Past Community Members and Volunteers…

Gaby Jaime-Duran: Volunteer, March – April 2011
As Gaby researched different guest houses in Auroville, she chose College (Joy) because of the NVC-connection. She informally began to contribute in different ways – planting tomato seedlings, sprouting corn, making flower arrangements for the dining area, creating recycled dolls, co-designing our new guest house “guidelines” booklet, and supporting Sara Luig with NVC product ideas. Never a dull moment… Yay, way to go, Gaby!

Jason Stewart, Co-Founding Member of Joy LLC!
“I first found Marshall’s book on the bookshelf of my friend Dinesh in Bangalore in 2005. At that point I knew my life would be different. But it wasn’t until I met L’aura the following year that I began seeing how I could begin using NVC in my life. Now, the process of “re-wiring” my brain (removing the old habitual patterns of jackal thinking) is an automatic, ongoing process. I have found a huge increase in the quality and depth of all of my relationships and as a consequence I have a huge increase in the quality of my sense of aliveness. My passion is the art of “loaning other people my skills” – to help them listen, understand, and connect with one another.”

Jason lives in Sadhana Forest, an Auroville community dedicated to reforestation, veganism, unschooling and no commercial activities. Jason helps bring the teachings of nonviolence to the many volunteers who live there each year.

Karthikeyan: Volunteer, Jan 2009 – April 2010
Karthik showed up one day in Dec ’08 to help build our new bamboo hut. Clayton Barker had met him at Buddha Garden (where they were both doing volunteer farm work), and he shared some NVC ideas with Karthik and invited him to come and support our NVC Camp preparations. With Karthik’s growing interest in NVC and our community, we gave him one of our Camp scholarships (funded by a friend in the US).

I will never forgot what happened a day or two after the Camp was over. Karthik had returned home to Koot Road (a few kilometers from Auroville), but then showed up again and asked if he could move here “permanently.” Wow! Now Karthik is a Joy Community member and a Newcomer to Auroville. His contributions have been priceless – a permaculture vegetable garden, a fruit orchard and loads of support running the guest house and connecting with guests from all over the world.

“I grew up in a nearby village called Koot Road. In November 2008 I came to Joy Guest House to do some voluntary work, helping to build the Joy capsule (a place for meetings and workshops) and planting trees. I got an opportunity to practice NVC (Nonviolent Communication) for three weeks and when that workshop was finished, I asked L’aura if I could move in and help out in the guest house. The answer was ‘yes.’

So, for almost 3 I lived in the community and helped out as a guest welcomer, receptionist and gardener. It was a new experience for me to live with L’aura, Jason, Angela and Sarah, as well as with the many guests and students who have stayed here. It was both interesting and challenging. Meeting people from many different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds and having conversations about many topics changed my world view. But a challenge of living in community can be misunderstandings between different cultures and customs. Sometimes my actions were understood by foreign guests in a way that I would never have imagined. For example, I was astonished to be told that the normal practice of eating with my hands would be looked down upon in Western countries. And at first, some Western behaviors also shocked me. For example, during a meeting someone put their foot out in front of me. In Tamil culture, that would be considered disrespectful and rude.

In Fall 2009, I took part in the Living Routes program, which is a study-abroad program for American college students. I am grateful for all these new experiences and understanding. College Guest House is a community for anyone who wants to continue learning and growing.”

Sara Luig: Volunteer, April – June 2011
Sara was our first “official” volunteer, organized by a German association. She spent 3 months with us and supported in developing some of our NVC products. She also made monthly contributions to Auroville’s News & Notes, posting NVC-related articles.

Shammi Nanda: Volunteer, Oct – Dec 2011
With his yogi-like hair and cool behavior, you could easily mistake him for a yogi.. and in all honesty he was not far from it… Very down to earth, loving the plants, creating gardens with minimum effort and resources, being creative with meals in the kitchen. Shammi had a good understanding of NVC, and he took part in our NVC and RC practice groups. (Written by Meenakshi)

and others: Angela, Sarah, and more…