My name is Wiebke, I am German and I currently volunteer for www.the-glass-half-full.org, an initiative of InteGreater Foundation. After having spent some 3 weeks in Auroville to research local best practices in rural development, we figured that such a time span would not do any justice to what’s going on here. So, I returned and decided to dive in even deeper: not just with interviews but some hands on volunteering as well.
During my first visit, I met B from International House, one of the lesser number of residents who live here for over 30 years. B is an amazing fountain of knowledge, experience and wisdom, always prepared to share a good story or two, never in a hurry. He invited me to stay at the campus of International House upon my return – et voila, here I am. I arrived after a sleepless overnight bus ride from Bangalore on Monday morning and immediately felt like back home. The sounds of nature after a hectic day in Bangalore – birds singing, the frogs croaking and… oh there is puppies… Hmm, I’m allergic but they’re so cute (see last blog entry)!!! Anyways, B (kindness in person), yummy fresh organic food and the sound of nature continued to be my companions for the day and everything flowed. By lunchtime, I had visited a Korean artist who makes the most gorgeous accessories from waste material like old cassettes, I was registered with residential services, had a pass to Matrimandir (yeah!!!!) and agreed with Manu which volunteering activities at International House I could participate in. I went for the gardening and next morning we started.
Getting up at 6 am was easy. It’s still nice and fresh outside, best time of the day really and Sunder had promised tea before we start. He showed me how to make it with our own fresh lemon grass, tulsi (holy basil), cinnamon and Hibiscus flowers. With a little dash of lemon – magically – the tea turned red, just like the color of the Hibiscus flowers. Yumm!!!
After that, it was off to work. Real work. Sunder had already prepared new garden beds that needed compost to improve the soil. For a couple of days now, we covered the beds, created more plots, turned the soil and took out the weed.
It’s hard work but there is nothing better to quieten the mind and strengthen the body. When you see how there’s actually stuff growing that you can put in your mouth without having to worry where it comes from and what pesticides have been used on it – it just feels good. And knowing how much work everything is, how much sweat goes into each little tomato, each sprout of spinach, each stem of lemon grass – you suddenly don’t just consume it. You savor the food that’s been grown and looked after and harvested. You appreciate the time and effort gone into it and… you go slow 🙂
So, check out what you eat, enjoy it and if you don’t – maybe, it’s time for your own kitchen garden??