YDP-B members went to Ballenahalli, a small tribal village near Hunsur, Mysore on the 4th and 5th of June, 2016 for our first weekend work camp.
After weeks of planning, we finally hopped on a train at 5 am and we were off to Mysore. We reached Mysore at around 8:30 and caught a bus to Hunsur. At Hunsur, Manjunath B from FSL-India picked us up.
Our first visit was to the Hunsur Forest Department. There, we got a glimpse into the working of a State Government body. We had gone to the department to get some saplings from their nursery for our planting activity that we would do in Ballenahalli. We finally managed to get 45 saplings to plant. Some were shade tress like Ashoka, some were fruit plants like Cashew and Gooseberry and medicinal plants like Neem.
We planted 2 saplings at the Forest Department and then headed towards the Police Station.
At the Hunsur Police Station, we met the IPS officer, Mr. Harish Pandey and other policemen who helped us in planting a sapling in the station compound.
After a delicious lunch, we were on our way to Ballenahalli. At the village, the villagers
were very happy to meet us. The children showed us around the village and a few villagers invited us to their houses. We received a very warm welcome. We were as excited to be there as they were to have us.
Soon, we started digging the ground for planting the saplings. Once we began our work, it started to rain! The weather was incredible and the rain only added to the fun we were having.
Once we were half way through the digging process, we took a break before we had to start cooking our dinner.
For dinner, we had to buy the ingredients, make a fire with firewood, cut vegetables and then cook with the limited utensils for around 15-20 people. Thanks to the amazing campers who doubled as gourmet chefs, we managed to make a delicious meal of fried rice, dal and chicken.
Once we were done with our dinner, we sat around a camp fire and sang songs with the villagers. We had a lot of fun and weren’t ready to head to bed although we were all exhausted. The next morning, we headed out at 5:30 am for a morning walk to a nearby lotus pond.
We prepared a healthy breakfast of Poha and tea before heading out to work again. By the afternoon, we were done with planting 45 saplings in the village with the help of the villagers.
We were very grateful for their help and hope the sapling bear the fruits of our hard work. After lunch, we headed to the Tibetan Settlement that is close to the village. The settlement is a small and very beautiful locality that exists quite literally in the middle of nowhere. After a tour of the monastery, we headed out to drink a cup of tea in a quaint Tibetan Cafe.
This concluded our 2 day work camp at Ballenahalli. All of us had loads of fun and we look forward to conducting another camp in the next few months with a lot more diverse activities. Next time, we hope to see you there! 😀