Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 06 30. Tuesday.

2009 06 30. Tuesday.

This morning I went to brush my teeth and saw a very cute little gecko was in the sink. I though it would just quickly scurry away but when it tried to run up the sides of the sink it kept slipping back down. It was so cute! I gently got it onto my hand. To my surprise it just sat quietly on my hand while I lifted it up to get a closer look. It just looked back at me with its tiny black eyes. I set it down on the counter top and it scurried away. I see them on the smooth stainless steel walls of the elevator all the time, so I wonder why this one couldn't get out of the sink. Maybe the little pools of water in the bottom of the sink makes it hard for it to grip.

Wow. As I was walking toward the 7am veggie chop seva, one of the other German guys who also works that seva came to me and said "No veggies to chop today!" Cool! This gives me the whole morning until breakfast to catch up on my blog and do some documentation work on the compost project. Yay! I have a lot of blog entries to put in. This may be my last day doing the veggie chop and garbage seva cause Prabana has been putting the word out that the compost manager is a full time job and shouldn't be distracted with other seva. Will be very interesting to see how the seva managers feel about that. I'll ask them later today and give a full report.

Had a nice talk with Antara at breakfast. She shared about a bliss experience she had last night while falling asleep. I shared about some of the bliss experiences I've had over the years. I enjoyed hearing the details about her bliss experience and comparing notes with what I've experienced.

I spoke to one of the seva coordinators after breakfast. He said its official that Peter and I are now the managers of the compost project and that I no longer have to do the veggie chop and garbage sorting sevas. Cool. It will be nice to have a little more time for sadhana and enough time to properly manage the compost. Since its a new project there's a lot of little things to do to get it up and running well.

This morning when Turyanan came back from the garbage collection rounds, he shared his frustration about how at the boys student hostel they sometimes just dump their trash on the ground. This same problem happened when I was here 3 years ago. I went to the boys hostel and took some pictures of the trash pile. Then I showed them to the boy's hostel warden and said (in a gentle diplomatic way) that I think I need to show this to Amma because this problem happens all the time. That really got the attention of the hostel manager (an older Indian man). He said "I'm innocent! Please don't show this to Amma!" Which meant he doesn't want to take responsibility that he didn't train the cleaners properly. The manager is in charge of the workers who clean the hostel and dumped the trash. So I told him to please tell the cleaners to *find* some trash bins rather than just dump it on the ground. Hopefully he got the message, but knowing how things work here, he'll totally forget and not train the cleaners properly the next time. Many Indians feel its totally OK to just damp trash any place. Probably the cleaners come from a poor area and that's how they deal with trash at their homes: just dump it out in some nearby field. I see trash piles all over when I walk into the nearby town. It seems that in the majority of India there's no trash collection. Just one unavoidable aspect of a mostly very poor third world country.

My ego replayed the conversation with the manager in my mind for hours afterwards. I was thinking "I should have said this." or "I should have said that." My ego had a field day about what I could have said better to be more right and more clear. Just my usual frustrating pointless ego games.

It was cool this evening. I wore two t-shirts and my warm hat at dinner. The monsoon season (June-August) is essentially the cold season here. Not the hot summer I was expecting at all. When the weather is clear its pretty warm. But now many days its often really cold showers. Brrr!

I was right behind Dortmund at the Indian food lunch line today (he's a young Austrian guy). The young Indian paid workers, as usual, were cutting into the line all over the place. The young, poor Indians have no concept of making a proper que. They just try to cut in wherever they can. Dortmund was getting pretty frustrated seeing this. When some young Indian kid cut the line near him, he would grab their shoulder and push them to the back of the line. The Indian kids just smiled and moved to the back of the line. Dortmund is a pretty big guy. I could tell he was getting really pissed off at the Indians and I was getting uncomfortable seeing him yank the Indians toward the back of the line. I was uncomfortable because I was seeing him act out some of my own shadows. He was joking about the whole thing but it seemed he was really angry inside. I also get frustrated when I see the Indian kids cutting in, but I try to just disregard it (with only partial success). Its definitely one of my trigger points here at the ashram.

Today was Peter's last day at the compost area. We had another nice talk about the project and composting tips and tricks. He's leaving early tomorrow morning but I'll be emailing him lots of updates on the project and he'll give us directions and guidelines as the project grows. There'll be a lot more food waste when Amma's here so it will be interesting to manage the project during that time. Peter says he'll be back in 2 months or so to help set up compost training programs.

After dinner I had a short talk with one of the Indian men I know. He asked me about the compost project and how much food waste we use. I said it looks like the ashram currently generates about 1,000 pounds of food waste a day and currently feeds about 4,000 or 5,000 people a day. This man was really concerned about that much food waste and said someone needs to see how to reduce it. Later when I mentioned this conversation to Mukhunda (who manages the Indian side of the compost project), he said that in actuality the ashram is very efficient with its food and generates very little food waste. He told me about all the ways they minimize the food waste. For example, at the student's dining hall, they have ladies whose job is to watch what food the students throw away. If they catch the students throwing away food, the students have to pay a small fine. Mukhunda said some food waste is unavoidable, but Amma has given lots of very clear and strict instructions about minimizing food waste. Amma takes it very seriously.

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