Three months as the herbal medicine intern and I have nothing but love and fond memories of Bonafide! From the moment I climbed up the hill on my first day I was greeted with a warm hug from Sabrina, the manager of the farm, aka "farm mom". Instantly I felt like a part of the group as everyone was so welcoming and nice. It can be an adjustment to living rurally (especially if you came straight from NYC like me) but with all the support it was a really fun experience that taught me a lot about myself and the way I want to live. Bonafide has such a strong community both within but also has close ties with all the locals in town which is what makes it special. I left with some really close friends that I still keep in touch with and a million memories. I've noticed this farm in particular attracts a certain quality of volunteer that sets it apart from other places. I've met so many smart, engaging, people who are really passionate about learning and have brought some different interests to the table to share with the group.
As herbal medicine intern, my experience at Bonafide was a little more unique. I got the pleasure of working with the naturopathic doctor on the island, Dawson, once a week to help with clinic duties and brainstorm how to get more herbs to the clinic to treat patients. It was a really valuable experience to get 1:1 time to ask him a million questions about health and herbs. I also got to travel up to the north of Nicaragua to Estelli to document useful info from another farm that has a really great system for processing herbs into medicine.
Along with my herbal medicine duties, our regular farm work taught me things I didn't expect. We learned about soil, composting, mulching, swales, etc. Bonafide has such a talented and smart staff that explain everything to you. They know about all the exotic species around and are more than happy to explain things to you. Also great way to improve your Spanish!
I think my biggest takeaway, and please note this may just be my own perspective as someone going into the health field, is that Bonafide provides you with a lot of the key things missing from the western lifestyle. There you wake up with the sun, moving your body all day, outside in sunlight, eating unprocessed fresh foods, having a supportive community, going to bed early, limited electronics time, etc. All things that are strongly lacking in western culture and hard to break away from. It took me experiencing it to realize how simple optimal health is, and it doesn't come from a new app, or gadget or gym class but just an understanding and the environment to support what our bodies are built for.
Anyways could ramble all day, but I really cherish my time at Bonafide and I think about it all the time! Love the people, the food, the experiences, and mostly the farm pups !