The Galapagos Islands

Written By Patrick, Latitudes ’19 Galapagos

I spent 8 weeks on a sustainable organic farm in the Galapagos called Huerta Luna or The Bamboo House as the locals would say. The whole land is about the size of a football field and is located on the island of Santa Cruz. This includes a small farm surrounded by a natural forest, as well as the house I lived in and my families’ house. My host parents are owners of the farm and land are named Karina and Daniel Bautista. Karina works part time for a sustainable tourism agency. They have two kids, Ebo is one and half and Kalla is turning five this month. Daniel is the only artesanal bamboo worker on the island. Karina and Daniel also employ a woman to work the farm with the volunteers and another to take care of the kids in the morning and as well cook.

A Day in the Life

Everyday I woke up at 615 to complete my daily routine of exercising, journaling meditating, affirmations, visualizations and getting ready for work. Other than that the only set thing in my routine was starting work at 7:30. Breakfast was around 9 after I had watered most of the plants including kale, tomatoes, spinach, beans, and peppers and many more different types of vegetables (there were no animals). Then it was back to work on the farm. Daily tasks included transplanting, harvesting once a week, and making composting. But the work was mostly maintaining the beds. This means anything from putting more compost on the plants or putting up structures for the plants to grow on. I learned that it’s important to talk to the plants and give them encouragement. Which sounds crazy but is important for the plants. I finished at noon and then lunch was usually around 1:30 with the family. Dinner was usually up for grabs but somewhere between 7:30 and 9. This was a small meal and everyone except me wouldn’t eat much.

This left me with at a lot free time. The first 3 weeks I spent reading about 6 hours a day. Which means all I did was morning routine, work, eat, read and then go to sleep and then repeat. Then things started to click as I discovered all the things I could do. This included getting my PADI Scuba Diving Certification, taking Spanish classes, Wednesday Salsa Nights, and eating lots of Ecuadorian food. I love rice and beans but my favorite part about the cuisine are empanadas. I ate around 35 in total at least once a day sometimes more. One day I ate 8. Empanadas are fried dough with cheese or meat in the middle served with sugar or a sauce that will knock your socks off. All for only a dollar! Virtually impossible to resist. My habit of empanadas actually helped me make some close friends especially with the the family of the tienda, or store, that made them.

I had weekends off. So I spent them scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing and exploring the surrounding area. Most Sundays were spent in the park where the town congregated to hang out with family and play Ecuadorian volleyball. This was very competitive and included heavy betting. I also spent two weekends exploring the Islands of Isabella and San Cristobal.

With the slower pace of life I spent time reflecting and working on my problems and myself. A big part of this year has been learning how to have a relationship with God. I have had great success do to not having a phone for most of the year as well as be removed from society and all the distractions! As for the past week after Galapagos I got to spend a week in Cali, Columbia shaking my booty salsa dancing!!! I have so much to be thankful for. Special thanks to my friends and family and Carpe Diem for all the support!