Saturday, September 1, 2012

Welcome Home Participants

It has been another quiet week on the farm with the participants still on their rural community study tour that has lasted for two weeks. There were so few of us at dinner that sometimes we all squeezed in around one table that usually seats eight. We found it would fit twelve to thirteen. This is a small example of how working, eating, and living together are values that manifest in daily occurrences here. We are all busy with the few extra tasks we've picked up while the participants are gone.

Luckily for us, ARI often takes time to celebrate and thank the long term volunteers who come to serve at the farm. Nicole Groome, the YASC volunteer who has been serving here for a year, is preparing to leave this Thursday. So all of the volunteers went out to a local Chinese Restaurant that is famous for its huge portions! We celebrated our arrival and the departure of Nicole. Also Megan Copley, from New York, left the next day. We hope to see her again in the summer after she finishes high school.

While plowing our way through dumplings, Chinese rice, and some interesting mushrooms, we planned a special surprise for the return of the participants.

The Participants Return!

Last night (Saturday), two busses carrying the participants pulled into the gravel parking lot of ARI just as the sun was setting. Many staff and volunteers were waiting with a banner and smiling faces. It was a joyous scene full of hugs, shouting, and water-balloons!

We had spent all afternoon preparing water-balloons to surprise splash our returning friends. Even in the midst of tossing balloons we were greeting each other with wet hugs.

Later we all gathered in Koinonia, the dining hall, for a special candle-light feast that Jenny and the rest of the meal service team helped to prepare. Jenny made a butter-sweet peach cobbler. Also on the table: squid tempura, friend potatoes, tomato basil salad (made by Jenny also!), Philippine fried noodles, Indonesian pork curry, and, good ol' ARI-rice! In addition to the peach cobbler, we had fruit cocktail and homemade ice cream! Some of our musically inclined staff helped to set a welcoming tone by playing guitar and piano.

 Now,  we are about to settle into another week. With the new month everyone will change foodlife groups. I hope I get to stick around in the pig section for a couple more days. There is a mother sow who was expected to give birth yesterday!

This week already marks the first month we have spent here. Thank you all again for your prayers and love.

Much hope and new beginnings.

Doug and Jenny Knight

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