Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with the sheep and three inmates. When I first went to visit the sheep, an inmate (Lamb Papa) talked about his roles and responsibilities over the past two weeks. I saw him today and he looked exhausted. He is only required to work 8 hours a day and yet, with about 4 hours sleep on average a night, he has spent all his waking hours with the sheep, to make sure they are all ok. His sense of responsibility was incredibly strong and his dedication to his work was unquestionable. With a background in farming and having a great deal of experience and knowledge, I thought how lucky BastØy were to have such a man on the island.
Seeing sheep deliver their lambs was a completely new experience for me and that day I was educated from the minute I got there. I was told that one sheep was going into labour and it was likely I was going to see it. I was excited and sat down to chat with an inmate, who was due to perform his first ever assisted-delivery of a lamb. I could sense he was anxious and excited in equal measure and he found it difficult to stay still, checking on the sheep regularly and taking responsibility. Three hours past and I needed to get the ferry back. I left the sheep without seeing the birth. I plan to go back tomorrow as soon as possible to meet the baby lamb. What stood out for me today was the importance of creating meaningful work opportunities. I feel that carrying out meaningless tasks adds nothing to an individual in terms of skills, experiences and knowledge. I can relate to this in my own life; my work holds real meaning for me and I value this. It seems logical then that creating opportunities for inmates to be responsible and invested in something meaningful, is vitally important.
Today, I returned to the sheep and was sad to hear that the mother had rejected her lamb and as a consequence, the inmates needed to bottle fed the lamb with the hope of reintroducing her back to its mother. Due to this, they named her “hope” and after two full days of working hard with perseverance, Hope fed from her mother. The Lamb Papa was pleased; all his hard work had paid off. Today I learnt the value of persistence, when the odds are against you.