Caroline and I stayed a few days with Sadhana Forest, a reforestation project here in Ansapit. I stayed with them for a whole month when I was first setting up Project Rive, and it was nice to return for a little bit. A lot of times the things you’re doing on a computer don’t really seem tangible – I spent three hours in an Internet cafe updating drivers on someone’s laptop today, and while the fact that the machine’s working is cause enough for celebration it would be nice if all of that effort were more visible. In the end, this is just a box with lights and buttons, and when I don’t like the way the lights look I press more buttons…but seeds, and water, and dirt are all a little easier to work with (even as you learn that those too have their own rules).
Another cool thing about Sadhana Forest is the food: everything’s completely natural, vegan, non-processed, etc…we buy vegetables, fruit, beans, grains from the market and mix them all up with spices for every meal. After a month staying there, I really noticed the difference between what I ate there and what I started to put into my body once I went home (I still totally ate it though).
Not everything’s so easy to adapt to. I spared you shots of the compost toilets, but here’s one of the hand-washing stations. You just pour water from the bucket into the cup on the left, and it trickles out a hole in the bottom. It’s perfectly sanitary, but I can see how someone who’s a germ freak could have a hard time using a system they’re not used to. That’s the thing about cleanliness – everyone’s got their own way of doing it, and if you don’t do it their way it’s totally unacceptable. Changing people’s behavior, or even just making them more aware of it, can be really hard.
See, that’s one of the real goals of Sadhana – to exhibit what they call conscious living, to act as an example. Sometimes, when we’re lugging buckets of water past cactus, I pause a moment and think, “Wait, I’m watering trees in the desert. This is kind of pointless.” But you’ve gotta remind yourself that it wasn’t always a desert, and that other people are going to see you and start doing it themselves…