Volunteer Tasks at Picaflor Research Centre — A Travel Tale

The volunteer tasks at Picaflor Research Centre pretty much seem like a cover-up to disguise that the centre no longer appears to be in operation. We mainly just maintain the house and grounds, if and when Pico feels like it.

One day we weeded the banana farm. Useless job. Another day we mowed the lawn — with machetes. Sort of useful. We also replaced some holey thatching in the roof. I suppose there’s a point to that.

But the thing is, we never finish any of the volunteer tasks at Picaflor. Pico’s got a pretty skewed reasoning for why we quit after an hour or less of work:

“It’s getting hot.”

Oh. I see. Let’s not get sweaty then.

Every day, we do have to pump water from the well into the holding tank, which is located on a hill above the house, therefore using gravity to create water pressure. Unfortunately, the toilet was running last night, so today’s going to be a bitch refilling the now empty tank (we usually use less than a quarter of the tank in a day). We’re just on break right now.

Volunteer tasks at Picaflor Research Centre include pumping well water into the holding tank.
Here I am in action at the water pump.

Oh, yeah, Pico takes off for a couple days at a time every few days, so we’ve got the run of the place, but his strong arms would sure be appreciated today!

I guess I had higher expectations of what I thought my volunteer tasks at Picaflor would be. It’s a research centre, but I feel like I’m wwoofing. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, if it was what I had signed up for…

The more pleasant volunteer tasks at Picaflor

Yesterday was a baking day. There isn’t much ready-to-eat food here, so Elissa made five loaves of bread and some cookies, Joel took care of lunch (spaghetti with tomato and eggplant sauce) and dinner (squash soup), and I made some fried bananas as a quick snack and a lemon bread/cake for future snacking.

Since I’ve been here, the weather’s been mostly rainy, though today and yesterday were bright and sunny. I’ve managed to go out for a hike every day despite the rain, some short, some longish.

Otherwise, I mostly read. I’ve made a pretty big dent in A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics by John Kricher, and I’ve begun a few other reading projects as well. Still working on my writing and on my Spanish, too. Ah, the luxury of time!

I suppose I can’t complain we have so few volunteer tasks at Picaflor when I’m getting a great vacation out of it!