Life on a Malaysian Farm...
I`ve just been thinking about how I imagined life on a Hari Kryshna farm in Malaysia would be like when I was contemplating coming here a few weeks ago. Everything is more or less how I imagined it except for one thing. I imagined there would be guys with shaven heads and orange robes here. In fact, the last time I saw those were at the railway station in Bangkok about a week ago. All that may change though as I head off out to work on other Iskcon projects throughout Malaysia later in my stay. Here on the farm, most of the farm workers are just normal guys with the exception of the farm manager and the chef who have shaven heads and the tell tail little pony tail at the back of the head. There is small temple on the grounds of the farm but I havn`t yet managed to get up early enough to check it out. I believe meditation sessions would take place there at sunrise.
There is however a very large and interesting library here in our volunteers bungalow with the majority of books being about Kryshna. How to chant the mantra, the history of the movement and its rise in popularity in the West and even transcriptions of the interviews and talks between George Harrison, John Lennon and Srila Prabhupada who brought the chanting of Hari Krishna from India to the Western world in the 1960`s.
It`s early days yet but I`m just taking each day as it comes. One day I`ll work for two or three hours on the farm and the next I`ll spend most of the day either filming, editing or writing.
Since arriving here I`ve helped protect the star fruit by placing bags around them on the trees, pick star fruit, prune star fruit trees and paint numbers on rubber paving slabs to stick under the trees for identification. The other volunteers spend more time doing the physical work than I do because of my filming but even they only work for around 4 or 5 hours a day because of the sweltering heat.
The wildlife here, being a tropical climate, is amazing. I`ve seen a 6" praying mantis, brightly coloured toads and Lizards of all sizes galore. And I love to wake up each morning to the calming chatter of all manor of exotic wildlife.
There`s plenty of food here, all vegetarian of course and usually flavoured with Asian spices and we can join the farm workers to eat in the canteen three times a day. Today, Thursday, I had a taste of sugar cane, straight from the plant whilst working near the sugar cane plantation. You just chew it, swallow the juice and spit the rest out. Very nice and refreshing and not as sweet as I imagined. I`ve also had fresh raw star fruit and guava fruit on occasion these last few days.
In the evenings at our bugalow I sometimes read a book, get on with my editing or writing or join the other volunteers for a chat, a game of cards or watch a video.
The only problem here is the internet. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn`t. And when it does it only stays on for about 10 minutes and is just not strong enough to access my website management pages, let alone the video sites I need, like you tube, for uploading. I can sometimes get into facebook but even that is often difficult. I`m hoping to get into a major town sometime soon for a few hours to find a connection to allow me to upload my videos and bring the website up to date.