Now in a place called Waro. It's basically a backpackers but with a couple of self contained units seperate from the main building. They say you don't apreciate what you've got until you lose it and I now appreciate what I had up in KeriKeri. Alright it wasn't perfect, but here is just dull with a capital D! Grant, Louisa's boyfriend gave me a lift here as he had to head home as an aunt of his was coming to stay with him, which was great and saved me $28.00 bus fare. The place-Warolodge is right on the main highway, which is actually only a 2 lane road but the traffic is constant and moving at a pace, so even though we are in the country there is certainly no peace and quiet. When I arrived no-one was around except another Helpxer, a girl from Holland called Tania. I arrived at 10 and Mary the owner was out taking her kids to school, I poked my head in to look around and say Hi and Grant asked if I wanted to stay, I didn't but felt as I'd said I was coming I didn't want to let these people down, he said I could stay at his place for a couple of nights instead and I was very tempted, but didn't. Mary was very friendly and I thought as I'd arrived so early I'd better do some work which isn't what you normally do on your day of arrival. I was shown where I was going to sleep, which was upstairs in basically a dorm with 6 beds, luckily as the place is empty I had the room to myself. I did a few hours work and knocked off at lunchtime when Mary. Tania and myself sat down and had a sandwich and cup of coffee. We had a good chat and I thought that it wasn't going to be such a bad place after all. When I arrived I saw a black retriever dog in basically a cage, so after lunch asked Mary if he needed a walk, she said yeah and we set off, There is an old disused stone quarry next to the place with a signposted walk around and Mary said that I'd come across a lake where Bono the dog would go for a swim and so could I if I wanted. He's only a young dog and in conversation Mary explained that her and Warren, her boyfriend, were keen fishermen and hunters and that Bono is their gundog. He's only a youngster at 13 months but they have no interaction with him at all, he spends his whole day locked in this cage away from the house and you can hear him whining all day and if he sees you or if you go anywhere near him he goes beserk with excitement. We started walking and he took off like a dog possessed. Mary told me I had to be firm in my commands with him, he didn't have a lead but knew exactly where he was going. He was virtually impossible to control but we made it down to the lake and both went for a swim, he spotted some ducks and took off. Then when we got out and was drying off a pick-up with a dog in the back drove past and Bono gave chase. The driver had to stop and wait for me to catch up so I could grab Bono, it was a nightmare. What i noticed when I grabbed him was that the collar he was wearing was as tight as it could be with no slack to loosen it. The poor dog spends his time alone in the cage all day with a collar thats virtually strangling him and when he gets let out it's like sensory overload. I absolutley hate the way they treat him, he isn't a pet just something to use during the hunting season that lasts a few months. Mary showed me pictures of fishing and hunting trips they had been on, probably the most shocking was a picture with several dead peacocks which they'd shot and which are considered pests.
I thought Mary was pretty laid back but before dinner whilst chatting she showed me a list of rules and requirements they expect from their helpers, evrywhere I've been to previously has been very laid back and cool. Get up whenever you want breakfast and lunch tend to be a help yourself to anything type affair with a cooked dinner in the evening. Do your work hours when you want as long as they are fulfilled. Here it's Breakfast at 7.30 sharp, funnily Mary asked me what I like for breakfast, I said ''Oh I'm easy toast, cereal anything really'' her face sort of dropped and she said ''Oh we like to eat protein round here, so we normally have eggs'', which is fine, but don't ask me what I want for breakfast in that case! Working requirements are 5 hours a day where everywhere else has been 4, and start time is 9! WHY! if I'm up at 7.30 and having eggs on toast why not let me start at 8!
Tania the dutch girl will have been here 10 days tomorrow when she is leaving, she says it has been great, I've found it dull and upsetting! Yesterday after dinner everyone went to bed at 9 and today after dinner which Tania cooked and Warren finally returned after spending a couple of days in Auckland, the evening was over by 8.45. Warren said goodnight, Mary just followed without saying anything and Tania who to be frank has a bit of an attitude, turned all the lights off, went into the lounge and shut the door behind her.
I leave Saturday morning to spend some time in Mount Eden a suburb of Auckland before heading south and I can't wait.
But the thing that I will remember most is the way that they treat that poor dog, dogs which are sociable pack animals, locked up by himself with no interaction of any sort, will be hard to forget.