As the responsible citizens of the country we live in, its our duty to provide something good back to our society. Every year we used to have a community service from our company on account of that, as a noble gesture to give our share back to the community we live in. For the current year we had a very different programmme compared to the ones we had in the previous years. We decided to visit a government school and help them out to cultivate vegetables on a barren land they have procured for lease and the harvest of which will be used for the mid-day meals served to the students of the school. It was planned as a two day event scheduled for December 4th and 5th which was named “Camp Green Thumb 2015”. Most of us were doing something like this for the first time. We were so much excited about the event and started to plan for that even from the very beginning. The organizing committee members visited our prospective farmland. One of my colleague was so confident in our ability in farming that he was sure that we would complete the whole task before noon. A day or two before the camp, we purchased the tools for us to do the work and which would be donated to the school after our camp. All of us were informed to reach the starting point of our journey at 7:15 in the morning.
And finally the camp day arrived. We set out by 7:45 am and reached our destination by 8:30 am. Even at that early, there were students at school, though their regular class hour start at 9:30. The head master of the school was a very cordial and a nice person. With a small meeting, our event started. The head master, principal of the school, PTA members, a retired agricultural officer and a faculty from Rajagiri college were there for the meeting in addition to us. Since it is a government school in the interior of a village, with the limited funds available to them they try their best to become a good institution for the students to learn and develop. Also they received awards from several organizations for different programmes conducted.
By 10 am, with our anthem “We shall overcome…” we started the work. We divided ourselves into 3 teams, of which one team started to clear out the weeds in a small area which is already being cultivated. A day or two before our camp, we arranged a JCB to plough the land since its too barren and hence there were small rocks in the ploughed land so that our second team started to remove those rocks off the field. The third team started to dig holes to plant the plantain trees. The agricultural officer guided us and cleared our doubts in the cultivation. Then we started to plant the tapioca. By noon our work was almost over on planting the vegetables on the farmland and then we went to a stream nearby.
The organization committee of our company had arranged food for us. After lunch we spend some time together with the beautiful songs sung by our nightingales. We came back to the school after a while and started to make the grow bag. Our goal was to make 100 grow bags altogether in which the saplings of brinjal, tomato, ladies finger, chili are to be planted. During morning meeting we had, the agricultural officer had given us a detailed lecture on filling the grow bags. For the grow bags we have to mix soil, coconut husk and fertilizer in the ratio 5:1:1 and add some quantity of pseudomonas to save the plants from insects. The mixing was quite a hard task and most of us had to take our turns to mix it up well to the consistency required. Then we have filled the mixture in the grow bags and planted the saplings which will be taken care by the students of the school from thereafter.
The people staying near to the school were very co-operative and kind to us. They ensured that we get enough water to keep ourselves from getting dehydrated in the intensity of the sun. They prepared a very tasty mixture of curd water with some spices for us in between and have cooked tapioca and chutney for us in the evening. By 6 we have finished with the task which we have undertaken for the day. After getting fresh, we started with our entertainment programmes. After the DJ, we tried our hands at cooking grilled paneer and grilled chicken. Since our camping was at the school itself, we had to cope up with the limited facilities available there which was not very hard. We used the wash rooms of the school and we slept on floor of the staff rooms. But it did not seem as a big problem to any of us.
On the next day morning, after spending some time there, we left from the school with a hand full of experience and a mind full of satisfaction. It was an awesome experience to work on the farm. We understood that its not an easy task to do the farming and we should really appreciate the effort of the farmers who spend their days in the sun and rain to cultivate the food for us. A big cheers to them!!!