By – HG Gunaavatara Das
We would like to share some of the activities which have been going on at our rural project, Yasodapura Eco Village during the months of November and December 2017. Some agricultural activities, both at the base and in the main land, had been undertaken by the residents of Yasodapura Eco Village, and volunteers who came from different countries.
The two families who grow rice at the project invited their friends and relatives to help them for harvesting rice and about 20 people were there to help. In this village, they have a practice of working together for harvesting. One day, they will help harvest one person’s paddy field. Then the person concerned will return their helping gesture by working in their fields. This is very nice system as the work gets done faster. The harvesting in our fields also done very quickly, within just half a day, they finished everything. By the end of day, they had already husked it, extracting about 500 kg of rice. Just the previous day, other family had got about 300 kg of rice. This year the harvest had been relatively lesser than last year because of irregular rain. The harvested quantity may not be enough for the family for the year. They will have to find another way to get rice for their requirement like working as labor or selling cassava to buy rice.
We took the opportunity to harvest for performing go puja. Many farmers had gathered for the harvest, numbering about 30-40 at the farm. During day time when the farmers took a break to rest, we quickly arranged for go puja, and invited everyone to attend the short puja, circumambulate the Mother Cow, and offer bananas to her while chanting and singing Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. There was also Sister Claudia from Portugal. She had visited Siem Reap for two weeks and had become our volunteer for both the city and the village project. At the end of the go puja we distributed sweet green bean prasadam made by our devotees.
Home Gardening at the Base
As usual, our base continued to be visited by children and many people who wanted to meet us or just to ask some prasadam. However, one special development was a visit by a volunteer with whose we could organize some home gardening programs with our neighbors and some children. Sister Claudia was staying at the village for a few days to help us do gardening. Villagers find it very inspiring when they see foreigners liking to live a simple life and do some home gardening like them; and because of this admiration the villagers provided a free house for the volunteer to stay. We have only one building which is for man. Since we had a lady volunteer, we arranged for her stay at a villager’s house, nicely known by the village authority as well.
Grass Roof Making and Selling
Since we don’t give any financial support to the families living at our project, the family tries to make its living by rendering different kinds of work in farming activities, as labor, or by selling something like grass roof. We have lot of grass suitable for making roof, abundantly growing in our land. So, one of the matajis in our project makes the roof and sells it outside and thus get some money for living. Generally, 100 roofs fetch them about $15-25.
Our two cows are keeping healthy. After rice harvest they have got more open space for grazing. There is more grass and hay available for them. As usual, we all share good time together and in also taking care of them. Mostly we graze them along with other local cows, some farmer is always there to take care of them all the time even when they are let free on the field. One of the mother cows is more than 5 months pregnant. So, within few months by Krishna’s mercy we will have a calf.
In order to avoid misunderstanding about the area of our land, we decided to clear the forest and clearly demarcate our boundary towards the south of our project. Some people are taking interest in buying the land near our project. It is therefore imperative that we clearly define our boundary to them. Earlier this area was forest but now we have made a path way, about 4 meter wide while the length of the fence in this part is of about 390 meters. We heard that the present buyers of our neighboring land plan to build a road suitable for car to enter, and also it could touch our boundary land. Hopefully this would improve the accessibility of our land in the future.
Thank you very much, Hare Krishna