VSSM’s water conservation efforts recently took me to Vaghpura village near Gujarat-Rajasthan boarder. The villagers had requested for deepening of their community lake. As usual our condition of villagers contributing to lifting the excavated soil as well as small cash donation (to be used for water conservation works in the village) by each household while VSSM supported JCB expenses prevailed. The objective of the visit was to meet the community and leaders to discuss the telephonic conversations in person.
“Ben, this year we faced an onslaught locust on our crops which caused severe damage to our crops. The loss has been immense. Also because we are at the fringe of Gujarat, we have remained a deprived and backward area as most benefits do not reach us as well as they do in other villages. However, we shall do as you tell us too!!” Sarpanch Virabhai spoke on behalf of the leaders and the community.
It was a regular visit to meet the community and see the region, the lake etc but what was striking about this village was the place we were seated. Under the glorious and massive shade of a woodland created by 108 peepul trees, right at the centre of the village. It has taken them 10 years to raise these native trees. Peepul isn’t a tree humans Peepul is not a species that many prefer to plant, however, a saint visited the village and insisted that he will meditate under the canopy of 108 peepul trees, as a result, these trees were planted. And it was not just here they had planted trees at many other places too. This habit of planting trees speaks a lot about the sincerity of the community and its leadership. Our experience says that people show a lot of enthusiasm in planting trees but when it comes to raising them they don’t feel as encouraged but the villagers here had succeeded in showing their commitment towards both planting and raising the trees.
Their unity has been inspiring too. When we conveyed our intention to conduct tree plantation drive along with deepening of lakes, they immediately welcomed the idea and were ready to allot land for the same.
I was accompanied by respected Shri Rashminbhai Sanghvi who is like a father to me and someone who helped us initiate and shape the water conservation efforts, Shri Girishbhai Saive and Ms Shweta Dodeja.
We hope more and more villages are inspired to join this movement.
પાસો વિસ્તારેય પસાત. છતો તમે કો સો ઈમ થશે એટલો ફાળો ભેરો કરી આલશું. પાસુ અમારુ આ ગોમ બોર્ડર પરનું એટલે બીજા ગોમોન મળ એવા લાભથીયે અમે વંચિત રહી જઈએ. છતો કરીશું થાય એ’