Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Garden of Peace

I am staying at the Gandhi-King-Mandela Farm (also known as the Garden of Peace) which is an intentional community in rural India. The founder is also one of the founding members of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, so there is a nice link there. Conditions are .... basic. They are in the process of putting the roof on the toilet block and we are in negotiations about getting some toilet paper for us westerners. I share a tent made of banana leaves with a lovely girl from Sweden called Lotta and as I write this I am recovering from a common complaint here - the collapse of my stretcher. Internet access is non-existant, (except via a half hour jeep ride into the nearest town, Vellore) and telephone communication requires a half hour stroll in to the village. This "log" will be contributed to the blogsite when I return to civilisation!! The picture attached is of the "Buddha Smiles School" on the farm we are staying. This is the building where we are conducting the assessment and training, and behind it are our tents. Some of the poor village children visit the farm and eat with us. It's their holidays at the moment, but they are here to practise for an upcoming concert. We have decided to plant trees here as part of our gift back to the community that is looking after us.

The people are lovely here and it's really great to meet likeminded people struggling with a similar urge to make a difference - one guy, Jose, probably articulated the feelings of many of us here: "Finally I am not the black sheep".

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