We had breakfast at 7.30am. At 8.30am, we gathered in the tipi where Mariana conducted the theory class on building a cob wall using wattle and daub technique. The cob mixture comprises of 4 buckets of clayey soil, 2 buckets of sand, mixed with water and straw.

We would be building a cob wall for one of the structures on the camp. Maddy took over to guide us in the practical part. The fun was working on the cob mixture with our feet until it has an even consistency. Having fun with mud!

The structure was already pre-built – 4 bamboo poles with concrete foundation. A bamboo wall was built by weaving it in and out. Our job today was to smear the mud onto this bamboo wall. We worked meticulously from the bottom up, making sure that there were no gaps in the wall. It took 5 hours for five of us to complete the cob wall. We were tired but very happy with the finished product. A great sense of achievement!

As part of the tradition in the camp, we all expressed our gratitude before dinner. It was our last night in the camp. The sharing by each of the volunteers were raw with emotions and very heartfelt. I could feel it in the air. I felt a sense of camaraderie with these people even though I’ve only known them for 8 days. We’ve had lots of fun and laughter. With Sachinn being the joker of the group, he was constantly making jokes and teasing people. He taught me some Punjabi words which would help me warn potential bullies by saying “get lost or go away”. I’ve also learnt some Hindi and Nepali words from them. Each night Sachinn would share some homemade Indian sweets with us all. The ladoo was popular with everyone. So yummy!

Dinner tonight was mashed potatoes and beetroot sausages cooked by Maddy and her team. It was delicious! Maddy’s a great cook. After dinner, we sat around the fireplace inside the tipi and had great time chatting and exchanging stories.

Conversation with Ms Mariana

It was a conversation I would not forget. It was the last class and second last day of my time in the Takure village. We were seated on the ground across Ms Mariana in the tipi. We were shivering with cold (it was 8-9 degrees Celcius) despite being covered in blankets.

I asked her a question that has been lingering on my mind for a long time. Something along the lines of “How do you find a balance between finding a job that pays the bills and is also meaningful?”

She motioned to her head and heart, and said “your body, mind and soul needs to find an alignment. Is your soul happy?”. A friend once said something similar, asking me to “align my stars”. Mariana shared that she spent many years feeling angry at the systems. But she decided one day to stop fighting the system and become part of the solution instead, studying at the Auroville Earth Institute. It was a very unconventional choice for a civil engineer. After she obtained her certification, the earthquake happened in Nepal and she volunteered to help the community rebuild, courageously travelling all the way from Mexico. That was how she ended up with Conscious Impact. She says that of course she doesn’t earn as much now as she used to, but she feels happy and contented in the current environment.

Would you rather spend your time and energy fighting and feeling drained or be in an environment that feels right? When you do what feels right to you, it draws people of the same values to you. Just like how Conscious Impact attracts people (all over the world) who believe in the same values.

I’m glad to have helped in a small way to make a difference to the community at Takure. Although this is a slow process, it is like a stone being dropped into the ocean. The ripples spreads out gradually, with each ripple slowly but surely delivering a conscious impact to the lives of the people around them.

“Be the change that you seek.”

– Mahatma Gandhi


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