I worked for my grandfather’s farm picking cucumbers at 40 degrees Celsius two summers ago. If any of you have ever worked on a cucumber farm in the middle of the summer you must know the struggle of itching hands and a sweaty body. It’s defiantly not a job I would like to do ever again. I did this job over the summer at my grandfathers farm to understand my families history and earn a little extra money, I live as an international student in a big city where my daily struggle is to study & do my homework, this was a huge contrast to the farmers I meet when working here over the summer. These people work tirelessly over the whole year to support their family, it was very eye opening to me. Many people do not have a choice to be as privileged as I am in an Ib school and I think this working experienced helped to push myself to improve. It made me work harder in school and outside of school because I want to take every opportunity I get to improve my self and strive for a job that I like and can sustain myself with. Because I know for sure the lovely older ladies in the plantations would have taken any chance to go to school and learn. I also did another week this summer on the plantation machines planting a variety of plants. Its quite incredible how much work and care it takes to grow just a few hundred crops compared to the little money you get for them once you sell them.
The skill sets you to need for planting plants and cutting Cucumbers is minimal. The plantation machines are easy, you sit in your chair and there is a rotating machine in front of you with holes in it. As you can see in the image below there are stacks of plants in front of you, you take a handful out and place them into the holes in the rotating machine. The machine then automatically places the plants in the soil. This is process is quite fast and you need to be careful not to fall behind. However, you quickly develop a technique for placing the plants into the machine and then the process becomes rather tedious and boring. I often found myself watching the environment around me and not paying much attention to anything anymore. Cutting cucumbers is different, here you need to search through the needle leaves of cucumber plants to discover the cucumbers which are often hidden. This, if you are not wearing gloves can become extremely Ichi, you also need to be aware of what size cucumbers you leave hanging and which you pick. I found this less enjoying then planting because here I was sweating and itching while on the planting machine I was just bored but at least I had nice scenery to look at.
While working on the planting machine I developed skills of patience and perseverance. I felt that although some of the activities where hard and some relaxing I did not get to challenge my brain at all. It’s a job-based on repetition and I did not enjoy that at all. I learned about myself and that I definitely need a job where I actively use my brain to solve problems or different situations. I value this working experience for the understanding it gave me about how hard it can be to earn money if you do not have the advantage of a degree and I learned a great deal about myself and in what setting I want to work in when I graduate. I recommend a week or two on a farm to everyone just because it teaches you so much about how much money is really worth and how much work it takes for these seemingly easy tasks.