Heavy clouds promising rain on the area
The monsoon in this year 2012 is very weak.The sky is mostly covered with clouds, but rainfalls are very rare. All the water tanks in India are nearly completely empty. As India’s electricity is generated by water power mainlycurrent failures and longtime power cuttings of six, eight and more hours became very usual. On July 31st and 30th many states in North India had to suffer longtime current failures already. Up to last week there was nearly no rain in Mudigubba – a very difficult situation for us.
We have to save water continously and to arrange reforestation for attracting more rain long term regarded. Our perma culture project is a step to realize the vision of a nature school inmidst of forest. We took the decision to mulch the trees as first step to save water. In this area the mulching technique is not well known. Mulching is a special method used in gardens, parks and for growing up fruits and vegetables. The soil between the plants, flowers, bushes and trees will be covered with leaves, grass and other materials. The roots stay cool even in a hot climate, the soil keeps the humidity, and weeds cannot grow quickly. The wind erosion is prevented as well as the washing out of soil by heavy rainfalls. The mulch will become compost after some time. Earth worms and other micro organisms bring the mulch material into deeper soil layers and transform it into valuable food for the plants. Mulching is a most important technique in perma culture.
Project manager Horst Wagner as mulching teacher in the guesthouse
Mulching was the main topic of the Nature Day in June. Horst Wagner explained to the students in the guesthouse why mulching is necessary and meaningful. Afterwards the students took action and mulched some trees. Now they have to be watered only every fourth or fifth day. Rice husk, tamarinde skins and other materials can be used for mulching. We can save water and time...
Children mulching the tree, on the rightheadmaster Raja Sekhar
Gardener Bassava and helper Ramesh now have much more time for plantation and other activities – many hours were needed on the area for watering only.
Watering of the mulched trees
Nevertheless we have to arrange more water. Our perma culture advisor Kasi recommended to go for a well - fed by surface water only. Because of our location directly beside the water tank of Mudigubba this option might be possible. We want to arrange a test drilling to be sure that this project will be successful. More donations are needed to realize a well – the expenditures are more than 5 lakhs (500.000 INR).
In the last week it was raining several times – very useful for the plantation of the forest trees as the start of the perma culture. The silt taken from the water tank is a natural manure for the trees and was soaked through by the rain water. Students and teachers planted trees very happily. In the meantime 700 to 900 trees have already been planted, mostly at the borders of the area. The orchard was started as well with different varieties of fruit trees. Our plan is that every student should care for his/her personal tree when the complete school shifted to the new area. We think that this might be possible in October or November when the administration building has been completed. The seven rooms in this building are planned to be used as temporary class rooms in the first time as well as the guesthouse and may be also the gardener- and the watchman house.
Administration building under construction
Every day two or three classes spend the morning or afternoon on the new area and participate in all types of activities – including watering the trees. We changed the timetable for enabling the teachers to spend more time on the new ground; one teacher only will spend the complete morning together with one class. This type of timetable is as well very useful for practical activities...
Students planting forest trees
Because we need rain desperately we celebrated a rain ceremony on the Nature Day in July with all students, teachers, staff and labourers. Holy mantras were used which are said to have caused rain in desert areas already.The ceremony was mostsuccessful; while the pooja was performed the sky became very dark. After short time it was raining cats and dogs, and we had to come to an endvery fast for not getting too wet. Some students and teachers fled into the guesthouse nearby, the others rushed into the brick fabrication hall where the birthday celebration for our first main donor Herbert was designated to take place.
Rain ceremony in the medicine wheel
A holy tree is planted
Before we had planted the first holy tree – a Banyon tree donated by teacher and society president M. Saraswathi. As it is usual in India it was planted together with a Neem tree.
Afterwards the 60. birthday of Herbert, our first main donor from Germany, was celebrated in his absence. A huge birthday cake was cut into 210 pieces, and a dance performance was presented by the students. Everybody enjoyed this event while heavy rain was falling from the sky. This special moment we will never forget...
Birthday celebration in the brick fabrication hall
There is a horse on the school area since one month, his name is Raju. He is eating all the time and got some more weight within the last four weeks. Raju is a very happy horse because he can move freely on the big school area.
Raju in front of the green classroom
Later he should serve for riding exercises of the students. But first we want to give the chance to him to become accostumed here... The students are very happy about his presence and use to greet him when they come or leave.
Helga Shanti Fründt
Foreigners should give their donation to this FCRA account
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Andhra Bank, Mudigubba Branch
Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Account No: 185410100007532
Indian persons should give their donation to the
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Geetha Nagar, Mudigubba 515511
Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank
Account No. 19073080607
Introduction of the new dustbin