‘Across the Borders, Under the Mango Tree’

‘Across the Borders, Under the Mango Tree’

Everybody loves a little adventure in their lives. Some people take a weekend trip a few hours away, others take a week long holiday to a nice tropical destination. Jenny and Lisa, 2 volunteers from Germany, took a chance to participate in a work camp program in India, for 2 weeks – from the classroom to the Arabian Sea, Kundapura.

indian wel2 low FSL-India organized a work camp from 5th – 18th June 2017. at the Centre for Experiential Living- Kundapura. The theme of the work camp was Sustainable Agriculture, Yoga, Culture and Kids.

The Centre provides a field based, sustainable agriculture and experiential living, non-formal education learning community stay, situated 8 km away from the town of Kundapura, beside the Arabian Sea, in the central Western Ghats of southern India. With the pouring rains at the beginning of the monsoon, anyone who visits this place during this time of the year, will feel heavenly and the greenery is one more reason that FSL-CEL is in the limelight.

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During the first week of the camp, there was a warm Indian welcoming ceremony with the Field Staff from the Centre. The volunteers were introduced to agricultural activities and experiential learning methods. They renovated trenches at the Centre using the rain water harvesting method, bamboo plants, visited an organic farm, went on a Kundapura town tour, and also participated in painting and educational drawing at the local school.

Another objective of the volunteers for spending time abroad is to get to know a new culture, learn about its traditions, foods, songs, and finally, being able to feel comfortable in their new home. FSL-India organized cultural activities to expose the volunteers to the cultural aspect of living in India.

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Yoga classes were conducted outdoors by an expert and the volunteers used to practice Yoga every morning.  Yoga adds a different dimension to one’s life and helps to be one with nature. “Yoga’ means ‘union,’ and when it is practiced outdoors, it seems like the union with nature, humanity, and the universe is truly felt,” says Mr.Vivek, a Vedic Yoga teacher from Kundapura, who conducted outdoor classes under the mango trees, at the Centre.

During the first week of the camp, the volunteers participated in garden maintenance and different skilled activities. Sowkar Gov. Primary School with totally 40 children, 2 school staff, 1 kitchen helper and 4 SCDMC members took the initiative in this program.

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The volunteers visited a cashew factory to learn about cashew nut processing and had interaction with the workers. They also participated in fruit plant maintenance activities by weeding and composting to the plants, compost preparation and biomass collection. They visited Namma Bhoomi Eco-village Charitable Trust, conducted paper craft work in the school by making paper bags and taught waste management to the children. The volunteers were curious to learn the interesting facts on zero waste system and Nature. They had exposure to Bollywood movie nights to get to know about Indian cinema.

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The volunteers also visited Koteshwara Kotilingeswara temple, Koteshwara Lake, Hanuman statue as well as an Indian family. They enjoyed having hands-on experience and interaction with the schoolchildren.  FSL-India received very good feedback from the School Committee and Staff. They enjoyed the work and understood about the different cultures and also appreciated the effort and contribution of the volunteers. On behalf of FSL-India, the coordinator thanked all the volunteers for their great contribution.

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