The story of farming for your second year visa
Since I've now been in Australia for over eight months, and still love this red continent to bits and pieces, I need to do 88 days of 'specified work in rural Australia' in order to extend my visa with another year. So far I am fifteen days into it, leaving me with 73 days to go in the bush.
To some people this might feel like the ultimate chore, especially while traveling. Who wants to go to small rural towns, and God forbid: the bush? For three months!
To other people it's hard to get the amount of days necessary for the second visa application to go through. That's because they can't see past their money-bags.
A much more sure thing if you want to get the number of days needed in a short time is WWOOFing, Willing Workers On Organic Farms. This of course means you don't get paid for your labour. However it has it's perks: you get food and accommodation in exchange for your blood, sweat and tears. Yes, I've given all: blood on fences, sweat while working, and tears from dust in my eyes (or so I'll have you believe). Another perk is the fact that you will not be told there is no work for you today as you're not getting paid anyways, they've got nothing to lose.
On top of that you actually get a taste of true and genuine country-life, as the family takes you into their home, and show you around the country side.
In my case that has meant two different farms to date, the second one far exceeding the first as far as I'm concerned. I get along well with my hosts Ken and Lisa. They run an organic herb farm, we've been busy at work, planting garlic all week. However, that's not interesting enough to be writing in a blog, so I'll just skip ahead to all the interesting stuff.
The farm is situated in the area known as the "Golden Triangle", the location for the Victoria Gold Rush in the mid 19th century. In the 1850's the closest gold-reef to this farm kept some four-thousand miners busy, digging holes in the ground, looking for a shiny yellow metal, precious amongst our kind for millenia.
Ken has a hobby. He has a metal-detector and a miner's right. Yes, we go looking for gold along the old diggings on our spare time. So far I've found a copper wire and a bunch of old cans and buckets. There is gold out there though, still, just the other week someone dug up a 46 ounce piece, worth some $70 000. I don't really hope to find a nugget of that calibre, but I wouldn't mind finding a small one, or at least some bullets and old coins.
I'm currently the resident of a caravan that I have all to myself, going over to the house to get my meals and social interaction. I like this place, I think I'll stay here for a while. Not the whole 73 days though, my hosts are going away in July. I'll find somewhere else by then.
For now all I need to think about is that I am counting down the days until I can apply for my second visa, so that I may stay another year in this country I have taken to my heart. Sadly, to all the people I've left behind, it means I won't be coming back anytime soon.
Beppe Karlsson, Bromley