Vegetarian Christmas Lunch for government officials

I am so pleased to share that our club could manage to plan something more meaningful and direct in approach to help people change to vegetarian diet. Here is a small report of the event we prepared.

Kenya Vegetarian Club arranged for a Christmas lunch for the members of county government of Kisumu to welcome New Year in a healthy way on 29th December at Yacht club of Kisumu. The event was attended by various high profile officials, professionals, NGOs and most importantly County Commissioner of Kisumu Mr. John

I narrated the benefits of vegetarianism to the audience who was really eager to know why and what is the reason of this lunch. When I started explaining the importance of vegetarianism they realized that why it is important. , I narrated how this can be practiced, how to replace meat in your meal, why we should promote vegetable farming and help our farmers to grow more, the medical benefits of this diet, the importance of vegetarianism in religion, help people in grassroots level to change the  diet habits and behavior pattern which we have got for a long time.

The women representative of the county, Ms. Atiano Otiano mastered the ceremony and encouraged women of different county to turn to vegetable farming, start living a healthy life and help the club to grow more in numbers.

The chairman of Hindu Council of Kenya Kisumu branch Mr. Gurdeep Singh Panesar narrated how we can make Kisumu county more green and independent and we can stop importing vegetables from other parts of Kenya.

The National Trustee of Hindu Council of Kenya Mr Ramesh Mehta thanked the audience and ensured the guests can make more benefits out of vegetable farming.

The meeting ended with the practical example of vegetarian food for lunch which was explained during the session.

I am really thankful to Rameshbhai and Gugu for being with me throughout the session. They really helped me to take care of the guests till the end.


Rain water harvesting!

rain water harvestingrain water2

It is that time of the year where many places in the world receive rains due to the monsoons. In Kenya we have the short rain spells in November unlike the longer spells that we usually get in March- April. Despite all that talk of El Nino and the vagaries of climate, the rain gods are still really kind, otherwise the world would not survive. But where does all this rain water go? No prizes for guessing. Literally down the drain or into the seas! When will people in power wake up and start thinking about the future. Everywhere they seem to be in a hurry to settle old scores or indulge in making hay while the sun shines but precious little is done to plug the problems of the world.

Many cities in India received very heavy rainfall this year and one report stood out amidst all that usual statistics of waterlogged streets and fallen trees and telephone wires. One city received copious rain enough for an entire year’s water supply but alas it all went straight into the Bay of Bengal. Every place faces a drought as this is not an isolated case. When it rains, we are not wise to store it for the difficult days ahead. We waste this precious resource called water without which we cannot live on this earth.

How much water does this world use? To find out the exact figure, two engineers Arjen Hoekstra and Mesfin Mekonnen from the University of Twente in the Netherlands calculated the water footprint of the world’s countries as well as the per capita water consumption in different nations. They found that “overall, the world is using 9,087 billion cubic meters of water per year. China, India and the U.S. consumed the highest annual totals: 1,207 billion, 1,182 billion and 1,053 billion cubic meters, respectively, followed by Brazil at 482 billion. But the water consumed per person in these and other countries varies considerably, due primarily to higher living standards or widespread waste among consumers. The U.S. had the world’s highest per capita water footprint, at 2,842 cubic meters per annum.” Meat consumption accounts for 30 percent of the American figure, and sugar consumption is responsible for another 15 percent, Hoekstra says.

So it is an emerging crisis and we need to pull our socks quickly and do something about conserving water or we will be leaving a parched, dry earth to our children. This will be the result of our selfishness and utter contempt for others. Our ancients were never like this. If you read about the Native African legends or the Native American way of life we understand that they lived a life in harmony with the elements and were grateful for everything that Nature gave them and adjusted their life to its rhythm.

In India, our ancient texts and scriptures revered forests as they protected water catchments. Our ancestors believed that forests were mothers of rivers and therefore they worshipped the sources of these water bodies. Cutting down trees in the name of industrialization and urbanization is taking us nowhere. We need to start adopting water conservation methods in each and every household on an urgent basis. The oldest civilization, the Indus Valley Civilization boasted of advanced water conservation methods. One of the oldest water harvesting systems is found about 130 km from Pune along Naneghat in the Western Ghats. They thought of others too. A large number of tanks were cut in the rocks to provide drinking water to tradesmen who used to travel along this ancient trade route. Each fort in the area had its own water harvesting and storage system in the form of rock-cut cisterns, ponds, tanks and wells that are still in use today. A large number of forts like Raigad had tanks that supplied water. In rain starved Rajasthan houses were built in such a way they had rooftop rain harvesting systems. Rainwater from these rooftops was directed into underground tanks. This system can be seen even today in all the forts, palaces and houses of the region.

Rainwater harvesting helps in improving underground water tables as water seeps in gently, keeping the place moist. This is the need of the hour. Many governments have made it mandatory to install this system in all houses. Awareness should be created in our communities and when this is backed by strong laws, I am sure we can help save atleast a part of the water that would otherwise get lost.