening with some group yoga out in the yard under the stars. The next day I learned that Tamsin was coming early to pick me up. I gave a Yoga lesson to Lyfe, another German working at the cafe, and then packed up my things. I had had quite enough of belligerent sheep shearers and toast.