Yesterday was an amazing day filled with new experiences; an Indian Pottery class in the morning and a really tasty meatless sausage vegan dinner and visit to Sadhana Forest. My first pottery class at a local clay studio and learned more from my teacher yesterday than I did from my classes in the US. My teacher was wonderful and explained my mistakes thoroughly. I was able to center my clay after my first throw in a couple seconds. I impressed myself. I should preface that I don’t have a lot of experience at wheel throwing and I am really horrible at pulling handles. She was so patient and every time I completed a piece she asked if I wanted it or wanted to reuse it. I reused two pieces just to learn where my mistakes were being made – how I was unevenly applying pressure, or where there were bubbles that I should have worked out of the clay prior to throwing etc… I will continue my classes with her every week while I am here.
After class I did a boatload of laundry and then got ready to leave for Sadhana Forest. Sadhana Forest is a re-forestation project that was started about 10 years ago near where I live in a really dry arid area of India. A couple from France Yorit and Aviram Rozin had a vision and put it into action. They began creating a vibrant indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) on a 70-acre plot of land and waistland reclamation through financial gifts, donations and a volunteer program. Their philosophies encompasses the same beliefs as Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (the creators of Auroville) along with human unity, veganism and hiMsA (a sanskrit word that means no harmful act of killing, hurting, slaying, injury, mischief to animals and or humans), no competition – if they play games they change them to not include competition, unschooling for children – the children teach themselves on the land and decide when or if they are ready to attend a traditional school when they can make their own decisions, the volunteers and creators live in a gift economy – if someone needs something and you have it you can share it or give it to the person to help them out, they re-use EVERYTHING they purchase and don’t throw anything away. Sadhana Forest won the third place in the Humanitarian Water and Food Award (WAF) 2010. Their volunteer base fluctuates from 30 to 40 in the summer and 100 + in the winter. They use human waist for composting in growing their forests and gardens – this was very interesting to me. They began the same projects recently in Haiti, Kenya and another area of India on an Island. Their children, the children of the volunteers, and many that visit annually partake in their child development area where they teach on a small-scale re-forestation, water conservation, gardening and sustainability. The visit to SF included watching many films including The Witness. I believe everyone should watch this film once. It is a heart wrenching film with amazing depth. It is a powerful story of a non-animal lover transformed into one. It is not for the faint heart some animal cruelty is shown – I had to close my eyes for a many parts. After the film festival, a tour of the land, forest and facilities we all shared (including the volunteers and cooks) an amazing vegan dinner in their main hut. We took the bus back to Auroville and drove home on our TVS’s. See the pictures below.
Today I relaxed with my new fried Kate poolside for the afternoon at a local resort called Mango Hill and then I ran errands. I tried to change my return home departure date so I leave Kathmandu on the 25th instead of the 29th. This is still in process. I brought some pants (that I recently bought at a market) to a local seamstress to see if he could fix some rips that occurred while I was working in them at school last week. One of the rips became so large I had to take the TVS home to change pants during morning break. I will pick up the newly repaired pants on Monday.
Kate on the bus to Sadhana Forest
Shoes outside the hut
Going into the main hut
Jamey giving us the presentation in the hut
A cactus garden
How to wash your dishes at SF
1. Rinse your plate in the first container
2. Scrub your plate with ashes and coconut husk
3. Dip your plate in the next three containers
4. Put in drying rack
Live in huts
Forest planting area
Forest regrowth area with stone signs telling you what kind of tree it is.
Hand washing station. You fill up the little cup on top of the water container,
dump it into the cup on the post which has a hole in the bottom of it
and use the organic soap to wash and rinse your hands in the stream that comes out of the cup hole.
The pee catcher in the toilet composting area
The #2 catcher in the toilet area – they provide you with a plastic chair if you want one or you just take the top off and squat.
MANGO HILL POOL SERIES with Kate