I heard about this place during Jagriti Yatra and started wondering what a place like this could be.Reaching Mumbai on 8th,spending 2 days deciding to go back to Jammu or board Konkan railways to a place totally unknown to me.With a book in hand bought from GOONJ in Delhi whose 1st page said "everything that is to be learnt is to be learnt the hard way".Hard way or simple one,i simply jumped to the railway station supported by my friend Sumit Sapolia and boarded a train at 11 to an unknown place called Kudal in south Maharashtra.
Syamantak was 12 km from Kudal in Dhamapur village.With a big bag and an observing aura,I entered the konkan belt.With the beautiful breeze,bamboo grass and a lot of coconut trees on the road side,I felt a real adventure.On the directions provided,i reached Vengurla to start with event NAI TALIM and after 7 days with Syamantak family to the Home.
Now, the real adventure started. Firstly,the place was very beautiful and secondly,i had no idea what to do there.With no aim or vision, simply on my inner instinct,i had boarded the train to the place and was just going with the flow. I forgot to ask myself, what I will do there. Being no one,i preferred listening over showing my achievements and tried to understand whatever i faced. The first thing was my fear of not getting involved in the conversation by not speaking anything, it pacified. My fear of losing my career, it too. The last was the fear of falling in love with the place and working there forever. I had planned for 5 days,yet without much notice spent 2 months. Every day was a challenge, everyday a new learning.The school was based on experiential learning over learning and then going for skills.My half learnt engineering failed,i didn't feel much dissatisfied as the skills of many professional engineers failed there while trying to show off.I never felt like being in an organisation or a school but it was a home that educated the children by developing it,simple fact being 'charity begins at home'. With few workshop and mechanic’s tools, they created things of basic utilities from chair to wheel barrows.
We know that organic matter decomposes but never put much thought about it. There, with trees across the road and in the backside, they collected dry leaves to accumulate them and produced vermi-compost with the help of earthworms. They sold the product in brick form to various organic farmers for least dependency on donations. Even the human waste was utilized as the toilets were connected to a biogas plant which supplied fuel to the kitchen for food and flowed slurry to the garden next to it. The vegetable waste was furthered utilized for manure formation. The rice and dal were cooked in a solar cooker maintained by the children…..to be continued.