One (very hot) Monday in August 2009
It´s summer just now so we try and get up at 6.45 to start work by 7.30 (it´s later in the winter). Today, the project manager made breakfast (the staff take it in turns) and then woke everyone up. In the height of summer it can be quite difficult to work after about 11am.
Work consists of tasks chosen from the range offered by the coordinators the day before. This morning people were making a frame for a solar hot water panel, others harvesting plums, tomatoes and green peppers, others shopping for food and the rest helping in the tree nursery, planting nisperos and using tree grease to protect the pomelo tree from the ants.
We break for snacks at 10 at the moment as the sun is strong now and we ate some of the plums and left over roast potatoes from last night´s meal – no pudding and custard left unfortunately!
Today Nico, Jojo and Enrico cooked lunch – pasta with mushrooms, squash and garlic accompanied by a lentil stew and a colourful salad. I´ve noticed that it often goes unusually quiet when we all first tuck in. Everyone´s hungry from the morning´s work I imagine.
One volunteer pointed out that the only complaint he has about Sunseed is that he thought he´d lose some weight with all the healthy meals but the food´s too tasty.
Before everyone scatters to make coffee, wash up or to chase after the toddler that´s here at the moment, Someone calls for “Job Allo!” or job allocation. This is the time when the coordinators say what they´ll be up to tomorrow and how many people they´ll need help from. The visitors who´ve arrived most recently choose first. After everyone´s chosen announcements are made by staff and visitors – today we´re given the option of having a guided star gazing session from Rod (Sunseed is in a natural park and the stars are extraordinary). We need to wait until the moon wanes (its light outshines a lot of stars) so we´re going to watch the sky on Thursday at 10pm.
We organise ourselves by means of a rota. Everybody chooses a couple of chores – washing up, cooking and cleaning the house – it´s great you only have to wash up and cook once a week and you learn lots of new recipes. I had no idea how good pasta is when it´s cooked with a little bit of potato.
Dinner is at 7pm and tonight its stuffed cabbage and lentils followed by polenta cake. (The Sunseed diet is mostly vegan with some eggs and cheese). We have a lot of fruit from the gardens at this time of year so there´s lots of fresh jam and dessert around. There´s no evening activity this evening so a few of us worked off the ´postres´ by cycling up the mighty hills into Sorbas for a drink. Some nights we have a ´Green Speak´ event covering an environmental hot topic. Last week it was a debate about population control. Sessions in the past have included biofuel, genetically modified agriculture and sustainable travel. Other evening activities have included Spanish classes, five-a-side football, the weekly jamming night at the Pita-Eco-School down the road, circus workshops and of course the weekly solar powered cinema.
There are some things that it´s important to know before booking you visit. Our life style is a very simple one. There is one telephone on which people can receive and make phone calls everyday after 18:00 and at the weekends at anytime. There is limited access to the internet for volunteers working on their projects, but we do organize bi-weekly trips to Sorbas, the nearest town, where there are shops, internet cafes etc. Sorbas is about an hours walk from Sunseed and about 30mins on a bicycle. We have a good solar heating system for the water for showers, but this means that when there is no sun hot water can be limited. Our masonry stove also heats hot water during the winter but if there are lots of visitors we usually operate a rota to make sure that everyone gets a turn at least twice a week.
Aside from sleeping well, lots of visitors report having vivid and extraordinary dreams. Is Los Molinos a place of dream tourism? It´s a unique yeso (gypsum) valley but can this really affect the way we sleep? Our jury is still out, you decide