The Monastery Project
In the middle part of Kerala we were on our way through the mountains, reaching close to 1000 meters in altitude where rural communities are decreasing in size, become less frequent and the atmosphere more tenuous. It was late afternoon as we ran into an old ‘Vaidya’ in our hotel lobby where, using crude gestures, he was trying to tell us there is something he wants to show us. It is India, where I can let go, have to trust and let things take their own course. So I decided to call a taxi getting us on our way. It was getting dark. The desolate, bumpy road was meandering its way uphill alongside the diminishing sandal-woods tree silhouettes.
We stopped in front of a building of considerable size. A group of men dressed in baseball wear, various in age and looks were looking at us in an astonished kind of way expressing that visitors seem uncommon there. I looked at the ‘Vaidya’ just as astonished. What am I supposed to do here? Good thing was that people around there did speak English and I came to find out it was an old Carmelite Monastery dating back to the 60’s.
They were priests, numbering 27, in a building counting some 150 rooms. Everything around there was emanating profound peace, far isolated from Indian civilization. Priests in baseball wear?! A young man was smiling and telling me about a game they had just played with the kids.
“Their kids?” – I was inquisitively asking. Yes, there were about 147 kids of all ages the Carmelites were taking care of, teaching them and simply providing a warm meal. Surrounded by nothing but mountains, yearlong efforts from the priests finally got natives to send their kids to them. During week days they are at the school to obtain education and regular meals. On weekends, sometimes they go on their long walk back home to their parents – taking hours!
Carmelites are an ancient contemplative Order of catholic origin who, without any financial interest, entertains social projects on a global level, running schools, hospitals and – if not playing basketball – are dressed in a brown cassock with no possessions allowed.
I was shown the building, the inner court yard and surrounding estate where it was getting dark by then and fireflies were swirling over the lake. It was a dream place, where lost in visionary thought, on my way home I promised to come back. I know it for sure – this has got to be the place I’ve been looking for all these years.
Amidst untouched nature, vast organic food plantations (vegetables and fruits) and curative silence, and where according to the quote of the head Carmelite – “according to God’s will” our ‘Centre for harmony and healing’ shall emerge.
- Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation and other holistic therapies
- Discussion on natural way of living according to nature & healing of the Self
- Affordable long-term therapies for patients with chronic diseases
What We Want
- make Ayurveda affordable
- to partially redirect proceeds to benefit the Carmelite’s Children Project helping to install alternative energy resources at the building in the long run
- enable people with little funds to receive treatment through active participation at the project
- live + heal with and in nature
- support education of the children through sponsorship
- expand the cultivation of healing plants, organic gardening of various vegetables, fruits as an appendage to Naturopathy, supplies for treatments and cooking vegetarian and organic dishes.
- bird watching
- flora and fauna walks
- interactively learn more the science of Ayuveda