by Katharina Zussner
In November 2014 I joined SCI workcamp team and especially saw it as my task to help spreading the idea of workcamps. I live in Graz (Styria) and gathered ideas for SCI-projects in this area. Finally I knocked on the door of the Babaji-Haus Graz and met Anamika, the project partner for this year ́s project called „Education Garden of Life“.
„We come from different directions and meet with the same goals.“, said Anamika on our first evening together with the volunteers. The Babaji-Haus that is named after an indian yogi, is a place for personal and spiritual growth, for tranquility and alternative ways of living that contribute to a more peaceful and natural environment. It shares the SCI vision of a world of peace, where people live together with mutual respect and without resource to any form of violence to solve conflict.
The aim of the workcamp was to support the maintenance of the place and at the same time to learn about living in a group, about alternative educational methods and to support peace. It was great to welcome eight people plus two children from six different nations (Finnland, Ukraine, Slowenia, Serbia, Spain and the Czech Republic) and spend two weeks together on that beautiful and peaceful place.
The Study Part
What is natural learning and how can we build a better environment for learning?
During the first week we watched a documentary about alternative education in the russian Schetinin school. In the second week volunteers were invited to join the introduction workshop of the Education Garden of Life. There we learned that we first have to find out what natural learning is and what is blocking us from learning naturally. Only when we find out what natural learning is can we start to create an environment for it.
During the second week we started with the creative part of the workcamp. Anamika showed us how to create a beautiful mosaic, something that you can see everywhere around the place. Everyone was welcome to create a tile and take it home. So the afternoons of the second week where filled with finding the right pieces for the bigger picture while learning about patience 🙂
Work, Leisure Time and Food
In the first week we could decide wether we want to start the day with a fire ceremony, yoga or sleeping longer. It became very hot in the second week and we decided to start to work earlier. There was different type of work and every morning after breakfast we decided what to do. Some of the work was in the shed or in the house but most of the work was outside. There were times for lunch and dinner but breaks in between where not defined. Everyone could take a break whenever he/she needed one.
Eating, drinking, be happy! With these words from Anamika we started to eat our delicious meal prepared by Anamika and the help of volunteers. During the workcamp there was also time for leisure time activities. On the weekend we went hiking on the mountain Schöckl and swimming in a lake while others went to eat „Sacher Torte“ in Vienna. We had evenings full of drumming and singing, we walked through the forest to the „Buschenschank“ and spend a lovely day in Graz. Finally this camp ended with an International Evening where volunteers prepared typical food of their country. Eating, drinking, being happy until finally parting and saying good bye. It was an unforgettable time!