Sunday, June 17, 2012

Living the good life on Ikhwezi Lokusa Farm

Wow time flies out here.  I’ve been living at Ikhwezi Lokusa Farm for nearly month now and it feels like I just arrived.  You wake up, make some breakfast, start working on projects around the farm, relax a bit, eat dinner, blink and find four days have gone by.  That means two things: the first is that obviously I am having a great time; the other is that it is all a bit of a blur. Because one day kinds of runs into the next I don’t have much of a linear story to tell here and it doesn’t matter very much anyways.  Just sit back and enjoy the photos!

This is the lower shower.  It is headed by a water tank above a fire, and does a wonderful job of providing hot water.  This is easily the nicest outdoor shower I’ve had the pleasure of using.

Our toughest rooster, who makes noise day and nights it seems.

We have a number of pecan trees on the farm and they are all falling from the trees now.  Here I am doing some sorting and preliminary shelling.

One of the big projects I’ve been helping on is the completing of this building.  We have all been doing painting, sanding, installing trim, repairing windows and so on to get these bedrooms and bathrooms finished up.  As you can see from these last two photos, the dogs like to be around the action.

Luke was scheduled to mix at a trance music party, so Leora, Skye and I came along.  Being a two seat vehicle, Skye and I had to ride in the back for two or three hours but it wasn’t too bad.

The party was a lot of fun. Good energy, friendly people, nice tunes and a lot of fun was had dancing.

Looking over the bonfires.  The bar is to the right, the ‘tunnel stage’ is kind of hidden in the back left, and out of the photo to the left is the mainstage.

The ‘tunnel’ was originally a kiln for firing bricks, and made for a pretty unique (though smoke filled) venue.  The party went all night, but I did end up turning in for a few hours of sleep.

And this is what the event space looks like in the daylight.  The tunnel is that green mound coming from the base of the largest of the chimneys. 

After a big meal at Spurs, we drove back to the farm.  The grey one on the left is the leader, and he likes to try and intimidate me.  It may seem silly, but whenever he tries it I scare him and make him step back at least.  Can’t let the geese think they own the place after all!

Back at work, here Xolile and I are cutting and installing trim.

One of the many beautiful sunsets we get to see daily. 

With all those pecans, at some point we have to do through the really tedious part of de-shelling them.  It’s a hassle but at least it is something we can do while we sit around and chat.

I’ve done a lot of painting here.  I’m no pro, but I actually enjoy doing it.

On this day, I joined some of the other guys on a mission to the beach for some surfing.  By the time we arrived after running some errands, the conditions weren’t any good and no one went in the water.  Oh well, another day.

One of the errands we did was for me to pick up a new netbook!  If you didn’t catch it in my last post, my netbook got broken in transit, meaning I had to buy a new one.  I wish I hadn’t had the extra expense, but I was able to get one used but in near perfect condition.  Now all I have to do is sell my full size notebook and I’m sorted out. 

The kitchen, most important part of the house.  On the table you can see guavas, eggs and avocados, all from the farm. 

And here is Jandre showing off one of the nearly finished bedrooms.

Using bamboo that is already growing on the farm, a small fence was put around one of the newly planted sections of the veggie garden. 

Just me and a big bag of freshly picked oranges. 

Luke has a slack line that we set up outside the main building, and I’ve been having a lot of fun playing on it.  I’m no pro, but I can do some basic tricks now and have a good time, even when the dogs are bothering me while I’m trying to balance!

Just to prove I’m doing some work around here!  Here I am finishing the installation of bamboo to create walls. 

Jandre working on the plumbing in one of the new bathrooms.

Here is the main building where we spend most of our non-working/sleeping time.  Walls for this part of the building are on the to-do list, but in the meantime we are using shade cloth to create some quick and cheap protection from the wind. 

Time for tile work!  Cutting these things is a bit nasty, but the new showers look pretty good so it’s all worth it. 

Getting tired of listening to roosters calling at all hours, we decided to make dinner with one of them.  All of us were fairly clueless how to deal with the chicken, but luckily Yoliswa came to our rescue.  The bird lost its head, we had a feast that night, and all was good.

Back in the kitchen.

This would be the ‘kitchen’ for the pigs.  A nearby farm discards a lot of greens when sorting and packaging their produce to sell, so we swing by and pick it up for pig food.  And yes, it smells awful.

One evening a friend was celebrating her birthday so a few of us went into town for Asian food.  Like most people at the table I opted for the sushi buffet and while I was able to eat my fill, it wasn’t like the top notch sushi we have in Seattle ;)

Indicat is my buddy.  She makes me miss my cats Jack and Sven back home some times, but is a great cat and expert rat/mouse slayer.

Alex picking out stones for the floor in one of the bathrooms.

Removing windows the fun way! 

Ah, this is where we get the pig food from.  Here is where the workers sort the good and bad produce, letting us take what they would otherwise toss out.

One of my favourite things on the farm, the bread Yoliswa bakes almost daily!  There is nothing better than hot fresh bread and no matter if I am hungry or not, when I see a fresh loaf I always have a piece or two. 

Alex almost done with the floor.

Green plants and blue sky, another great day on the farm.

This is where every day ends, sitting by the fire listening to music and chatting. 

My South African visa expires mid-July, so I expect to stay here on the farm until I head off to my next destination, wherever that is!  


  1. Saw this on Reddit; felt the need to leave a comment. Your trip looks absolutely incredible! I really hope I get the chance to have an experience like this.

    1. Thanks a lot! It's easier than you might think to do something like this, the hardest part is the first step out the door.

  2. Another Redditor here, very impressed by your pictures and your general lifestyle. I'm gonna be on the road next month, hope to do something like this!

  3. I'm doing something very much like this on a farm in Alabama through WWOOF. Scott's right, just do it!

  4. I'm coming from r/ as well, great write up and excellent pics. Seeing what you are doing halfway around the world and noticing that it mimics what we are doing here on our farm, from the outdoor shower, bamboo usage and mean rooster really made me laugh! Please check out our page!

  5. Coming from Reddit aswell. I'm trying to get a postcard from every country in the world. When I saw your post I got very excited. I'm looking for postcards from all over Africa. Africa is extremely difficult to get postcards from. Most Africans simply don't have Internet. I would gladly pay for postage/postcards.

    1. I'm no longer in Africa, so can't help. Sorry

  6. Scott,

    I'm not sure how its possible that its only now that I've taken the time to go through your blog word by word and picture by picture. You're an amazing person. I've thought of you many times lying in bed and looking at the stunning workmanship on the roof where you and Xolile painstakingly put the trims in place. You've left your mark on our farm and we miss you.

    Life on the farm has and will continue as you remember. The days are still blurred into one and the work never stops. Its still my favorite place in the world and we'll continue creating the space that we've set out to do. Lots have changed and will change and can't wait for you to come back again and see the developments. We've done quite a bit since you left on your adventures and we'll keep updating photos etc on our FB page.

    I know how hard it is, after the adventures you had, to return home and start a new life in a way. I'm sure you have more memories and experiences than most and sure you'll be able to tell you grandchildren all about your adventures in Africa one day.

    I really felt the need to just drop you these few lines to say that you're part of the Ikhwezi Lokusa Family and we'd never be where we are today if you weren't part part of it all.


    1. Jandre, I just sent a request to the Ikhwezi Lokusa FB page, but I'll reply here as well. I really and truly had a great time with you and the rest of the crew out in East London. Like many things on my trip it was an opportunity that just sort of fell into my lap as a result of meeting the right people at the right time, and it played a really wonderful part in my journey. I can't say when it will happen, but I really would love to swing by again some day!

  7. amazing pics you took of a place that is evolving and so different from the one i called home for a brief time in is always amazing to see the good work of good people...hope you enjoy your next stop as much as you seemed to enjoy this one