BARRY’S BAY – Gardening has always been close to Terry Newcombe’s heart. So when an opportunity to volunteer on a organic farm in Nicaragua arose, he leapt at the chance.
For more than two weeks, the Barry’s Bay resident has been living on Isla Ometepe, an island on Lake Ometepe in Nicaragua, Central America.
He joined the organization World Wide Organization of Organic Farms (WWOOF,) a group that matches volunteers to famers.
Newcombe said a variety of factors lead him to the opportunity.
“Partly because I like volunteer work, partly because I love living in jungles and improving my Spanish, partly to escape the winter,” Newcombe said. “And partly to have time to rethink what I want to do with my life, now that my wife of 23 years has passed away. I know how lucky I am to have this opportunity, so I’m taking it.”
While he has done four six-month volunteer projects and one three-month project in Central and South America, this is the first time he is working on a farm. Around 15 years ago, during a six-month volunteer project, he visited the Isla Ometepe on a vacation and fell in love with it.
He hopes to learn a lot during his time on the island.
“In addition to helping them, I hope to learn some good organic growing techniques,” he said.
Newcombe is well known in Barry’s Bay for his environmentally friendly home. He is an avid gardener and has experience growing produce all year long.
Now in Nicaragua, Newcombe will be learning how to show local farmers, often poor and uneducated, how they can grow healthier food organically without having to spend more money or take more time.
“I help to build garden beds, look after chickens and pigs and ducks and bees, and coordinate the other volunteers,” he said.
Get your February 11, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.