WWOOF Portugal


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WWOOFers inviting their friends round.




Over time, I have become more sensitive to this issue, because my boundaries have been trangressed too many times.

Some WWOOFers seem to feel it is reasonable to invite their friends or relatives to visit the farm, to spend the night, to come for a meal, or to help out for an afternoon. I think it should be obvious that being a WWOOFer doesn’t mean you can invite friends, but some volunteers feel they should be able to invite friends and pressure me into accepting this.

“Friends” can mean different things: someone who a volunteer met on a train last month or a girlfriend in a longstanding relationship of several years.

I have had volunteers justify inviting casual friends of the former type because, they said, I had accepted another volunteers long-standing girlfriend for a few days.

What do I do when the casual friend of a WWOOFer just turns up at the farm?

If I turn the friend away, this will create a bad feeling and the volunteer that invited her/him ceases to feel welcome and leaves. If I Iet them stay but express my dissaproval the same thing happens AND I have my home invaded by somebody I didn’t invite.

Volunteers who appropriate my hospitatily usually excuse this by saying that I need help and their friends are going to help me with the work and that it won’t take any induction time from me because they will show them basics about how the farm works.

I have four objections to this.

1) It takes emotional energy for me to receive a new person into my home, energy that I am not willing to devote to a person who is only going to stay a day or two and I will never have contact with again.

2) Unless I do the induction, it becomes a game of Chinese whispers with the details getting lost or garbled.

3) The friends are not members of WWOOF Portugal and that has many consequences which Rodrigo has pointed out.

4) When a WWOOFer’s friend comes, they both spend A LOT of time talking, and work speed is reduced to about 50% so the “extra help”, is just another mouth to feed with little or no benefit to the farm.
I’ve observed the latter many times when somebody new (even if it is a new WWOOFer) joins in the work. If I leave and then unnoticed return ½ an hour later, there they stand tools in hand merrily socialising with work actions punctuating their conversation, which is often about cheap places to stay and eat, and I feel like my farm will be the topic of conversation at their next port of call. “Yeah, drop in at Quinta do Barbeito, it was so relaxed and welcoming and the food wasn’t bad either, just pretend that you’ll stay 8 days”.

Don’t get me wrong – social interaction is an important part of WWOOFing, and I’m happy when WWOOFers get to know each other, also because this creates a good working atmosphere. However, when a newcomer arrives, things always slow down a lot before before the work pace resumes. This is fine when people are staying a longer period, but it cripples the work when people come and go in a matter of days. This is also the reason why I insist WWOOFers commit to a minium stay of 8 days.

Am I a Xenophobic, control freek, with tight boundaries.

How do other hosts feel about this?

What does WWOOF Portugal think about this?