Volunteering for a Day at “Our Community Farm”

Senior Ardi Hermawan clears out corn stalks for space to plant new crops.

Senior Ardi Hermawan clears out corn stalks for space to plant new crops.

Our Community Farm is preparing for the winter season by harvesting their fall crops. Five EMU students and 18 volunteers from the International Volunteering Exchange Program from MCC worked together to move compost piles and weed out patches of soil.

The two groups piled into white EMU vans to drive out to the farm. With minor complications of getting lost on the way out to New Market, Va., the groups arrived and quickly began to help the farm accomplish some of the harvesting tasks.

Many of the EMU students had an opportunity to speak with the international volunteers. Kegan Yoder, a Sophomore at EMU, worked to move the compost piles with international volunteer Tanja Sutalo. “I enjoyed going to the farm because it was a good opportunity to work outside on a beautiful day as well as to get to know some international students in the Harrisonburg area. I worked alongside a student from the Ukraine. I had fun talking about the government, education, and religion in the United States and Ukraine,” said Yoder.

Phoubane Chon clears a plot.

Phoubane Chon clears a plot.

Ardi Hermawan was in charge of organizing students to volunteer. Hermawan is from Indonesia, and came to the States when he was 18 years old. He worked in Philadelphia for five years, and has been in Harrisonburg for two. He has been coordinating volunteer trips for many years, including the Philadelphia Y-Serve trip last spring break. Hermawan said, “I really love serving other people and meeting their needs. It is just the right thing to do.”

Priscilla Montero, who is an IEP student at EMU, said she really understood what hard work is after having worked at the farm. She explained that digging in the dirt with insects was something she would never find herself doing. Montero also spoke about her mother and grandfather.

“I would ask my grandfather about what was on his hands, and after getting a blister I understood. When you want something that is unbelievable for you, even simple things, you have to work hard for them.”

Montero added, “After working, we all talked at the house and realized that the guy who runs the farm has to do all of that work by himself, all the time. That is so hard, especially without groups. It was so special for us to receive that and meet all the guys and learn what they are doing [at the farm].”

The groups were able to work for about an hour and a half, clearing two plots of land, and moving piles of compost. Even more, the groups were able to share in a work load and see another lifestyle of the Shenandoah area.

“I love how a group of people who do not know each other that well can get together, have fun, and get a lot of work done,” said First-year Robert Propst.

-Alicia Calkins, Arts Editor


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