Summertime, a party and volunteers with Le Rêve de Gaïa

With autumn comes the reminiscing of summer. And though fall here is beautiful, I thought I might take you on a trip down memory lane of the last months here at la Resse.

The summer was in one word fantastic, and also very hectic, busy, hot and dry, but very enjoyable nonetheless. To start with, we finished the volunteer bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen at the beginning of summer, and we were therefore able to start hosting volunteers with us! after we uploaded our profiles online, it didn’t take long before we had the first applicants. With our first volunteers we did a lot of garden work, finished some constructions, designed and built a garden table and made illustrative maps of the terrain here. It was great to notice that two pairs of extra hands gave our productivity a massive boost.

After our first volunteer experience, it was time to seriously start preparing for our grand open air kick-off party that was planned for the end of July. Many many things had to be done, an outdoor shower and some beds had to be built, an extra toilet had to be installed, a wooden structure needed to be built on the party field where we would be able to serve the buffet, drinks and put a music installation. Furthermore, camping spots had to be prepared, groceries had to be done, a tour had to be set out for that day, everything had to look representable, food needed to be prepared, music playlists had to be created etc. To be fair, the amount of work and little amount of time made me slightly nervous. Not that I do not have a lot of faith in my partner Antoine, who is a very hard worker, but planning, organization and structure are not his strongest assets. And though I do posess these skills, my practical skills and physical strength are by very far not as advanced as his. Finetuning and compensating our strengths and weaknesses to generate the best possible outcome is a challenging task, especially under time pressure.
However, my worries soon faded when two of Antoine’s friends arrived. After having showed my action plan, they effortlessly started organizing and executing the tasks on the list and we started to make some serious progress. “Pfew” I thought, Our saviors! A couple of days later, two volunteers, arrived as well to help us preparing. Again, I was happily surprised by their flawless orgnization skills and soon things started to take shape. More guests where arriving and then it was already Saturday the 28th, party time!

What a wonderful day and night it was, there where about 50 guests. At first sight, a very random bunch of people, friends from Holland, from Berlin, Antoine’s friends,  our new friends from the area, my family and his, old and young people, some different nationalities etc. But, everyone seemed to get along very well, there was an incredibly fun, easy going and loving atmosphere with an overall sense of unity. All that was being enjoyed with a big table full of delicious homemade food, a BBQ, music and a huge campfire. Laughter could be heard, and smiles could be seen all day and night long and I couldn’ be more satisfied with the outcome of this party. What a great official kick-off for our project! My gratitute to everyone who was here and to everyone who sent their support is HUGE.

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Foto's Zuid Frankrijk 2018 _20180731_9999_10In the days after, some guests stayed a while longer, we worked a bit and our volunteers organized some lovely outdoor spa sessions to recover, complete with essential oils, facial masks and coffee ground scrubs. How awesome is that? I seriously believe we just attract the best people here!

The rest of the summer we were fully booked with volunteers, with a small break in between until the end of September. During this time, the vegetable garden was in full bloom and finally we could start harvesting our vegetables. There is really nothing more satisfying to me than harvesting after months of hard work and a lot of patience. And moreover, to be able to feed everyone who stayed here with our delicious vegetables. I am one proud gardener, if I may call myself that now, because really, just over a year ago, I was still a city girl.
With the help of volunteers we had delicious meals every day and started to conserve the foods that we couldn’t eat fresh to stock up for winter time. It was wonderful to notice that all volunteers until now, with their specific knowledge and skill sets, seemed to come at the right time for us. We received great contributions, input, ideas and were lucky to have so many good conversations with all of them. Overall this was a very good experience, to have people here with whom we could share our project with. At first I was afraid I would find it a bit invasive, having strangers around all the time, but it has enriched our project and our lives more than we could have thought.

And yes, I passed my 1 year anniversary here at la Resse. Time flies when you’re having fun. Looking back at the last year, it was a wild adventure, surely not always easy, but I am happy with what we’ve accomplished so far. A lot has changed in a year, I believe we built a solid base, the beginning is here and now we can start expanding it as far as we like. And in the upcoming months I will write more short posts to update you. Ok I know, I say that every blog post, but hey, stay tuned anyway…





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