Today, we did many activities around Fundacion Origen, which is a school and working farm where we stayed for four incredible days.
Fundacion Origen is this amazing place that the owner, Mary Ann, started and still runs since 1991, after dreaming about her vision since the 1970’s. This working farm and school is changing lives for a number of children and families. She offers the school and opportunity to learn sustainable organic farming, agriculture and ecology for free to families who cannot afford to pay for their education. Most children live around the rural area, Pirque, Chile, where the school is located. She is teaching them to run a sustainable farm and be responsible for themselves. They make a choice to be at school everyday and literally all the children make the effort to be there to learn and grow.
We began our morning by milking goats. We all put on gloves, then walked into the room where all the goats were waiting with full udders for us to milk them. We attached these powered suction tubes to their udders, and slowly it emptied them of all their milk. After one batch of about 16-20 goats would leave, the next group would be so eager to get milked, that they would fight for who gets in! Mom, Dad and Brooke hand-squeeze some milk into a cup to try the goat’s milk.They said that is tasted warm and sweet. I opted not to drink warm and sweet goat’s milk at 7am. It was a very fun and unique experience getting to be this up close and personal with these animals.
Mom and I spent a very nice ten minutes sitting close to one another looking out onto wild flowers and the rooster pen, goat barn and incredible garden, just sitting in silence meditating. We have meditated on this trip a number of times, since we learned so much about it in Japan, doing Zazzen mediation. It was a nice time with Mom sitting peacefully in the early morning. I didn’t get a picture of us meditating, but here is a nice one my Dad took of my sister when they were meditating together.
Since this farm was hosting a Buddhist retreat during the time we were there and there were instructors available and willing to hold a class for us, we decided to practice yoga before going to breakfast. We walked up to this beautiful and peaceful room overlooking a meadow and met our instructor, Jesus. She was really kind and friendly. We began by doing some balancing poses and sun salutations. The entire session was very relaxing and serene. The yoga session was really beautiful and a great way to start our day!
The next activity today was pottery. We walked through the bright, lush farm to the building where we would be making pottery. Inside the building, we saw many beautiful works on the shelves drying. We learned that many of these works were made by the students! We participated in two forms of pottery, the first was using our hands to form the clay. The second was using the pottery wheel. We began by rolling a ball of clay into a sphere and then poked a hole into it. Then, from that hole we pressed out the sides, making it a small bowl/cup. After making our bowl, we grabbed another piece of clay, and then smacked it onto one of the pottery wheels. We turned the wheels on using a pedal to regulate the speed of the rotation, and then began shaping and molding the clay. The Buddhist saying of “never get attached to something” definitely applies to pottery. One second you have a beautiful piece, and then before you know it, it has tipped over, or the side was pressed in. We had a fun time doing pottery.
Our final activity of the day was going to see wild horses who were being trained and broken. We left the hacienda and walked over to the area where the wild horses were kept and cared for. All the horses were wild, or were domesticated but treated very poorly before coming to this farm. We walked one of the horses out of its stables over to a small walled off ring for it to run around in. The handler or “gaucho” opened the doors and the horse gracefully trotted in. We viewed from a bench outside the circle, and watched as its handler tried to break it.
The handler would make it go one way, then throw a rope towards it, and the horse would change direction. Also, the man was working on controlling the horse’s speed. His intention was to show dominance over the horse, so it would obey the commands. He never hit the horse, he practiced very positive teaching by following up his lessons with affection. At last, the horse began to stick its tongue out in a licking motion, that meant, “yes you are the boss, and I will do what you instruct.”
Every time the horse would go around the circle, one of the dogs who was living here would pop its head up trying to see what was going on inside the rink. After all the training, the wild horse was broken and tamed. After a while, Dad went into the arena to try to work with the horse too. Dad also succeeded in training the horse!
Before we left, we got to give the horse a shower. We had a lot of fun scrubbing the horse and watching it be broken. It was a very cool experience realizing how important it is to be confident with a horse when you are training and breaking a wild horse.
Here is Brooke’s perspective of the day:
Today we did poetry, meditation, yoga, and admired the flora in Chile!
First we meditated to the sounds of nature. We could hear many things while meditating. Things we hadn’t tried to hear before. We learned the sounds of nature and we noticed many more things than we had noticed before. Then dad asked, “What are emotions or feelings that you had during the meditation?” Mom said she felt peaceful listening to all the sounds around her. Brayden said he felt relaxed. Dad said he felt hopeful that we could all keep practicing meditation together, and I said I felt very excited to tell what I heard, an owl! I said this because I love owls and then Mom said she thought she could hear the owl as well.
Next, it was time for yoga with our amazing instructor, Jesus. (Pronouced Hey-Zeus) Yoga is the greatest feeing you can get. When we were finished, Dad kept saying, my back is so sore because we did so many poses, but I really liked them. We also did a pose called spider, or a backbend and I loved it! Yoga was very hard to all of us, but Mom. In candlestick pose or shoulder stand, she could put her legs over her head and touch the ground with her feet, without bending her legs! Shivasana was the best pose. Jesus would put scented candles in between some of us and the scents would carry out through the room, and Jesus would play a song that had the words of Buddhist prayer, Om mani padme hum, Om mani padme hum, Om mani padme hum. It was a very beautiful song and shivasana was even better with the birds all around singing, goats ‘baaing’, roosters talking to one another, and the heavy breathing of the wind all around us calmed us and we silently slipped into meditation. What a nice day!