Archive for August, 2013

An Organic Tip

ImageAloe vera plants planted near trees control pests and improve water retention, helping the tree to grow healthier and stronger.  IIRD staff has observed numerous cases where infected Mosambi(a citrus fruit similar to Orange) trees recovered after planting aloe vera plants around them. To water deprived areas in Marathwada, this plant comes as a boon. One may want to try this before going for costly pesticides on citrus trees.

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A 96 year old Farmer

During one of my field visits, I visited one of the farms that has been organic since 20 years or so and met this 96 year old farmer. He was picking weeds like a normal adult, he had a normal stride though a little slow,his speech and hearing were normal and he seemed to have normal eye sight. His presence was very peaceful and I could see many years of life and experiences in his eyes. When I was told that he is 96 years old, I asked if he had met Mahatma Gandhi. He responded affirmatively and added that he had met Sardar Vallabhai patel too with a twinkle in his eyes. When I bid farewell, he raised his hand in a gesture to give blessings to me – it felt as if I had known him for years. I wonder how many of us would live as long and even if we manage to, how healthy would we be! Makes me believe Mother Earth keeps us healthy when we take good care of her.Image

Why Organic Milk?

The other day, I read an article in ‘The Hindu’ about dioxins in cow milk samples in Chennai. Dioxin in the cow milk is the result of cow consuming plastic waste, these are harmful to the cow as well as anyone who consumes their milk. Some studies say that dioxins are carcinogenic.

I  sometimes get annoyed when I see cows grazing on the roads and surrounding areas, they consume everything that comes their way, including plastic. I also happened to see a documentary on how big farms raise animals and how they are kept, especially about their cleanliness standards and personal spaces.  I think the balance between the two situations is an organic farm where

a)  there is a control in what is fed to the cows and

b)  they are allowed to enjoy clean personal space and freedom.

That makes me think how important it is to know the source of dairy we consume, if it comes packaged from an unknown source or if its bought from a local source.  In our busy lives where we run after deals to get the best price for the things we buy, is it really worth the savings?When some say the organic products are costly, but is that a real saving at the expense of our health and the associated expenditure? Point to ponder! And if the organic milk is bought from a local source, it isn’t even costly.Image

Water Water Everywhere!

If one happens to visit one of the villages in Marathwada and see a blue drum in front of the houses which is filled with water, I would suggest to peep in for a quality check on the water that is used by the people here. This water is being distributed in tankers and villagers use it for all their purposes. The water doesnt look safe for cleaning purposes, forget about drinking.

A dream project is to help people develop their own ways to get clean water. Right now, they have their own crude ways of water purification and it would really help if we can establish a more efficient method.

Instances of water-borne diseases like dysentry are repeatedly reported too. Neem trees grow in plenty around this area. We are exploring if there we can come up with a dicoction using neem leaves that will help prevent/cure such diseases, so that the villagers themselves can be trained to build immunity to these.

Live longer or Die Sooner?

Jeevan Aadhar is a program by IIRD for the underprivileged destitute old women where grocery and food grains are provided.The grocery is bought using the voluntary donations that come to the organisation from different parts of the world and food grains are donated by local farmers after harvest. During the two days when we visited the villages for distribution, all the recipients looked alike to me with a soft(indescribable) expression in their eyes – their expressions looked so much similar to my granny’s when I bid farewell before coming to Aurangabad. Then I wondered how I would look when I reach their age, if I do. How would I feel if I had to wait for the truck to arrive and for my turn?

One of the women from Dorkin held my hand tightly when I looked into her eyes and I managed a smile- the touch was familiar though the person was not. She smiled back and said ‘tumcha aashirwad payje'(I guess it meant ‘I need your blessings(or support??)’ ) when I asked if she was doing okay. That made me think if I had to really bless her(or if I was God), what would that be? Shall I pray that she lives longer or dies sooner and what would I pray if I was in her place? I guess we can only work to make her transition as easy as possible……. Image