It’s mid December. We are in Australia now and the first place where we’re going to stay and volunteer is the Peppercorn Creek Farm in Picton, close to Sydney. The people living on this farm belong to the so called 12 tribes, a community following Yashua, the Messiah (which Christians know as Jesus) and focusing on sustainability through relationships. We cannot keep our minds from being somehow prejudiced and hence slightly concerned, but we also want to be open minded.
It’s Friday late evening when the train from Sydney airport arrives in Picton and Keva, one of the community members, picks us up. Most people are already sleeping and there is nobody around to get introduced to, so Keva just shows us our place for the night. It’s a camper turned into a lovely guestroom. Tidy, clean and beautiful arranged with some sweets and fruits. After having a nice chat with Keva and moving in this comfy tiny house it doesn’t take long to feel welcome.
Every morning the community starts the day with a gathering and we are invited to join. All community members come together to sing, dance and talk about their beliefs and feelings. We are not used to singing and dancing in the morning but we can feel the love, happiness and respect people treat each other as well as visitors and guests and the strong bond within the community. An impressive experience and wonderful start in the day.
Saturday is dedicated to Yashua and the community’s faith, so there is no work and after breakfast we are free to explore the farm and do whatever we want. We go for a walk around the place together with Hasada, one of the community members and hitchhike to the next town in the afternoon. It only takes a few minutes until someone stops to give us a ride and it’s easy to get in touch with the Australian locals. The area is not touristic, perfect to get a first impression about Australians daily life. We’re back in the late afternoon to join the evening gathering and dinner with the community.
The next day starts with the gathering again. It’s a Sunday and it’s going to become a busy day. The community is running a famous café, the Razorback Inn, around 1,5 km down the road. Today there is a wedding taking place beside the daily business. There is much to do and everybody seems keen about the work. It’s fun to give them a hand with different tasks in the kitchen and the food they serve is just super yummy. Seven is helping in the bakery. Happy and a bit exhausted we return to our camper in the late evening.
The next day we are working on the farm, weeding together with Caleb and Paul. It’s a perfect opportunity to ask about the community in more detail. Caleb is very open to answer all our questions, especially quite serious ones about gender differences and child care. Even if we do not share all opinions we get a feeling for their way of thinking and we are impressed by their love and support for each other.
Unfortunately, our timing to visit the Peppercorns is not the best. Close to Christmas they shut down the Café and many of the community members are working or staying elsewhere. Just a few people will be left on the farm and it’s getting hard for them to take care of us. They ask us to leave but they don’t want to just let us go. Caleb knows a lovely couple in more inland New South Wales, Nikki and Dan. They’re living on a farm and would be happy to host us. This sounds great to us and we decide to move there. Caleb insists on giving us a ride the next day. After a six hours drive with lunchbreak at Katoomba Falls, mind blowing mango smoothie at the community Yellow Deli Café in Katoomba and an amazing scenery around the blue mountains we arrive at Nikki and Dan’s Hazelcombe Farm. Dan just recently had to kill a black snake and there are some kangaroos around. Seems to be a good place to get in touch with Australian wildlife. Let’s see what’s going to happen the next days!