By Bradley Sabbar and Jimmy Toole

After five days at Cirenas, we said goodbye to our gracious hosts and embarked on a two-hour trek up the beach to arrive at our next homestays. The route was treacherous, with many obstacles such as rivers and jagged rocks. Alas, we finally arrived at the homestay pick-up point. The group then split up into four separate homestays.

All of the boys (minus Jake) were sent to a homestay at a cattle ranch in the countryside. It was was everything you would expect from a boys weekend. On the first day, we helped out around the farm by scooping up cow manure that the family would then sell at a market. After a hard day’s work, we sat and watched the rain while eating raw sugar cane. The next morning we got up bright and early to help with the cow milking. PJ was the most enthusiastic about massaging the raw utters and thinks he has found his new calling in life. PJ was an expert by the end, even being able to squirt the milk into Bradley’s mouth from feet away.

We then had to help corral the bulls into the stables. This was not without its fair share of struggles, though. Imagine how terrifying 10 bulls stampeding at you is with your only protection being a poorly chosen stick. Luckily, everybody made it through unscathed. Once in the stable, everybody got a shot at trying to vaccinate the cows. That was not easy, to say the least. Eventually, the rain became too dense to do any more farm work, thus we decided to retire back to the house. We spent the afternoon playing poker for beans and listening intently to Doug as he led a workshop on how to gamble correctly while playing blackjack. After a delicious last meal, we all gathered around an old television and proceeded to watch romantic comedies until dawn.

The other homestays were equally as full with rich, new experiences. Magdelana, Ellie and Anya gave their best go at slaughtering a chicken for dinner, which was delicious, and getting their groove on to popular music with dance lessons from their homestay mother. Cate, Jake, and Jillian bonded over poker, long talks, and of course, teaching the family parrot Jillian’s famous catchphrase “yah maaam!” Katie and Anna also had a relaxing time bonding and watching the rain.