The original version of this article was first published on the author’s personal blog, Moona

At La Donaira there are many firsts. Many things that one has to experience for the very first time. Things that help us grow as people. This first happens to be a tree, or more specifically an avocado tree. This was a first for me as I had never planted a tree before. It also happened to be a first for our garden at El Nido.

El Nido: The Nest. Which is where the Woofers live here at La Donaira.

A speaker was placed out on the ground which made it felt like we were in a film. The music perfectly caught the feelings we had in the moment. We had spent the morning digging out this huge hole in the ground. We had been talking excitedly the whole day. It was now the afternoon. It was time.

The sky was a fantastic blue with the sun casting an orange glow over us and the landscape. We were given leaves to break apart and to smell which would give nutrients to the tree. We tossed the leaves into the hole which made it feel more like a funeral than the beginning of a life.

“It looks like we´re about to bury a hamster,” I said. I tend to speak my mind.

fresh avocado ladonaira.jpg

After the leaves were thrown in, some rocks were placed in the bottom for drainage. Then a layer or two of the horse poo collected from the paddocks. The tree was then given the name “fr e sh a voca do”. (Or Guts, as others will insist on me adding).

Finally the small tree that had spent time in the plant nursery was to be set in its final place. Gently we placed it into the ground. It was somehow a very emotional moment which made me want to cry. It was the start of something new. This is one of the fantastic things about gardening. You learn to appreciate the small things. The next part of the planting of the tree was by far one of the strangest things I´ve ever experienced. (In a good way.)


Some form of ritual was performed around the small tree which involved the smelling of the horse poo which was a joke but was somehow taken seriously. (We have pictures to prove it.) We then bent down and kissed one leaf each of the small tree to give it some of our love. To show our appreciation of it. Even if we are fully aware that it does not understand any of this. After this it truly spiralled out of control.

Three of us started to dance and breathe in the tree. Giving the tree energy. Pushing the energy away from us and into the tree. It´s one of those things that I will just never forget. What we value and see as important things here are so different from things at home. Here planting that tree was a highly important moment. Getting to sit in a car to go somewhere is also an important moment. La Donaira teaches us to value everything. To not take anything, anything at all for granted. On top of this you get to meet a small group of the most amazing interesting people in the world. From all over the world.

These experiences will stay with me for the rest of my life and I will keep telling people stories from here, so it shall live on for even longer than I.