What to expect on your placement
Understand that the people you assist may be under a lot of pressure, and may seem abrupt, disoriented, uncertain, etc. Act in a supportive, respectful and understanding way.
Examples may be:
- Not everyone may wish to met you straight away.
- They may question your ability to help.
- They may not notice what you have done or are doing.
- They may not want to make polite conversation or small talk.
The farming families that you will be assisting are likely to be experiencing stress and therefore you could be going into a situation which could have some challenges. These may include depression, severe illness and alcoholism.
- Volunteers working with farming families experiencing stress are to be mindful of creating additional stress.
- You are not the only person who can help.
- Don’t take on burdens which you are not trained to deal with.
- Seek help if you need support.
The accommodation that you will be staying in could be quite simple. You may stay on the farmer’s property in their home or in the shearer’s quarters (simple tin shed). There is often no air-conditioning.
If you are volunteering as individual/couple in most cases you can bring your own accommodation such as a caravan, however you need to check road conditions.
- Things like a water bottle, hand sanitizer and insect repellent are very useful.
- Water from your water bottle can be used to wet your PJ’s at night if it is very hot – the evaporation cools you down.
- There may be little access to washing machines -10 pairs of clean undies take up less room in your luggage than lots of trousers.
If you have special dietary requirements you will need to bring your own food along. This is because farmers often don’t have access to the types of food that may be required for a specific diet.
- Be self-sufficient – if you like to drink a certain type of tea/coffee bring it with you.
- When traveling long distances carry supplies with you of water and food.
- A personal supply of snacks such as muesli bars, chewing gum or mints can help.
Phone and Internet
While travelling in remote areas or on the farm, mobile phone reception and internet or emails is usually limited or unavailable. Please let your family/friends know that you won't be able to be in touch with them during the trip.
- Ask before using a landline and only use it if you need to, such as for an emergency.
- Please avoid using farmers internet or email, it can add to their costs.
- Your phone may still be useful as an alarm clock and a camera.