FSL-India organized a work camp from 9th-19th November 2017 at our Centre for Experiential Living, Kundapur. The theme of the work camp was ‘Sustainable Agriculture, Yoga, Culture & Kids’. During the first week of the camp, there was a warm, Indian welcoming ceremony with our field staff from the Centre.
The Centre offers programs that promote field based, sustainable agriculture and experiential living, non-formal education and community stay. The aim of the camp was to participate in agricultural activities, experiential learning methods and create awareness on the sea turtles to conserve these spectacular creatures. A single volunteer – Nikolina from Canada, participated in this camp.
Dinesh, FSL-India’s Work Camp team leader explained about the project and schedule to Nikolina.
She worked on a model for a sustainable kitchen garden at CEL, planted teak wood and amla plants in the local community and rural police station under the ‘Tree for India’ program by FSL- India’s CEL.
She also participated in mural painting at Gangoli harbour, visited an organic farm, went on a Kundapur town tour, celebrated ‘Children’s Day’ at the Tent School, Baikady, and participated in educational drawing and a session on Environmental Education at Neralakatte school.
Another volunteering aspect of spending time abroad is getting to know a new culture, learning about its traditions, foods, songs, and finally being able to feel comfortable in your new home. FSL-India organized some cultural aspects every day. In the mornings, the volunteers use to practice Yoga at outdoor classes at the Centre, with an expert. “Yoga means ‘union,’ and when it’s practiced outdoors it seems like the union with nature, humanity, and the universe is truly felt,” says Mr.Vivek, a Vedic Yoga teacher, Kundapur.
During the first week of the camp, the volunteer worked on kitchen garden maintenance and different skilled activities. At Gangoli harbor, she spent 3 whole days for Sea Turtle awareness, mural painting to educate the fishermen about the Sea Turtle’s lifestyle, advantages, their threats, importance and FSL-India’s contacts with local Forest Department. At Neralakatte Govt. Primary School, she conducted a session on Environment Education and did a Canada country presentation, with many Play for Peace activities. So, totally 26 children, 4 school staff, 3 kitchen helpers and 8 SCDMC members benefited from this program.
Nikolina also visited a cashew factory to know about cashew-nut processing, a tile factory to learn about the production of tiles and had an interesting interaction with the workers. Next, she participated in fruit plant maintenance activities by weeding and composting the plants, prepared compost, visited Namma Bhoomi eco-village charitable trust, conducted a puzzle contest and a country presentation of Canada and Italy. After that, she conducted a quiz for the kids and distributed prizes. While teaching about waste management to the children, they were curious to learn about the interesting facts on zero waste system and nature.
Some cultural activities were organized – she visited Sowkoor Temple and Kundeshwara temple, Hanuman statue and visited an Indian Muslim family with a local Intern, Rubiya. She taught Nikolina how to wear a saree, applied henna and explained about the Muslim lifestyle. Finally, they had dinner on traditional banana leaves with the family members. During the Bollywood movie night, she learned about Indian cinema.
The volunteer enjoyed having this hands-on experience and the interaction with the schoolchildren. At the end of the camp, she enjoyed the work and understood about different cultures. She gave very good feedback to the HBP Team and the other staff of CEL.
On behalf of FSL-India, the team thanked the volunteer for her excellent contribution.