Recently, my supervisor in the garden, Suprya, received word that several local farmers were dumping their cow dung in the village backwaters (which also happens to be the place where the ashram and the villagers get their water from. ) We were currently in the process of replanting most of the tulasi that had just been decimated by a black bug invasion, and since the replanting process required lots of dung, she decided to kill two birds with one stone by sending groups of us gardeners out into the town to gather cow dung from the more than willing farmers to bring back and use in the garden.
The whole process took a couple weeks. Although I’m sure many people would balk at the idea of spending hours a day digging up cow manure and transporting it, it was rewarding knowing we were indirectly cleaning the village’s water source. Everyone I worked with had fantastic attitudes, so going on “dung runs” actually ended up being a lot of fun. Just look at our happy faces in the picture below!
As you can see in the next picture, often times the dung heaps had partially composted before we got to them, so it wasn’t AS smelly of a mess as you might expect.
We found more than our fair share of creepy bugs crawling among the dug heaps we dug through.
I even pretended to eat one.
All in all, the experience was enriching, both for the soil in the garden and for the relationships between me, my coworkers, and the townspeople.