STAYING ON THE FARM – A QUICK GUIDE
1. Welcome! We invite you to stay in Buddha Garden as part of our learning community. To participate in all our farm activities as an experiential learning process. The people who come to stay in Buddha Garden come from all over the world. They come for varying lengths of time from a few weeks up to a year or more. Some stay in Buddha Garden, others stay elsewhere and come in on a daily basis. We aim to offer an inspirational integrated work and living experience. We hope that you will join us.
PLEASE NOTE; if you are coming with a Tourist Visa for a short time it is officially illegal for you to do any sort of work whether paid or voluntary. It is possible, however, for you to join in activities that provide ‘experience’ or ‘discovery’ and to go on ‘tours’ or ‘guided visits’. This is what we have for you in Buddha Garden. You can participate in and experience all the food growing activities that we have here. While at the same time becoming part of our learning community to discover more about yourself and about Auroville. If you are asked by anyone official about what you are doing in Buddha Garden please describe your activities in this way.
If you would like to become an official volunteer you will need to be able to stay in Auroville for three months or longer. Contact SAVI, the Auroville Volunteer service, who will guide you through the process of obtaining the proper Entry Visa and registering for appropriate volunteer activities. Website www.auroville-learning.net . Or write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Financial contributions; Buddha Garden is not a guest house. If you decide to participate you will be joining us as a part of our learning community. You will participate in both the activities and the financial contribution that we all make for being here. For however long you stay, you will be one of our community members. The financial contribution to the farm is Rs250/person/day for the first month, Rs200/person/day for the second month and Rs150/person/day thereafter.
This payment includes:
- your contribution to Auroville
- communal breakfast Monday to Friday (this is simple Indian food)
- unlimited access to the internet
- use of the communal kitchen – in the evenings volunteers sometimes like to organize a communal meal. So ask around the other volunteers and see what they would like to do.
- Registration; it is extremely important that you register yourself as staying in Auroville as soon as possible after you arrive. Otherwise we get in trouble with the Government authorities. You will first need to speak to Rajan. He will give you the necessary forms and explain the registration process. Then you will go to the Farm Group office to register and to the Town Hall to pay and get an Aurocard.
- Farm activities; take place every morning from 6.15 – 9.00am Monday to Friday. We ask that you come to this with an open heart and mind, willing to do whatever needs doing with love and care. Don’t worry if you have never done this sort of thing before. We all started off knowing nothing. Since most of the jobs are quite simple you will soon learn how to do them. Indeed, if you stay more than a few weeks you will almost certainly end up showing other new people what to do!
We arrange extra sessions when we are busy. These usually happen 4.00 – 5.30pm and you will told when they are necessary.
5. Extra support for farm helpers; this is only available for long term volunteers. Which means that you are registered with SAVI (see above) and if you are a foreigner, are coming to India with an Entry Visa. In addition you will have to commit to staying in Buddha Garden for at least six months and be doing all your 25 hours of volunteer service in Buddha Garden. There is a three month experimental period during which time you stay as a ordinary paying guest. During that time there is a process by which we both ensure that we are happy with each other and that the arrangement will work for both of us. If you are interested in this option please contact Priya through this website for more details.
- Accommodation is in:
- The dormitory; we have a dormitory behind the communal kitchen.
- Three cabins; each of which takes two people
- The cottage; which has its own bath room and solar energy system. Four people can stay here in one large room.
- Things you should bring include:
- A small lock for your door. A number lock is good especially if there are two of you.
- A torch: this is really essential and is your best defence against snakes when you go out in the dark.
- A hat for wearing while working in the garden.
- Gardening gloves; many people find these useful. While we do have some available they tend to wear out rather quickly. If you can leave yours behind for others, or maybe bring an extra pair, that would be very helpful. Please make sure you don’t bring fur lined gardening gloves though – they are far too hot to use in this climate.
If you bring your laptop or other electronic equipment please note that you are totally responsible for its safety. Please note also that we run entirely on solar energy. So we have to conserve our electrical energy carefully. Especially during the monsoon when skies can be dark and grey.
Please charge all your electronic equipment during the day.
We do not have a fridge in the kitchen. If you bring medication that needs to refrigeration please let us know. Then we can make arrangements to keep it elsewhere.