Our cheeks are coloured from the cold while we look at the remote farm along a small dirt road. We are still looking for a spot to place the tent, somewhere else than along the road, and this farm is our last change. A man is limping while he moves in our direction. Every step looks tiresome and his right arm is swinging next to his body. When he reach the fens, Ruben is greeting us sincerely, but we nearly don’t understand a word of his Spanish.
He is looking behind before he offers us a night at the farm. Ruben is working at the farm and by coincidence the owners are visiting the place to check if he is doing his work. Workers like gardeners, guards or farmers live in a simple house next to the farm. For these hard workers it is never a problem to pitch the tent in the garden, but they never dear to invite us without permission of the boss. Ruben’s boss lives in the city, and he doesn’t doubt a second to play with the rules. If we hide a bit and wait for half an hour, the owners will go back to the city and we will be welcome for the night. “People from the city are scared for strangers, I live for years in the field and I am a free man” are Ruben his words.
One our later we are drinking mate together in the basic kitchen next to the farm. Because of a cerebral haemorrhage Ruben is paralysed on the right side of his body. It looks like he is losing his balance with every step, what makes him look like a swanking drunk man. When his sits, his right arm is leaning on his lab like a tolerant man with charm. His voice is also affected, but it doesn’t stop him from talking and he is clearly enjoying our company. When he is walking outside, we hear him singing songs and talking out loud about our visit to his dogs. His physical disability is overflown to his hearth which floods with goodness.
The farm is his live. Because of his disabilities he leaves the farm rarely. Cooking is difficult, but his neighbour, who lives 500 meter further, brings a warm meal every lunch. Once he had a car, but after the accident he exchanged it for four horses and some money. Sometimes he goes to the bus stop with his bicycle to work on a cattle market. There he earns enough money to buy his cigarettes, which are more expansive then the costs of living in the farm. This is all Ruben needs to be happy. With WhatsApp he is connected with his family and almost daily we receive a voice message “Como andan? Todo bien? Donde estan?”, yelled through the phone. It makes us smile and remind the warm night with Ruben, who let us sleep in the bed of the boss, secretly.