I am sitting in one of the most peaceful locations on earth, listening to the
excited shouts and calls of 26 children between the ages of 7 and 10, swimming
across a sludgy, slime filled dam and none of us could be happier! This is our
first class camp to the incomparable Bloublommetjieskloof biodynamic farm in
Wellington. The children have been filled with excitement and anxiety in equal
parts for most of this year in anticipation of their first class camp and for
many, the first time away from their parents for such a long time.

All of us will experience this camp in many different ways, from different
perspectives and I hope to bring you a snippet of as many as I can. We have
been busy since we arrived here on Wednesday morning at 11:00 as this is a
working farm and there is much to do. Arriving as we have at the beginning of
October we have been blessed to be involved in the compost and fertiliser
preparations that are so essential to biodynamic farming. Digging up cow horns
that have been filled with the manure of a lactating cow which has been buried
in the earth for six months during winter and listening to Wendy explain about
the cosmic and earthly forces which influence it is fascinating.

It has also been a wonderful experience to haves Zakes accompany us. Zakes was
a pupil in my class during my first cycle of teaching at Gaia and it has
been so special returning to this beautiful place with him after eight years.
Chatting at mealtimes…I cannot write about Bloublommetjies without
mentioning the organic, health-filled meals we are served here…about how he
experienced it then and now has been wonderful.

“Bloublommetjies biodynamic farm is one of my favourite places on earth.
Hidden in a valley just past Wellington, the oldest biodynamic farm in the
country has stolen my heart. Eight years since I came here as a new class 3
pupil with Melanie, and it’s still one of the memories I hold most dear.
This is my third time being here, twice with Gaia and once on a separate camp,
each has their own special memories. From finally sleeping in the teachers
room to learning about the process of creating preparations for compost heaps
out of flowers that correlate with stars, the signature of this camp is being
a leader. While guiding the children past an agitated cow I realised
something, I’d finally grown up.

These children have become so important to me, that keeping them safe became
more important than my own safety. The school brought me here the first time
as a child and I am leaving this time feeling more like a man, ready to take
on the world than ever before. Thank you Gaia Waldorf and especially thanks to
Melanie and her new class of children who have changed my life.” Zakes van

“It’s been fun, exciting and crazy. The most interesting thing I learnt was
that if you scare cows their milk will go sour, they’ll hold it in and then
they could die. I’ll never forget milking the cows and drinking some of the
milk.” Luke Pascoe

“I learnt that riding horses is not that scary. I fed the chickens and it was
fun, they are actually quite cute. Sleeping has been quite hard and scary but
I slept through it. The pigs are actually very greedy and the small one was
very cute.” Kaiden Hendricks

“I learnt how to make butter by shaking milk. It’s almost like magic, just
shaking it for a long time and then it gets solid. I’ll never forget milking
the cows.” Noah Louw

“It’s been great! I learnt that you only need a tiny bit of compost prep for a
huge heap of compost and it makes a big difference. I loved the night walk,
going down a steep slope in the dark. I won’t forget the food because it was so
delicious.” Lily Sanders

“My favourite part about camp was herding the cows and there was a cow with
giant teats. We had to herd the calves first and then the cows and bulls. One
of the things I’ll never forget is sleeping on a farm away from the city…it
feels like a jungle.” Jordan de Vries

“It’s been very fun and very tiring. I learnt that ducks eat a bit and then
they have to wash it down with water. I will never forget the pillow fights
and riding the horses up and down ditches, it’s pretty scary but really fun.”
Emily Bowker

“The best part was learning how to make butter and ice cream. I loved swimming
in the dam. I didn’t like picking up the horse and cow manure for the compost
heap.” Esethu Mabele

“Riding bare back on the horse Sharief was the best part. I learnt more about
cows than most things, how to herd them and how to milk them, but the texture
of the teat is not that nice.” Elijah Gallant

Melanie Francis
Class 3 Teacher