The only problem now that more people are staying on the farm is the situation with the compost toilets.  We have access to two which are in the same cubical/block if you like, however the one that I used to use which faces the teepee has an open window in the door so it’s out of bounds now as far as I am concerned.  The other one, should have been closed off for use some time ago as it is too full and therefore shouldn’t really be used, plus lets say, the smell is a long way off fresh!  So it’s a very quick in and out of the loo, a speedy solar powered shower (only at this time in the morning it’s running off gas as the sun hasn’t been out long enough) and straight into the book, The Money Less Man.  I really want to try and read as much of this book as possible today before I have to put it back on the shelf.  It’s amazing how early I’m getting up these days, I’m actually surprising myself.

Todays class was all about making natural products, we had a lot to make so we had a busy schedule.

We started off making deodorant, from a mixture of cocunt oil, almond oil and bee’s wax, then we made massage oil, followed by a couple of creams for the medicine cabinet and finally some soap.  Making the products was great fun and the best part, was that we got to keep everything we had made.  All in all the Medicinal Herb workshop was fantastic, Daphna was an excellent teacher, the course was great value for money, the food was delicious and we got to meet some really interesting people (and took some great tips for our future ventures through Portugal).   Our time at Varzea da Goncala had come to an end, just when we were starting to feel like we belonged here.

It was time to say goodbye to our fellow class mates and pack the car ready for the next part of our quest.

It was hard to say goodbye to Chris, who truly was an admirable man, he had established a little Permaculture heaven in the valley and opened his home to many people, he didn’t judge, he provided, yet asked for nothing, genuine and kind, an inspiration.  I left feeling like I wanted to do more for him, to have given/done more whilst we were volunteering here, but all I could do was make sure I had left a decent amount of euro’s in the honesty box towards the use of the gas.

It was also hard to say goodbye to Daphna and her family, I felt close to Daphna in the short time that we had been here.  Perhaps Arturo provided us with our lasting memory.  “Remember to open your hearts” he said.  That is exactly what I need to do, that is what everyone who lives here does and that is what has made Varzea da Goncala very special.  The drive down the track to the main road gives time for reflection and just as we reach a small hamlet we see Anthony on his bike with his daughter, making his way back from the beach.  We were so glad to see Anthony as it didn’t feel right having left Varzea without having said goodbye to him, but now we could continue our journey to the next destination with even more gratification.


Interesting Fact:    Humans  generally react instinctively by licking/sucking an open wound when they cut themselves.  But it is becoming more and more common these days to wash the wound and apply a cream due to the thought that we could infect ourselves if we don’t follow this procedure.  However it is scientifically proven that we should really adhere to our instinctive response as our saliva is a natural antiseptic.   Our saliva contains nitric oxide which is a powerful antimicrobial substance.  It is said that Fijian fishermen encourage their dogs to lick their wounds to promote rapid healing!