With an oversized empty dog box, an even bigger suitcase and a backpack I went through customs in Palma de Mallorca. Farah was already waiting for me. Quickly everything was stowed in the van and we were on our way towards Finca Noah.
After a 45-minute drive in Mallorcan farah-driving style, we stood in front of the white gate of Finca Noah. This opened slowly and I could spy a horse and a donkey to my right and to my left the feathered inhabitants. The drive continued to the green gate, where a pack of joyfully wagging dogs, longing and barking loudly were already waiting for us.
Now I finally stood there in front of Casa Jeannine and could hardly wait to enter this Tiny House, which I knew until then only from photos. I was amazed at what all can be found in such a small space. The entrance with kitchen, dining counter and a comfortable sofa, a bathroom with plenty of space for the toilet bag and a small but fine bedroom that invites you to linger. The equipment leaves nothing to be desired, from the dishwasher to the stove, to the oven, to the air conditioning and TV, everything is available. I felt extremely comfortable right away and as a trained camper it was no trouble to go to the toilet outside the Casa Jeannine and to leave the Tiny House again before going to bed.
Quickly everything was stowed away and I was ready to help with the evening tour. But where can a volunteer help in the first few hours? Believe me, there is a job for everyone at Finca Noah and so I stood there between sheep, ponies and deer and started to wipe, collect and dispose of the "Bölleli" with a shovel and a broom. Sounds easy but the wiping and collecting technique must first be practiced and then perfected, because each "Bölleli" is meticulously collected and disposed of. Farah has eagle eyes and finds even the smallest overlooked "Bölleli". It's hard to believe how much "Bölleli" sheep, deer and ponies produce in one afternoon. If they were gold nuggets, everyone at Finca Noah would be rich. ☺.
After the Bölleli tour, we went back up to the enclosures. There, three four-legged friends were happily waiting for their evening walk. Since I am not so familiar with dogs, I received training regarding safe entry into a kennel, proper leashing of a dog and safe exit from a kennel and off we went for the tour at dusk.
Back from the foray it was time to provide the dogs with dinner, the full food bowls were placed in the enclosures and the remaining bowls for the outdoor dogs (I call them so because they can move freely on the finca) provided. As soon as the garage door was opened (there the dogs have to wait until the food bowls are distributed) the hustle and bustle started until finally every dog found his food bowl and licked it out.
At the end of the evening tour, the feeding bowls were collected, washed out and placed in the gravel to dry. The on-site Animal Police volunteers made their way home. Mike, Farah and the six free-range dogs went to the finca and I retired to my homey Tiny House. It got quiet on the property and everyone went to bed.
When Mike opens the garage door at 7:30 a.m. and six well-rested dogs begin their morning ritual, a new day begins. At 8 a.m., everyone meets in the garage for a quick briefing, as the day's schedule is discussed and tasks are distributed. Armed with mop, bucket, waste bags and cleaning cloths, I now stood in the cat enclosure, which was lovingly stocked with blankets, scratching posts and recliners, various toys and, of course, plenty of cat boxes. In order to efficiently clean the enclosures, an experienced helper was on hand on the first day. Just as meticulously as the collection of the "gold nuggets" in the evening, the litter boxes were cleaned out, cat sand refilled and the cat sand grains scattered all over the room were wiped together. You can't imagine what a mother cat and her babies can do in one night. The blankets are neatly folded and put down again and dirty blankets are replaced. Afterwards the floors are damp
wiped up and the food and water bowls rinsed, dried and freshly filled. It is a real pleasure to watch the kittens playing and romping around, but there is not much time to pet them, because other residents of Finca Noah are waiting for the "staff". No sooner are we done with the first enclosure than another mother cat and her babies are waiting impatiently for their human caretaker. And again it is: wipe, wash, refill, fold, distribute food and stroke.
Since the dogs, parrots, ducks, chickens, rabbits, peacocks, horses, donkeys, ponies, sheep, pigeons and last but not least the deer "Coco" also have their needs, their enclosures are also mopped, washed, refilled and cared for.
At Finca Noah, the whole day is spent cleaning, tidying up, repairing and rearranging. Because such a paradise needs a lot of care and many helping hands. The physical work and the change of climate should not be underestimated, the constant bending and lifting of objects, which in my case were definitely heavier than my pen in the office. ☺, and the temperature difference to Switzerland are not quite without, but definitely worth a sore muscle and a slight sunburn. When you sit down sweaty, dusty and dirty in the Conny Land (a covered shelter on the finca) for lunch around 14:00, you know what you have done.
The time between 14:00 and 17:30 is free for the volunteers. Since I arrived without my own vehicle, I spent the time with the other Animal Police volunteers. Once we sat comfortably at the table, another time we made oversized mandalas in the form of a crown or a lettering with the many stones that are on the area until the evening tour was rung in at 17:30.
The evening round is a shortened form of the morning tour, here it is checked again whether enough food and water is available, the enclosures are cleaned again and the "gold nuggets" collected. The dogs are taken for a walk again until the evening feeding of my four-legged friends, which I have already become fond of after one day, is celebrated. Around 20:00 it is quiet again at Finca Noah and we meet for a last "chat" until we fall tired but happy into bed and look forward to the next morning. Because even if you wipe, wash, refill and fold your bed every day, you never know what new animal stories the next day will bring and to which animal you will lose your heart. In my case, a dog named Rubina.
For me it was an indescribable experience far away from the daily office routine. I had the chance to meet people who take care of the welfare of animals every day and with a lot of heart and soul make Finca Noah what it is, namely "A 6 in the lottery for every animal that is allowed to live there temporarily". I take my hat off to you and thank you again from the bottom of my heart that I was allowed to be a part of you for 16 days.