Thursday, 15 March 2012

Young MacDonald

One would say it is a rare occurrence for a group of sixteen individuals of nine different nationalities to descend upon fertile land in rural India fully equipped with farming tools. But when you throw EduCARE India into the equation, it isn’t a rare occurrence at all – in fact, it’s quite common! So for this week’s Wednesday activity, it was a spot of organic farming in Sotla, headed up by none other than French volunteer Camille Fonteny (Organic Farming Manager), EduCARE’s very own version of ‘Old MacDonald’!


The aim of the activity was to overturn soil and clear weeds from a patch 20 metres long by 10 metres wide – a highly labour-intensive task. There’s no doubt that the land felt the full wrath of the volunteers’ shovels, which actually resembled axes in the way that they coming down over the shoulders of the make-shift farmers. Nevertheless, it was working. Camille set the standard as he swiftly overturned about a square foot of soil every couple of seconds…bare feet! The fellow volunteers followed suit and soon enough, each of them found their niche in the activity; whether it was overturning soil, clearing the uprooted weeds…or just standing with hands on hips pretending to look busy while enjoying the distant background Bollywood music!

To replenish subsiding energy levels, the volunteers pounced on the opportunity to gobble some freshly cooked boiled vegetables and rice (French-style) for lunch prepared by EduCARE’s Clemence Joris. While savouring the taste of the magnificent meal, the weekly meeting took place in which key issues were raised – this is always an important aspect of the Wednesday activity as it allows every volunteer to communicate new ideas as well as raise concerns. To conclude this meeting, kind words were shared about each of the volunteers that would be parting company with EduCARE in the coming week, namely Ryusuke Takeda, Rina Worumi and Everd Daniel (a big thanks to all on behalf of EduCARE volunteers!).


video
Camille on our activity and the next step for our Organic Farm
Ultimately, it was time to get back to the patch for another round of digging and weeding. To make the long walk to the patch less painful, a shuttle service was operated by one of the volunteers on an antique 1950s bicycle (of which the front tyre blew out later in the day). This appeared to be the lift that was much needed (excuse the pun) as the volunteers made light work of the remaining unturned soil. All in all, the effort that the volunteers put in today should pay dividends once the organic seeds have been planted. The goal is to use this new vegetation patch as a pathway to promote organic farming with the local community and to educate locals of the pros to this method of farming. A job well done, I say!

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