On one of our pilgrimages, the last stop was at the Centre for Ecozoic Living and Learning. As the name goes, it is the place where I have learned many things about the natural way of living. While the guide was giving us a tour and explaining things, the first thing that came into my mind was that we have been too much used to technology and a high lifestyle that we forget the natural way of things.
As there were many of us on the tour, we were divided into two groups. Our guide showed us the different zones of the area. I have learned many things but these are the ones that have really been retained in my mind:
- The worms, when they poo, can help fertilize the soil. When the guy picked up the worm, the general reaction was that of repulsion bu he said that we should not be afraid of worms because they are harmless. I think we all knew that but because we grew up reacting to worms with repulsion, we didn’t t even want to look at it. The colour of the worm turned blue when the guide handled it – he said that meant it was afraid. The feeling was mutual.
- Our guide said that snakes were not dangerous. What he said was interesting – I believe that snakes are dangerous and just the thought of seeing one makes me shudder. I have only seen one at the zoo. It will take me some time to understand that, as the man said, snakes are really harmless.
- One other reason to raise chickens was to fertilize the soil. They purposely put some chickens in a big cage and placed that on a plot of land. The man said that when the chickens scratched the soil, their manure on the ground would mix in and so fertilize the soil. It never entered my mind that when chickens scratched the ground they would help fertilize the soil. Now I know that chickens are more than just food.
- Our guide brought us to the garden. It was full of vegetables and medicinal plants. Some of these plants were actually grasses but they were so useful. He told us what certain sicknesses could be healed by each plant. As I listened, I remembered all the sisters who were diabetic, had high blood pressure, were anaemic or arthritic – all the sicknesses that occur when we get older.
- While in the garden I saw native cucumber and all the other wild things that could be eaten. The guide just picked them and ate them raw, while explaining what good we could get from them. And he let us taste them also. When I was back at the convent and saw some native cucumber, I picked some and enjoyed the astonishment of Chona who expressed surprise that I had eaten such a thing!
This was a trip that I certainly enjoyed and learned much. For such a place, we learned how to live with nature, to just be natural and return to the basic way of life.