You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there. – Yogi Berra
Knowing that the first bus heading south to Rio Dulce left at 5:30am and it would be a 6km walk with our packs to Poptun, the time is 4am and the alarm clock is ringing, the morning of our escape has arrived. I will begin by saying that I would not recommend volunteering at Finca Ixobel if the owner, Carole, is present. The only reason I lasted five weeks is because she was absent of the premises and the entire time she was not around it was a fantastic place to be. However, if you find being talked down to in a condescending manner constantly, called upon verbally like a dog, treated as though you are incompetent when the ambiguity of her direction is the result of the outcome, required to do busy work when there are not guests because she attempts to run the business like her roots as an American, than by all means enjoy. The last straw for me came the night before just shortly after requesting to leave the next day in the absence of guests, power, and Internet. I was asked to bring back a cooler from the bar, which is a ten-minute walk next to the lagoon and did so, no problem. I was never told what to do other than bring it to the kitchen area and had no idea what this was going to be used for since it was at the request of Carole’s daughter. Later in the evening Carole asked who brought the cooler up and I stepped forward without hesitation and said it was me, she than began in to an irate tangent about how it should have been washed and while it wasn’t even that dirty she made it seem as though the end of the world may just spontaneously occur because how dare this cooler not be spotless as ice and bottles of beer were the only contents placed inside the unsanitary walls. Surprised at this lack of even the slightest bit of professional courtesy, let alone manners, I was taken back. Before I could even respond Roberto, the manager, thought it best to jump in and make a very rude and sarcastic statement directly in my face implying that I was incompetent as he asked if I thought it was brought up for someone to sit upon. Gritting my teeth, that was it, I knew I would be leaving first thing the next morning. I could not help but think how particular friends back home would have reacted to this situation, the first was my buddy Frank Gatto, he would have lit her up without a second thought, tears would have been the outcome and they certainly would not have been from him. The second person that quickly came to mind was Jeremy Vlad, and then on down the list with Andrea Vlad and several others. Laughing to myself, I was glad to see that I could still find humor in the situation and was not about to let this cranky woman get the better part of me. The final icing on the cake arrived after working a nine and a half hour day with no gratitude for putting in this extra time, especially after the previous comments were made, Carole should take a hard look at a quote from Randy Pausch, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”
I do not want to dwell any further upon the unfortunate circumstances of my altercation with Carole, but feel that it is only fair to let other potential volunteers know exactly what they would be signing up for if they choose to spend time here.