WWOOFing Hawaii Gone Bad!!!
So, recently through word of mouth I heard of an opportunity to work on an organic farm in Honomu, Hawaii. It seemed like a great gig.
A friend of mine gave me the contact information, saying the owner, Peter, needed workers all the time and paid cash. Well, I needed work and best of all, a cash gig. It sounded too perfect because it was. He dropped me off the following day at the farm after speaking with Peter, for a test run at the fruit stand.
The man looked annoyed at my presence, showing up early to work. He told me to take pictures of the fruit at the fruit stand to learn the different bananas they sold and a Czech wwoofer, Jan, told me the rest of my tasks. So the agreement was I needed to work a minimum of 20 hours a week for my accommodation, room and board. It sounded easy enough. Then any hours afterwards I would get 30% of the profits. Great, right?
Well, I after 32 hours of work this week, I received no money. I worked a majority of my hours in the fruit stand and 3 hours on the farm. He did not pay me anything for my work. Here to find out, my first 20 hours cover room and board, so I’m down to 12 payable hours. Out of the 12 hours, 3 were farm, so that is no commission because I didn’t sell anything. Despite selling $300 dollars of fruit the first 3 days, I received nothing since that covered my room and board. And the last 8 hours I sold $64 of fruit, but still received no commission because 3 other people worked the fruit stand at different times. So my 30% became split four ways to about 7%…and even then I received nothing.
So why not just work the minimum 20 hours and still get room and board? Because you can’t. Even though he says you only need a minimum of 20 hours a week, he forces you to work more, because someone must be at the fruit stand. You end up cleaning the house everyday which is left a mess from his disrespectful kids. You peel bananas to get dried for an undetermined amount of time, all which does not count towards your hours.
Then, after all that you get to go back to a rat-infested cabin, with fire ants, mosquitoes and the smell of a septic tank all in the vicinity of your bed. The bed itself looks unwashed from the last wwoofer and the whole cabin has windows on each side to make you wake at dawn from the scorching sun. Sometimes in the night you can hear animals wrestle around underneath the cabin and it always smells of human waste and piss.
What were the PROS of WWOOFing on the Big Island in Hawaii you ask?
- Power outlets to charge my electronics in the main house
- Daily warm showers
- A roof over my head to shelter me from rain
- Decent WiFi
- Meet cool travelers from other countries
- Can leave your stuff in the cabin while you explore the Big Island
- There is food, not great food, but food
What were the CONS of WWOOFing on the Big Island in Hawaii?
- Never got paid
- It’s slave labor for shitty living accommodations when I can live for free on the beach without working 20 hours
- Cannot really see much of Hawaii because he wants me to work everyday
- I had to allot time in my day to make food since although he says food is provided he doesn’t actually cook anything
- I chopped grass down for hours with a machete because he lacks farming equipment
- Living conditions are horrible. There are rats, mosquitoes and fire ants all within feet of my bed.
- There is a toilet feet from my bed, inside my cabin.
- He was an inconsiderate dick
- He’s profiting off your hard work and does not care about you…he fired my friend Jan for no reason other than him annoying him and promised him $100 but never paid him.
- He claims to NOT SPRAY and be organic, when in fact he does spray…so he’s a liar.
- He doesn’t prepare meals.
- I did not learn anything about farming at all while I was there.
Tips for WWOOFing in Hawaii and What to Ask?
- Make sure you get your agreement in writing…DO NOT expect the host to be truthful on the phone because my host was a liar.
- Make sure to understand how many hours is required of you for accomodation and if you can EARN MONEY.
- Ask about food…is it rationed, is it prepared by the host, must you prepare your own food, how often is food picked up at the grocery store and do you have a say in what the host picks up?
- Are the sheets and beds cleaned between new wwoofers?
- What house duties are expected of you and is this included for your minimum hours towards housing or is it not included.
- What at all work is not included towards your hours for accommodation.
- Can you have a part time job elsewhere while wwoofing or is this not allowed?
What did I gain from WWOOFing?
- I gained a few friends in my time there
- I was able to eat exotic fruits and used Google to teach myself about them
- I spent no money while I was there
- I gained a few dollars in tips from a few customers
- I was able to update my blog and YouTube Channel over WiFi
What did I lose from WWOOFing?
- 32 hours of my life
- Better meals and accommodations in Hawaiian Paradise Park trimming trees
- 7 days of hitchhiking around to see the Big Island because he told me I’d make cash
Here is the listing on workaway Hawaii of the farm Farm Tours in Honomu. I do not have a workaway account otherwise I would leave a negative review. The guy is a narcissistic control freak, who says you work a maximum of 25 hours max, which is utterly a lie. The housing situation is horrendous. He does not cook food and expects you to make food for his kids. Overall, I think he is a very self-absorbed, horrible person who preys on foreigners from other countries for slave labor work because it is harder for them to leave. He did not pay me a penny despite our verbal agreement. Do not work for this tool. He only cares about exploiting travelers for free labor to benefit his highly unorganized business.