After the trip around the East Cape it was back on the bus to Gisborne where we had some Wwoofing work lined up. It wasn’t the greatest feeling ever to pack our bikes onto a bus but it would have been really silly to cycle 350 kilometers back the way we came.
The bus ride was our first time in a vehicle in a couple of weeks and it felt to us that it was going way too fast. The route was particularly narrow and windy and it made us both very car sick. I normally don’t get any kind of motion sickness but this time I felt like blowing chunks. I held it in though and the bus did what took us a week and a half in 3 hours.
The Wwoofing work we had lined up was to help with the building of a straw-baled house. The house was mostly complete when we got there but some of the rooms still needed to have the earth floors laid and some of the walls still needed to be coated and plastered with a lime rendering. There was also a lot of work to be done on the outside of the house and some finishing to to be done inside such as sanding and varnishing of doors.
Kirsty and Andrew were our hosts. They were awesome people to stay with and they were really hospitable and made us feel like part of the family. Their 3 kids Olivia, Sam and Max were a lot of fun and never short of energy. They had a dog named Bebe and a cat named Smokey. There were two other Canadian Wwoofers, Jen and Rachel, staying there at the same time as us.
Down the hill from the house was the old bus that the whole family lived in when the house was in the early stages of construction and that’s what we lived in. It had a bed in it and a small kitchen and was quite cosy. Outside, there was another double room built where there other Wwoofers stayed and off to the side there was a composting toilet and a shower.
The work we did there was fun and varied. One day we would be doing work on the house the next we would be gardening or making firewood boxes. The main job we were there to do was to lay the earth floors. This job took two full days but was a lot of fun. The materials that made up the mix for the floor were clay, sand, gavel, straw and water, most of which were sourced from around the house. Everything was mixed in a hole in the ground and then wheelbarrowed inside where we, on hands and knees, spread the mix out and trawled it until it was smooth and level. Sounds easy enough right but the mix was incredibly dense and heavy and the gravel cut into our hands. Team work and classic rock radio made the work a lot of fun though.
Apart from the days we did the earth floors we normally only worked 4 hours in the morning and then had the rest of the day to ourselves. We didn’t need to look far for something to do. There was a lot of land around the house and plenty of places to explore. We were able to go down to the creek for a swim whenever we wanted or have a swing on the big rope tied to the tree. A lot of the time though we hung around the house chatting, playing with the kids, looking at photos or having a beer and then headed back to the bus in the evening for a bit of sleep.
Thank you Kirsty, Andrew, Olivia, Sam, Max and Bebe for making us feel so welcome in your home. Best of luck with finishing off the house. If we are back around Gisborne we would love to help out again, unless you have the house finished by that stage 😉