How can you describe a place that captures your souls spirit and offers lessons, energy and experiances for your heart that words can not even describe? Community Rhiannon has proven to be a magical place for discovery, working and family in the midsts of smells of eucalyptus, incense, donkeys, compost, dogs, san pedro, yoga and whispering mountains.
The farm is 1.5 hours from Quito, Ecuador in the small town of Malchingui and I stumbled upon this gem through the WWOOFING website. The scenery is gorgeous set in the mountains near the sacred Incan trail. There were 4 volcanos located around Rhiannon, and you could see them on a clear day. Below is the active volcano that you could see from my house!
There are a lovely couple, Nicky and Helen that own the place and make things organized and beautiful. They work well as a team and have a little one and a half year olf baby as well. She has shiny bright blue eyes and is always willing to give out a laugh or smile. Here is an interesting article written about the couple as they have been in the press about getting legal papers for their family as two mothers. They have owned the farm for about 5 years.
At Rhiannon there are about 10-25 Volunteers from all over the world living in tipis, snake pits, gnome domes and tiny houses. The volunteers arrive twice a month, on the first and on the 15th of each month, and the community requires a length stay of 1 month minimum. This way, the people get to know each other and the community becomes a family.
This was the view from my house for one month, I lived in the “snake pit” because my bed was literally 5 feet underground hanging from a platform with 4 big metal chains to the ceiling. It was two stories and I lived alone, cant complain!
Another view from inside the snake pit, it still needs donkey poop, sawdust, dirt, and water mixture on the walls before its compelte. The process is called adobe.
Here is the snake pit from the oustide
Meals are cooked together everyday. Breakfast at 7am, lunch at 1:30 pm and pm and dinner at 7:30pm. Every meal is vegetarian and everyone eats together.
Here is Luna, one of the premanent residents of Rhiannon Community. Cute little lady!
At Rhiannon, it is a almost completely sustainable (there is not enough food produced at the farm to be conpletly sustainable yet). The community has solar powered electricity (no lights on after 9pm), bano seco “dry toilets” and nothing goes to waste. Remember the song about reduce, reuse, and recycle? Well this place does all three steps not just recycling. The amount of garbage in one month produced a this farm was probably the same I could produce on a week by myself. Pretty impressive but we all for sure had to be super aware of these things all the time. The showers were cold, unless there was a sunny day and the sun heated it.
Here is the bicycle powered washing machine that we used to wash clothes with natural lemon soap collected once a week from the lemon and lime peels.
We would all wake up to the ring of a big bell at 6:45 am and a second at 7:00 am. We would all have breakfast together typically porridge, fruit and granola. Then we would have a team meeting at 7:45 am to talk about work and then start work at 8:00 am.
10 yoga platforms that overlook the mountains, pretty incredible.
Tasks on the farm ranged from taking care of donkeys, feeding the chickens, turning compost, taking care of the tree circle from overgrowing weeds, taking care of 7 dogs, harvesting crops, building houses out of rocks and donkey poop, painting signs, and cleaning the house. Not one day looked the same and you could definitely try everything if you wanted.
Here is Joss juggling the donkey poop, working hard to adobe the snake pit.
Work would end at 1:30 pm where we would all eat lunch together and after that we pretty much had free time to ourselves. There was yoga everyday at 3:00 pm and mediations at 7:00pm. Dinner was always around 7:00-8:00 pm. I learned fabulous meals and am excited to start implementing them.
At the farm I also tried the sacred medicine San Pedro and took it with about 30 people in a sacred circle with sacred songs, a tribe and a sacred fire. It was a beautiful experience, very different from anything else I have felt. Below is my friend Frederika and we collected beautiful flowers for the ceremony.
Here is the family preparing for a sweat lodge ceremony before the San Pedro. The ceremony includes 4 rounds of hot stones in a tiny room (see the adobe structure behind) and the idea is that you are being reborn by sweating and singing sacred songs.
While at the farm I learned how to give massages from Nicky and got Reiki 1 certified. The massage corse was a weekend where I learned how to give an hour and a half full body massage. We did a hands on practice and I now have a skill I can take with me the rest of my life. Definitely something I love doing.
Reiki is a type of healing practice that comes from Japan. It is a 45 min – 1 hour practice where the practitioner gives reiki to the client while the client relaxes and meditates. The idea is that the reiki energy unblocked the chakras in the body, the energy centers where 7 are located in the body. Each center is a different energy and color and as we live or lives its quite possible to block these centers. Reiki is the process of relieving the blockage by allowing the client space, support and energy to do so. It’s a miraculous practice and its changes my life. You can get certified all the way up to level 5 as a Reiki master. I am definitely looking to get certified after I practice for 6 months which is recommended.
At the farm I also taught English to a elementary school in the town. It was once a week and the children were so much fun to teach. It was a lot of work, but absolutely worth it.
I am so happy that I have started to WWOOF (farm organically) as it gives such a great balance to traveling. The month gave me exactly what I needed in my life at the perfect moment. I feel so grateful for the life I live and the people who have been apart of it.
Here is the Rhiannon Family
When I first arrived to Quito at the Ofelia station it was 4:30 am. I had taken a night bus 9 hours from the coast and realized that here wasn’t a bus to Malchingui until 6:30. The cab driver said he couldn’t wait for me so I was left alone at the station scared! Thankfully I made friends with the bus drivers and was able to sit and the buses that head out every 30 minutes! Made it to the farm safely but man that was a close call!
Here is the bus that I finally took at 7:30 am, I was never more happy to see a bus in my life.