At Damali, volunteers stay in the WWOOFer loft. It is situated on top of the lavender shop (I included a photo of the shop in the previous entry) and has four bed spaces, a kitchen, a dining area, and a living room area with couches, a television and an X-box console.
Each “room” had a light, mattress, and some pillows. I say room with quotation marks because they were more like holes in the wall. (Later on, all of us volunteers referred to our sleeping quarters as “holes.”)
To get to my mattress, I had to crouch down and go through a rectangular frame about 4 feet high and maybe 3 feet wide. The mattress was to my left upon entering the “hole” and it was shaped like a triangle. None of us were able to stand in our rooms, and I bumped my head against the top of the hole a few times from miscalculating how much I had to bend to fit into my sleeping area. Our “doors” were curtains held by a rope on the left side of the frame that we simply draped down.
There were four other volunteers at Damali throughout my stay there. The first I met was Karolyne, a French girl studying agricultural engineering in Paris who was at Damali for a summer internship.
Later on in the day I met Matteo and Chiara (an Italian couple) and Andrea (from Germany). Matteo and Chiara are graphic designers (they’re on Tumblr if any of you use that :)); Andrea is a student finishing up studies in food science.
The day I arrived, we watched Michael McCully perform.
The audience was small with only about a dozen people filling the seats. Mainly, the audience consisted of the volunteers, those living on the Damali property, and some interns at Cherry Point, a winery just a few minutes away from Damali. We had some chips and pink lemonade, and listened to Michael’s live performance.
In the evening, Matteo, Chiara, Andrea, Karolyne, and I had crepes and hamburgers for dinner. We were also joined by Michael, his photographer Jason, and some of the people living on the property: Dave, Marsha, Diana, David, and Alison.
I immediately felt a communal vibe in the loft. It seemed as if everyone rushed to help out, whether it was setting the table, making dinner, or washing dishes. Because everyone was almost always doing housework, you’d feel out of place if you weren’t doing something. Additionally, we ate our meals together all the time. They said eating together is common in their European households. This seems the opposite case in many American households (at least some that I’m familiar with), where people tend to eat on their own terms.