We left off earlier in part 1 just as decided to take on the WWOOF experience is fly down to San Juan, Puerto Rico in search of hard work in exchange of food, shelter, and a bucket it excrete waste. Remember, this was my dream at the time, and I couldn’t wait any longer to achieve my goals. So I bought the ticket to San Juan. The first farm I had contacted was a youthful group of individuals who got together to buy some land and grow fruit trees and yams. They were a fun bunch of people from all over the world. The farm was in Patillas situated on the side of a mountain that you had to walk up in order to arrive at your destination. This is quite a feat when you are hauling up farm tools and beer. I understood immediately why they want as many volunteers as they could get. We were their donkeys, and we had to buy our own beer. I pitched a tent and slept until 4am every morning when the roosters started to crow. They were overwhelming. Every damn day.
After about a month there I decided to leave that farm and go to the middle of the island in hopes to find a farm void of roosters. This was impossible but I did manage to find a fantastic farm that would actually change my life forever. The farm owner was from Connecticut, but had moved to the island to raise his family off the grid which is exactly what is was, off-grid with no lines. Reinaldo was his name and we started off our relationship with a machete in hand, cutting grass, lots of grass. A few weeks went by and he decided he wanted a new outdoor kitchen. Here is when my construction career began. He had already built his house, a nice house made with milled lumber he bought from a lumber yard with a tool shed attached on the side. He hung only the sharpest of blades from the rafters in case of a burglary coinciding with an earthquake. Reinaldo knew the basics of building and could man handle a newly cut tree like a bear looking for honey.
We continued to machete in the morning, and now afternoon plans were for the kitchen remodel. The existing one was made from lumber he cut from his land, de-barked, posts used to frame the building. The rest of the kitchen was made with bamboo. It was actually quite impressive.
The next post will be the last of the trilogy going into more detail about my intro to construction with Reinaldo.