This is to provide those interested, whether as a guest or a volunteer, an idea of the activities around the Ashram. Please feel free to write/comment of any other information you require so that we can reply on this forum for all to share. Out of necessity our Ashram and admin is run as a very lean operation so every little time saving helps..
Nature Cure Clinic: open Mon to Sat. This is, naturally, a specialised tasks performed by our two acupuncturists Pak Sadra, the Vice Chair of the Ashram, whenever he is available from his busy schedule, and our senior and long time member, Uki
Kindergarten: Daily in the mornings from Monday to Saturday and run by professional government teachers but occasionally volunteers who expressed interests were also assigned to assist.
Field Harvesting: this is a communal task when all available members and volunteers (optional for guests, quite an experience and highly recommended if you happen to be at the Ashram) are mobilised to harvest off-site ashram lands normally tended by the tenant farmers. Depending on the crop it has to be done quickly and a portion of the produce is taken back to the Ashram for its own use
Gandhi Library: carries an extensive collection of books on Eastern Religion/Philosophy, Bali plus some lighter readings/novels left behind by our previous guests (and you can donate your own books you have finished with and do not intend to take back with you) and, of course, books on Gandhi and Gandhian topics. It is very much an honest system but if you do ‘inadvertently’ took our Ashram book/s with you when you check out, please take the trouble of returning them back. Some of the books are rare, out of prints or plain expensive and we simply do not have the budget to purchase these books which are mostly gifted to us for the benefits of all.
Meditation Room: Situated above the clinic for those requiring a separate place to retreat and contemplate/meditate though you can also do these anywhere within the Ashram compound or within your own bungalow.
Yoga with Our Regular Teachers: Monday, Wednesday and Fridays 4 – 5 pm classes are at our Bale Yoga or Yoga Hut/Shala (currently with either Uki or Elena). The rest of the week 4 – 5 pm sessions or all week morning 7 – 8 am sessions are subject to availability of Guest/Volunteer Yoga Teachers. Session attendance is free to Ashram’s guests and other volunteers and donation for others.
The other tasks/Ashram’s ‘routines’…
Some tasks such as sweeping the yard around the Ashram is communal but there are other individual task specific ranging from daily housekeeping for bungalows, feeding and caring for the cows, making of cow-dung ‘cake’ to be sun-dried and used as fuel for the Agni Hotra/fire ceremony puja, to tending and watering of the garden are rostered tasks among the members with direction and supervision from assigned senior member/s. Other tasks, such as cooking, car maintenance/driving, building maintenance, admin work/book keeping, yoga teaching, after school English and Maths tutoring for local high school students, mentoring of the younger members are more specialised and allotted largely to the permanent or more senior members with assistance from younger members as needed.
There are also adhoc and project oriented tasks which normally involve general mobilisation of the manpower, such as clearing of debris during refurbishment of building or periodic reinforcement of the seawall. The craft and weaving workshop works periodically to produce products that we display for sale such as our coconut shell plate used by the members.
Volunteers may be allotted any of the tasks above although naturally we try to ‘harvest’ as much of the ‘high-end’ skills as possible (but must be aware that they will be deployed wherever needed). For the English speakers English lessons for/conversation with the younger members is common, or helping with the after school classes for the local high school students or for those with the highly valued trade or handyman skills, we would like them to help our senior member in charge of building maintenance with his routine work, or building refurbishment or special projects that we have from time to time. Guest and volunteers are welcome to pitch in anytime during their stay.
However, at present time we are specifically targeting qualified and experienced yoga teacher in our volunteer program to extend our thrice a week yoga classes up to daily morning and afternoon when we have the resources. We also encourage guests to help in any of the tasks but esp. with English Conversation with the members (normally straight after the end of evening puja/recital at 8 pm at our Bale Puja where we have our meals or at the ‘class room’ below the boys dormitory. Please speak to the members about ‘hopping’ into any of these roles during your stay, many found it very fulfilling and enhances their Ashram experience.
General Daily Routine for members and volunteers, optional for guests
- 5 /5.30 – 6 am Dawn Puja incl. the 5.30 am sunrise Agni Hotra fire ceremony
- 6 – 8.30 am Communal yard sweeping around the ashram, members specific tasks: get ready for school for some, others organise morning teas to the bungalows, prepare for communal breakfast, one or two go to market, when on 7 am member-focused yoga session
- 7 – 8 am House Yoga (subject to avail. of Guest/Volunteer Yoga Teacher)
- 8.30 – 9.00 am Joint breakfast – guests, members, volunteers
- 9.00 – 11.30 members/volunteers specific or communal tasks
- 10 am Morning tea for guests served at their bungalows
- 11.30 – 12 noon Midday Puja
- 12.30 – 1.30 pm Joint Lunch – guests, members and volunteers
- 1 .30– 3.30 pm Some rest period or some catching up with studies
- 3.30ish pm Afternoon tea served at the bungalows
- 3.30 – 5 pm members/volunteers specific or communal tasks
- 4 – 5.15 pm House Yoga with Regular teachers Mon, Wed and Fri only (other days subject to avail. of Guest/Volunteer Yoga Teacher). Finishes in time to join Agni Hotra Fire Ceremony
- 5 / 5.30 – 6 pm Dusk Puja incl. 5.30 pm sunset Agni Hotra fire ceremony
- 6 – 9.30 pm Outside dinner and Evening Puja: specific tasks for members & volunteers, study time
- 6.30 – 7.30 pm Joint Dinner – guests, members and volunteers
- 7.30 – 8 pm Evening Puja followed by some group discussion/learning
- 8 – 9.30 pm Housekeeping/studies for the younger members before bed
That’s all for now that I can think of. As mentioned at the start, if you still have queries, please write to this blog so we can attempt to answer it for the benefits of all.
For the Guests..
The guests are free to join any of the activities. However, if you are on relaxation mode during your holidays break you may not want to get involved in all the daily chores. It is good to attend the pujas at least once, the sunrise and sunset fire ceremonies are particularly interesting and recommended, then make up your mind to pick and choose which ones, if any.
Those inclined will enjoy reading from the extensive Gandhi library which also includes books from broader topics on Eastern religions and philosophies, or philosophy in general, or other books donated or left behind by previous guests. Of course there is the swim esp. on high tides, or simply observe or do your own things – reading, meditation or whatever. Or speak to our senior members about short tours/trekking around the Ashram/eastern regency of Bali, or charter a boat from our fisherman ex members to go snorkeling or simply a ride to Pasir Putih (white sand beach, which can also be reached by car, about 20 mins ride).
For more information about the Ashram services please read the section under Ashram Facilities heading on this blog or for services outside the Ashram https://ashramgandhi.wordpress.com/ashram-facilities/supplementary-services/