WWOOFer of the Month: Charles Muller from France

WWOOFKorea News
2024-06-06 09:55


Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I've been working for a French non-profit organization for 5 years. It's an organization for refugees in France. We provided accommodation, social support, French classes, and more activities to help them and their families to make ground in France. I really enjoyed working there but I decided to have a one-year gap to come to Korea and travel. As my mother is Korean, it's not my first time here but I've never stayed more than one month before.


What motivated you to WWOOF in Korea?

I decided to do WWOOFing for several reasons. I would like to discover the Korean countryside because I've only experienced Korean cities before, and there are many beautiful areas in different regions of Korea. I wanted to learn more about organic farming techniques and Korean vegetables and wild plants so I could try to collect or grow them back in France as well. Many wild plants we find in Korea are also available in France but people don’t eat them (like Gosari, Dotori, Ssuk). It's quite easy to collect them in France as no one else is interested (except for Koreans living in France, but they are not that many so we can share ^^).

I wanted to learn Korean cuisine and culture while sharing everyday life with Korean hosts. I think sharing meals is quite an important part of WWOOFing because it is a moment when we bond all together and naturally we learn a lot about each others.

I wanted to experience community life in Korea because a lot of hosts are living in a small local community with neighbors and other farmers. I really enjoyed the way how they organize and the challenges they went through.


How was your work or experience as a WWOOFer?

I’ve been WWOOFing at only 2 farms; CN108 and CB109. The work environment was quite different as the first farm did chicken farming and the other farm had vegetable gardens and did works like picking wild plants and blueberries and beekeeping. The most part I enjoyed was that I could experience diverse activities from feeding chickens and collecting eggs to planting trees, beekeeping or collecting wild plants, and small housework. It gave me a better understanding on organic farming.
 Both hosts were considerable and passionate about making WWOOFers have an enjoyable and good time. They both cooked tasteful Korean meals and on a special occasion we went out.

I really value the time I spent with them while getting to know them and sharing their life experience. Even though it was for a few days I felt so close to other WWOOFers and enjoyed every meal time after working so hard together. I especially enjoyed such a quiet and peaceful environment at the Snail Farm. Without WWOOFing, I would never have had a chance to be in such a small and beautiful village surrounded by a mountain.


What was the major cultural difference for you in Korea?

I would say that the importance of food as a way to show that you care in Korea always impresses me. I was always asked if I had enough food, if I appreciated it or if I wanted to eat something special. While working outside on hot days, they prepared a fresh lemonade or ice cream. When doing physical work for a long time, they prepared a little snack. All these small touches really made me feel that I was taken care of. The most meaningful part is that what we ate was what we produced on the farm. I am really thankful for all the meals I had while getting to know how much effort is needed.


Do you have any plans for the future?

I’m planning to travel by bike by myself around the Korean countryside. I am going to start from Seoul and go down to the Southern area, following the East coast. It will take about one or two months from May.


Can you give a message to readers of the WWOOF Korea newsletter?

WWOOFing is a great way to get out of our daily life and to open to new people and a different way of life, which leads to more sustainable and better physical and mental health. I really recommend everyone to do WWOOFing in Korea or any other country.

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