Choosing to Intern at CHF


Written by John Oliver Fanfan, Mandela-Washington Fellow

Now that you all know that the farm’s social media is under my dictatorship until Friday :P , I will be invading the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram timeline with my personal experiences with the Carriage House community. A community that stole my heart, leaving me wanting to hunt for a time machine that would enable me to live these crazy and deep moments again and again with all the amazing people I met here during the last 5 weeks.

So my first post will be about confessing a little secret to you: 😉

 When I first read the announcement of my application selection for the Professional development program (PDE) of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, I was hoping to go to one of those big, famous “American cities” that you see in the movies. I told myself that out of the 3 company host options I would have to consider over the following few weeks, I would choose to do my PDE in the most “popular city”.

After waiting for a host proposition list from the organizers for some weeks, I finally received the long-expected email while eating lunch at a small street restaurant near our community garden in Mauritius . After a few minutes of smiling alone and indulging in some crazy gestures (you know, those irrational gestures that “express” your excess of excitement when you are about to unveil a big suspense), I finally opened the message and was UPSET to realize that the first proposition I received was from a totally unknown city (in our other end of the planet) that neither I, nor the friends that were with me, knew.

However, I decided to think and act like we were advised by the organizing team, which is not to make a decision about our host organization choice without taking the time to learn more about it, which in this case meant a skype conversation with the potential mentor, Richard Stewart of Carriage House Farm. The first time we spoke, was supposed to be a skype professional interview (as we were told in our “PDE” fellow guide) but quickly became a “dreamers’ intercontinental meeting”.  And after some digital stalking on Carriage House’s Instagram and Facebook page, I told myself, “you better not choose a fancy city over that super cool, fun, and wise mentor and that romantic farm!”

So I decided to tell the organizers that I was sure and convinced that I found my “perfect fit” and I confirmed this choice without waiting for them to send me the other two placement choices because I didn’t wanted to risk choosing another farming company just because of the city that was close to the farm. YES, the perfect fit can happen sometimes on the first try :P .

However I often questioned my intuitive decision before I arrived in Cincinnati, and those doubts were like: “What if the other propositions were better? What if the other cities were more interesting?” But since spending my first week on this magical farm, I always thank my dear heart for deciding to intern at Carriage House Farm. Beyond learning and growing in a dynamic organization, I have discovered and been welcomed into a loving family where everyone supports each other and cares for the welfare of one another.

I ended up my first farm week having this thought on my mind, another good name for the farm could be the “the LOVE farm”……because every member of this farming family has something in common: they left some other studies-based career to be a full-time/part -time farmer out of LOVE.