McGill University ‘19
The agricultural trip to Dangjin was an amazing experience. I went on the trip with the Jaseng community service team, two fellow interns, a staff member, a sophomore in high school, and an 8th grade student. Although we were of all different ages, we were able to bond over the 2-hour car ride and over the work we did when we arrived at the farm. The farm we visited at Dangjin was beautiful. The sky was a clear blue, which is a rare sight in the city, and in the distance there was a perfect horizon of mountains.
The first things we did when we arrived at the farm was put on our hats, sunscreen, vests, and aprons. We were then each given a bundle of special paper bags that we would later use to wrap grapes in the field in order to keep pests out while the grapes fully ripened. Most of the grapes were kept in a large greenhouse, while some were being grown along the outside of the greenhouse. We initially started our work wrapping the grapes inside the greenhouse; however, we were only able to wrap the ones closest to the entrance since the inside was so extremely humid that it was difficult to breathe. Once we finished wrapping the grapes near the entrance, we began working on the grapes being grown alongside the greenhouse. Wrapping these grapes was an even greater challenge for me personally, because unlike the grapes inside the greenhouse, these grapes were surrounded by all kinds of spiders. It was a difficult job for me at first since I had a fear of spiders, but the fear eventually subsided and I was able to wrap the grapes with no problems. It was very tedious work, especially with such hot and humid weather, so it gave me a new appreciation for the amount of work that goes into harvesting grapes.
After we were done with our work, the farmers provided us with ice-cold tea and watermelon. It felt very rewarding to stand in the shade and enjoy such refreshing snacks after working in the hot sun for an hour, and it also gave us time to reflect on how appreciative we should be to farmers that carry out all this hard work so that people can enjoy delicious fruits. After we had some time to cool down and rehydrate ourselves, we set out to continue wrapping the grapes for another half hour. The whole team ended up wrapping an entire lane of grapes, which felt very rewarding.
Lunch was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The farmers had worked incredibly hard to provide us with a great variety of traditional Korean side dishes, spicy bulgogi, rice cakes, and sticky-rice. The meal was delicious, and I couldn’t thank the people who had prepared the food enough. I was very thankful for their hospitality.
After we finished with lunch, we drove over to set up a room for the Jaseng medical service team. We set up all the beds that the patients were to receive treatment on, and we individually wrapped cooling pads that were to be handed out to the patients. They provided us with peaches as a quick snack before we left to go back home. On the car ride back, we all agreed that the trip had been a lot of fun and a great experience. I especially liked the trip because not only was I able to learn about the work farmers do, but I also became good friends with all the people I had taken the trip with. I’d like to thank Jaseng for this amazing opportunity and all the people that made my experience so wonderful.