Tenerife Horse Rescue (Animal Rescue & sustainable eco-community)

My life lately has consisted of a complete change in perspective (exactly what I was after).

Off-grid, eco-conscious, empathy centred and lovingly created and protected LIFE! Hundreds of animals have found refuge here. Humans too I think. Here we eat colourful, healthy food that would’ve otherwise been thrown out (literally, we can feed 50 people a day with FREE food). Whatever we don’t need goes to families that might eat the food themselves or use it to feed their animals. This is not to mention the hundreds of animals that eat the rest of the fruit and veg, or our compost en masse and then gets redistributed amongst our little plant babies. I’m slowly understanding how to save and recycle water in an arid, desert landscape to ensure maximum usage. How to grow plants in a place that seems desolate and unforgiving. I appreciate the simple pleasures, and realise how much I take them all for granted while swept away in ‘the outside world’. I’ve learned that horses poo way more than you think they do, and that you can actually use it to create hot water. I’m also adjusting to life as a member of a true collective. A community of like-minded, albeit vastly(!) different, humans of all ages and backgrounds. Those who do not belong take their leave, and the social¬† entity rekindles itself as each new member settles into their space, the unified unfolding an extension. To be able to sit and witness this somewhat bizarre and constantly shifting, but most natural state of being amongst humans is truly beautiful.¬†

Many hands really do make for light work, and without everyone doing their specific roles, this place simply couldn’t run as it does. I’m growing fonder of the human spirit, and being able to witness tangible, real-life human capacity for love, compassion and empathy – for animals, the earth and each other, is exactly what all of us need in our lives. It’s what the world needs.

And here is just one little corner of the world, showing you that it’s possible.

finca

I sit on a long table in a communal kitchen with a dirt floor. Underneath the table are two dogs asleep on dusty old lounge pillows. At the end is a cat with piercing, cross-eyed azure blue eyes with a creamy beige and brown coat asleep in a fruit box with tomatoes. Two Slovakians revel in their mother tongue, laughing behind me in fast-paced conversation. The teraformer (gardener really doesn’t do him justice) of the Finca chats to a younger guy in German. He is a biologist come desert-planting genius. A jolly Scottish woman is cooking beside me with a spread full of coloured vegetables. These are all vegetables that would’ve been thrown away, but are donated by a local supermarket for us to re-purpose. There are giant cinnamon sticks bubbling away in rice, and the spices from big pots of curry are swept up into my nostrils and out the open air kitchen, away with the Saharan winds.

I slice and hand juice a tray of oranges. My hands and the table are covered in pulp, with punchy zest spurting out from the orange rinds as I twist them back and forth. I pour a generous serving into a beer mug and take a seat on the hill overlooking the horses, and the ocean. I take a moment to sober, and breathe it all in. I bought a one way ticket to an animal sanctuary on Tenerife, where the community is eclectic, but united in kindness.

My new home is an old and immobile van that somehow withstands the gusty winds, and is occasionally also home to a cat that somehow always finds a way in. My small porch is made of pallets and I overlook the ocean, a wind-farm and the mountains. The days are sun-drenched and top 26 pleasant degrees, with the nights dropping to a comfy 19. The sky is generously sprinkled with stars. I sleep deeply, despite the flies, the cat, the shaking in the wind and the competing roosters in the morning.s

There are 45 loving volunteers here living in vans, caves, caravans or other shacks amongst the hills. Horses, goats, sheep, pigs, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, donkeys, tortoises and lizards make up the other 200 or so occupants. They are all rescue animals.

No job, no plans, no ticket back.

I feel as if I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

bittersweet

I’ve never felt the gravity of that emotion until now. The sweet, promising, hopeful and abundant – as quickly as it lifts – it plummets into loss, grief, loneliness and uncertainty.

Today I leave Australia indefinitely. It has been a trip 3 years in the making. All my belongings fit on my back and it’s as liberating as I hoped it would feel. Tears of joy and sadness mingle in my eyes and fall onto my shirt.

My plans are fluid and my heart is determined to remain open. Open to all the experiences, people and opportunities that avail themselves to me.

Finally! It is time to be immersed, so into the unknown I go.