As I look through the window of my bus and take a last glimpse of Haiti, my only thought is that I don’t want to leave this place. It’s not just the people that I miss, the thing I miss most is the simplicity. Having only one backpack full of stuff, eating what nature gives us, no sugar, no plastic, no luxury. Spending days with working in the nature and building futures. Spending my free time with talks, books and my diary. Going back to a civilization who has too much, who lives too fast and too loud.
How my days in Sadhana Forest looked like? It was an early start into the day every morning. At 5:45 Aure would come to wake us up to get ready for the day. The first nights were horrible due to the fact that I am not used to hard floors and we slept on very thin mats (luckily the 3rd day the groups of Rise Now 🌈 arrived and had an extra hammock for me. I don’t believe in god, but these people were sent from heaven).
The next half hour would be spent with meditation, Yoga or just sitting in silence and waiting for not only my body but also my mind to wake up. We would take our tools for plating, the amount of baby trees that we needed and leave for the town that surrounded us. It is a different world from the one you enjoy with in the boundaries of Sadhana forest. The ground is covered in trash and clothes, due to the fact that there is no recycling or trash system in Haiti and they receive many donations of clothes that no one needs mainly because they are too warm for the local climate. We follow our way to gardens or fields were people need trees and plant the saplings to rise in the next weeks, months, years to built a future. The people will water it the following days until the young trees are big enough to survive in their own. Science says that a tree in the end needs much less caring und gives much more products than other plants which is the reason why Sadhana Forest concentrates their energy on planting food producing trees.
When we come back to the camp we get together in our kitchen. We start to wash fruits with water (from on ultraviolet filter to be clean) and vinegar, because most of the volunteers are not used to the local bacteria. We prepare a big bowl with fruits and another one with oats for everyone and bring it to our living room, which is a big platform with a roof. As soon as everyone is ready someone starts with the words „hello everybody, thank you for being here“ follows with announcements and ends with the moment of silence which is initiated and ended by the sound of the chimes.
After this Aure gives everyone his duty for the second service (seva) period (first seva is the planting) which you do until lunch and than you enjoy the rest of the day with doing what you want. Going to the beach, practicing sport, visiting the town in Haiti or crossing the border to the Dominican Republic.
At that’s how you spend your days until you finish the day with dinner and go to bed soon after the sun sets as the wake up call will be at 5:45 again.
It’s an all together and caring instead of a one does less and one has to do more and suffers. The joint work makes the work itself so much easier.
My days became different after the first two days as I would spent my afternoon with Rise Now 🌈, but that’s another story.
Making this experience and living with the principals of Sadhana Forest was such an enrichment of my life, that I would never want to miss it. Their work and lifestyle are incredible, they built not just new mindsets but new futures.
THANK YOU SADHANA 🌱