We know we are city people, and it was never more evident than this last week as we went out on the ledge again for a WWOOFing experience. And it was truly wonderful and hilarious.
WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. It’s a worldwide phenomenon, mostly for backpackers and serious folks who want to learn how to farm sustainably. We are neither, but wanted to check it out and dive into an authentic Italian family experience. And we got it. We stayed with the Rollis, a precious Southern Italian crew who are the quintessential multi-generational family living and working together every day. Papa and Mama come over each morning to the farm where Alice (that’s Ah-LEE-chay in Italian!) and Marco live and run Le Fattizze, an agri-campground. There are many jobs on the farm that we helped out with – Mitch built a goat shed, Luke and I gathered eggs, picked up trash and weeded around the campground, and we all helped cook and clean up each night.
The best part of the experience for us was joining the family meals and experiencing a true Italian table. Of course, the food was AMAZING! And the conversation, while stilted in English, was more enjoyable when flowing in Italian and we could sit back and listen to the melody, not understanding a single word.
Going in, we were a bit anxious about the language gap. It was clear in our early email exchanges that our friends’ English was about the same as our Italian. Enter our Argentinian angel, Diego. He was the other WWOOFer at the farm and not only did he speak English, but he learned it while living in America as a child…just a few miles from where Mitch and I grew up in Marietta! Thank you Jesus, another of the many answered prayers.
This experience, which was meant to push us once again, ended up being a triumph and treasured memory. Don’t get me wrong…it was a stretch out of the comfort zone in more ways than one. I didn’t wash my hair for days (the bathroom facilities were not on the level we were used to) and the mosquitos did a number on all of us. But that was nothing in comparison to the unique and heartwarming experience of making true friends in a country we adore and stepping into their lives for even just a few days. I am not cut out to be a farmer, but I may be back to Le Fattizze to see our friends again some day!