After Ben and I´s last WWOOFing Argentina experience, we had no intention of trying out another farm in Argentina. But, after 4 weeks of travelling had put a bit of distance between the experience both emotionally and physically, our feelings changed. We decided to give WWOOFing Argentina another try. It would be wrong to base our opinion of the organization off only one experience on one farm.
Through another WWOOFer at the first farm we had heard of a farm that took volunteers for no more than ten days, and it was close to Buenos Aires (ARG137 for those of you looking to WWOOF in Argentina and using the farm listing). I sent them an e-mail to see if they had room, and sure enough, they were happy to have us at the end of March.
Ben and I were especially excited about this farm because they were a bed and breakfast. We have talked about looking into running B&Bs in the States during the off season, so the experience would be good for us. Stef, the manager, told us upfront that there was no ´farming´to do as the growing season is over but we were OK with that.
The Bed and Breakfast, called Casona del Rio, was in the Tigre Delta. Only accessible by boat, the Delta is a maze of waterways, rivers and channels which have been fully, modernly developed. Bus boats take people back and forth, stores and restaurants exist throughout the maze and the homes have all the modern amenities. It´s a really amazing and unique place, full of many things to explore and discover via kayak.
The WWOOF experience itself was great as well. Ben and I got to do all the typical work from Making beds, washing linens, preparing breakfast and cleaning. When there were no guests in the house (hooray for low season!) we worked on special projects about the house. We loved the ability to do think of something creative to do in the house, propose it to Stef, then work on it after a leisurely breakfast with our WWOOFing friends.
It helped a lot that we had a great connection with Stef, his wife and the other WWOOFers there at the time. The fact that all the personalities clicked made a huge difference in the whole WWOOFing experience.
Ben and I also enjoyed having the freedom to work on projects that suited us. Unlike the other farm, which had the women making bread and the men out landscaping most days, Stef allowed us to find projects that suited our skills and interests. When we found a project, he supported it by giving us the tools and space we needed.
For example Gavina, one of the other WWOOFers, set out to make a beautiful tile mosaic in the bathroom while she was there. Ben found his nitch in repairing the cement parilla and getting the grill back into working order. Me? I practiced my hospital corners on the bedsheets and developed the English version of their website at http://casonadelrioen.wordpress.com/.
So, WWOOF Argentina, you have redeemed yourself. Ben and I had a great experience, learned a lot about running a Bed and Breakfast and hopefully helped improve the place with our skills as well. I highly recommend working or staying at Casona del Rio, they are wonderful people with good hearts, and your journey into the Delta will be worth it.