Every morning we would wake up at five in the morning, have breakfast which consisted of long life milk and cornflakes, and then make our way to the fields for our 6.00am start. We worked hard in the Queensland sun, and I wore minimal clothing so I could get the most tanned I have ever been in my life.
The problem with this was that between the chronic sunburn and the chemicals on the strawberries, my skin dried up, became flaky, and then shed like a snake.
There were travellers from all over the world picking strawberries. How it worked was that we had these carts that we sat on and wheeled around so we could get lower to the ground. We filled these carts with trays that you would pack full of strawberries. On the first day I ate about one thousand strawberries, and when I closed my eyes that night all I saw was the close up image of a strawberry.
When you filled your cart up what you would do is take them to a truck at the top of the hill and then start again. Now this took a bit of time to do, and we were getting paid by weight not by time, so the idea was to fill your cart a full as possible so you didn't waste time.
There was this risk attached to filling your cart as much as possible, it was that you might drop your strawberries everywhere. One time I dropped about two hours worth of strawberries into a muddy puddle, ruining the strawberries.
That is how it was, day by day, living in the car, waking at five am, eating strawberries and cake, watching the horses jump at night. We were just putting in the time to get the money, nothing really special happened there.
Maybe every now and then we would see a snake...
One day, I saw this cart tearing down the hill, "look at that cart!" I laughed to my mate Graeme. As the cart tore down the hill out of control it went off a cliff, and smashed into the ground below. What happened then made me feel sad, I saw this German girl running toward to cart. Just as I saw her I also saw about ten thousand strawberries explode out of the cart, and into the dust and mud. We all ran to help her but there was nothing we could do.
The strawberries were all ruined, and there were many strawberries because she had been saving them up all day. Some people said things like "sorry" or "maybe we could clean them", but everyone knew they were long gone... So we all just stood there feeling a little bit bad...
But then, this Asian guy whose name was Cheesecake (we called him that because his name sounded like the word cheesecake) picked up one of his trays of strawberries, and gave them to the girl, who had by this stage begun to cry. "I want you to have these" he said. Seeing this a few others began to take a tray to the girl, one after the other.
Then it went viral, everybody was taking a tray of strawberries to the German girl. She was still crying, but it was different crying now. By this stage she had more strawberries than what she started with.
Everyone, actually, felt as though they had more strawberries that day.
Jared Diprose is a graduate from Carey Baptist College in New Zealand. He is a self-employed carver and craftsman, you can view some of his work at www.jareddiprose.co.nz. He speaks when invited, writes when he can, and believes in the power of words to shape lives
Jared Diprose' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jared-diprose.html