Days in Berry farm at Ulladulla, NSW, Australia

On 27th November, at around 8:30 am I have waved my hand to the Armidale for the time of few months. Jigme and myself was drove to the Armidale Train Station by my flat mates and we were glad and please to have such a loving friends together. I swear I wont forget such a wonderful mates that god has brought us as a sibling. Then to be exact at 9:15 we have started our journey towards Sydney. We had last and final handshake and final hug and off they went back soon. Sydney to us was very unknown. We just had heard a name but the places were totally unknown. We were pretty nervous and worried about where to hold a night at Sydney. The journey was full of tension and anyway by the grace of god, we reached at unknown destination safely and successfully. The journey from Armidale to Sydney has been long, tedious and tiresome ride of approximately 9 hours. In the train while Jigme was busy snoring with the tune of train I was enjoying the movie title “Sa-tharingsa”. Then at around 12 pm, one of the crew-member announces saying that they have roasted chicken, bread, soft and hard drinks, bottled water and some snacks for the lunch. Soon after, one crewmember came with lunch reservation card. Then at 1 pm, we had roasted chicken lunch and again Jigme went back to sleep and I resumed watching movie.  After few hours I felt like spewing and I was feeling uneasy and sick. I talked with Jigme and he too said the same thing happening to him. Then I tried closing eyes but I couldn’t and in the mean time I heard saying that “ shortly we will arrived at Sydney central train station and thanks for riding with us” then I asked Jigme what is the time, he says it is 4:15 and we found all other passengers were moving towards the exit and we too followed them. After few minutes of walking following unknown track and unknown people with flushed face, we found Bhutanese couple waving their hands. Then we happily approached them and then I came to know that, they were already known to Jigme. Of course not really met before. I introduced myself to them and they too does. Then we followed to their house and we gladly have good shelter and food there. Thanks to them and to my only fellow mate Jigme. With you ‘Jigme’, I am truly on top of the world and your friendship is always in my heart. With you my problem solve peacefully and I am really thankful to you and these things will carry in my heart wherever I go. Moreover, I would have express to you if there exist word other then thanks in the world.

By next day, we headed towards the bus station leaded by the jigme’s cousin brother to the bay 17 where bus depart to our final destination called ‘Ulladulla’. We started our trip at 9:15 am and reached at Ulladulla bus stand at 2:10 and we were welcome by old couple called Mr.Allen and madam Barbara. We shake our hands and had a brief introduction ourselves. Then they reached us to the Coles and we have done groceries shopping, which would last for a week. In the shopping mall, I was with trolley full of grocery. Then Mr.Allen came and yelled “You can’t take that, pointing to the 10 kilo bag rice”. I was left dumbfounded and I couldn’t say anything. I thought that we may get rice from there, but he was laughing hastily on top of his lungs. “I was kidding” then we laughed together loudly. Then I got confident and thought that they may be good people.
From there again we had a 30 minutes drive to the final destination. After 15 minutes of driving we arrived at unpaved road, which is little bit rough. Then we reached a place having one household located overlooking the one acre berry farm bellow. Then we was introduce to their son who actually was the proprietor of the farm and to the Bhutanese girl and a man. Who lately discovered that man was Sir Phurpa who was doing doctorate in medical and lady was doing bachelor degree in physics. Both of them were doing at Wollongong University. Then their son ushered us the Caravan and kitchen, toilet and the shower room where we are suppose to use. Then we settled and next day we had 30 minutes of brief training of picking berries with the owner. Then for the first day, I got $147.98 and backache. Then gradually my wages start rising and I was happy.  On top of that I do had feedback “ You are Good Picker”, “Colorful, Thanks”. But during the rainy day, we are not allowed to do the work and at that time we saved our boredom watching the movies. Before really going to the bed we usually had fun watching the ridiculous film and used to have sound asleep at 12 pm. Moreover, when there was no ready ripen berries, we have day off and at that time we used to have outdoor trip through the dense forest along the road. Sometime, I spent this sort of days pouring the rain of tear going through the novel title ‘A Fortunate life’ by A. B. Facey. It was really great and moving life story happening at western Australia in 1902.

We also used to run this type of days playing darts and visiting the ‘Clide River’ bank and swimming and playing with the stones. In the mean time, loday and Tashi also arrived and loday start staying in my bed and then I shifted to the next Caravan alone. Previously I was with jigme and Sir.Phurpa in the three bedded Caravan. Now in the new Caravan, I was alone staying and sometime in there I didn’t get good sleep myself. During this, I have jotted the title ‘work experience at Ulladulla’, to keep myself with company. After they joined, the day became little rough and I was bit sad with their company. Still then I manage to be with them successfully.
With more number of workers and with small farm, there was no more of picking so Mr. Allen asked us, Jigme and myself, to do some pruning of the peace and nectarine trees. With four hours working with the huge scissors, I got blister and got pain in the wrist. In the beginning I found pruning the easy work but lately I came to realize that it isn’t really easy. So nothing is easy to the inexperience hand and that is why we are always asked to judge the book not by its cover. Similarly I have done weeding with the leg around the berry trees and I found it was totally different and funny. In our case weeding means uprooting the weeds with hand, but in their case, it is like snatching and flattening without actually uprooting the weeds with legs. On those rows they use to spray herbicide and they don’t let weeds to grow again for next few months. As the country is developed one, the farmers are educated and they all use modern technology to run the farm. I am really overwhelmed with their work. By the next day, it was 10th December, the day where my result will be out. But there is limit of the Internet services, I resort to enquire proprietor to use his data card. He consented and I browse the result and found result not really good. Though I was pass but it wasn’t up to my satisfaction and it made me feel sad and regret a lot. “I will do my best for the rest of the exam in the future”. I have no other alternative then to utter this and to get myself upset. “I swear I will study hard and try for the honors”. I felt completely sad and hamper a lot in my work field and meal. I have also curse the lecturer and I used to open the university website tried for the changes in the grading which is impossible. Till then day by day, this things got loss from my mind and again I was back to normal situation but whenever I remember about the result it used to keep me in sad mood for the time. Then I kept silent about the result and I didn’t talk about the result to any friends. I do have kept my cell switch off.   The days were running most of the time with showering and the working days remain off. Then Sir Phurpa decided to go to Wollongong and to get his family for the visit. As there was only three Caravans, Mr. Robin, the formal proprietor of the farm brought his camping tent and we pitched near the Carrabin I used to stay. Then for the few days before arriving of Sir Phurpa’s family I had a resting night in the tent with Sir Phurpa. I thought sleeping in the tent would be cold and really disturbing because of the rain. But there wasn’t any heavy rain and I had a peaceful sleep. This is the first experience sleeping in the tent. Then after few days sir phurpa went and came back after two nights but his family was not with him. He says they do not want to come this time but hoping in future. While he was gone, during the day time jigme and myself was entrusted to do weeding of the berries and was paid $20 hourly. We also has done clean up around the peach and nectarine trees. Then there was bright sunshine day and by next day most of the berries was ripen and we also joined loday and tashi in picking. In the mean time I was also teaching Jigme how to ride bicycle. I took him in the slanting ground and taught him how to get balance without using the paddle. Gradually he got balance and then he got to learn paddling. After few days of thorough training especially in the evening he got everything but not much of the control in the crowd. One evening we went to the plain area to compete the race. I was leading him to that place. We climbed the hill with gear one and descent down without using the break. We were almost close together. Abruptly my paddle was broken and my leg got struck with the chain and falls. Seeing this jigme got dumbfounded and forgot to press break and he was thrown out when his bike was stop by mine. We both were surprise and found nothing much wrong with us but little bruise on my leg by the chain. I thanks god for not getting limbs fracture and dislocation. Jigme was complaining of the wrist pain. My bike was out of condition, paddle was gone, and gear was bent. Fortunately, the new one which jigme was using wasn’t gone wrong. He rode back and I pushed back and Mr. Rick, our friend who is working on the farm check out. He put my bike in the trash. “This one is already old” he said and I was bit relief. After reaching our camp, I watched my wound and Sir.Phurpa gave me bandage. Then we have dinner and I had mournful night.
One afternoon, we have a good time talking with Mr.Allen, the owner that is on 29th December. We start talking about the finishing of our holidays. Sir.Phurpa said he have to go back to the university by the 2nd of January as his course start by 3rd.  Students from Wollongong said they may leave by 15th January but I said our trimester starts by 20th February. Then Mr.Allen asked me to learn driving as there would be no one to drive after other are gone. I was also happy and as learning to drive was my longing dreams. I replied that I am glad to learn and thanks for the opportunity. I also asked him that can I learn starting from that evening, he granted. Then he said to Jigme “You can learn bike perfectly”. Few minutes later, we resumed our picking work and at around 7 pm we finished picking. I got only four green trays worth around 80 bucks. Then without even changing the dress, I asked Loday to be my teacher he consented and we went for learning in the plain area. After reaching there, he explained me how to start and get balance between clutch and accelerator. Before hand I have said little prayer and mantras and I took the seat of driver. Then loday was with me. In the beginning it was terrible and I was frighten and nervous. I was not having any basic ideas. I haven’t known even to turn the stirrer wheel he helped me. After some time he said that I am improving and I also sensed improvement. Then after some time he let me to drive myself, he went out from the van, then I start the van and drive slowly, I got confident and he also remark that I was improving. He sits beside the road cheering by clapping his hand. I have done around 6 to 7 round and in the mean time Jigme also arrived with his bike and he was also watching me. May be he might have gain courage he also asked Loday to teach him too. Then he also started learning the basic thing. By the next day, on 30th I went with Tashi Wang chuk to the same area and learn the same thing with little additional of the gear change. I was bit happy and he was also contended with me. On the third day, I asked sir Phurpa to be my tutor. Then from the garage he drives till to the same spot. After reaching there he gave me the similar basic concepts and he taught me to do the reversing at the sharp turning and in the straight road.  After some time, he asked me to do practice myself. I have done starting and stopping frequently to get balance between the clutch and the accelerator, sharp back turning from both hands and on the straight road. After few time of repeating, sir was behind me guiding and I noticed him showing me the thumb. He approached me and said that I am doing good and almost done but I need to maintain the speed. “ Never try to press more force on the accelerator and always change to gear one at the turning point”. He said. Then I also got confidence and I said, “ Yes I wont forget”. Then in the return I took the seat for the driver and I drove back. He was also proud of me and I was indeed fully satisfied for the day, I also didn’t forget to thanks him.
Perhaps my life at Ulladulla was really enriching period for me, besides earning, I got good experience in farming including the weeding, pruning, irrigating, driving and some concepts about how to go with caring of the young plants and saplings. One of our working mates exclaimed that, if I wish I could be good educated farmer in future.  Those friends were doing only the picking whereas Jigme and myself have done other things as I mentioned earlier. On top of those, I have got several opportunities to have Australian delicious meals like on “ Merry Christmas Day” and on new-year eves. During the Christmas day that is on 25th December, we the professional picker were also invited by the proprietor and we joined them empty handed.  There were many people gathered. Some of them were Mr.Allen’s siblings and some of them, Mrs. Sharin’s mom and siblings. So we had delicious and marvelous lunch together on one table though there wasn’t any rice. I took two bottles of beer and we had great fun on that day at Mr.Allen’s house. By next day I got sick and hangout because of the previous day’s drink. At that day I couldn’t work properly and after lunch I took rest. In this ways, i had a wonderful two months stays in the farm.


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