Muthashi Project for the Young Ones
Rasa Ayurveda closes each year in early April for the hot season, reopening when monsoon arrives June 1st. All our residential patients had gone, but before staff joined their families for a summer break, we put together a special event of The Muthashi Project for a group of young orphan girls – ages 9-13 – to come spend a day with us, exploring traditional Ayurveda and having some fun…!
The entire Rasa Ayurveda family of staff members spent a day preparing for our special guests, setting up hands-on learning stations throughout the clinic, rehearing answers to anticipated questions and preparing the medicinal plant “party favors” to give the girls.
It was very rewarding to see all staff interacting with the girls with such joy, and to see the enthusiasm they enjoyed as they shared Ayurveda with the girls.
The girls arrived to enjoy tasty niruneendi naranja vellum – a kind of sweet lemon water made with Indian Sarsaparilla root, for its cooling qualities. Then we broke the crowd of girls into small groups, and each group visited every station:
~ A full clinic tour of the patient rooms, treatment rooms, kitchen and yoga hall, including an intriguing stop to learn how our biogas plant produces cooking fuel from daily vegetable scraps.
~ A survey of our medicinal plant collection, with impromptu Q & A on plant identification, medicinal values and some smelling and tasting too…!
~ A ‘thali’ table, where the girls each made fresh hair washing shampoo from hibiscus leaves.
~ The ‘picchipoo’ hut, where the girls learned about the medicinal value of a certain type of fragrant jasmine, and how we use the bandage these blossoms over the eyes after netra basti. Each girl was offered a piccipoo mala to wear in her hair, too…!
~ A visit with Dr. Geetha to explore a variety of Ayurvedic and Siddha Vaidya medicinal oils and their therapeutic uses. The girls loved trying to recognize them by aroma only!
~ A romp into the paddy field to identify medicinal plants, and just – to be free!
~ And, a session in the medicine hut with Sanju, who demonstrated the process of making traditional medicinal oils.
The girls paid great attention, and asked a lot of good questions. Some even wrote down every detail in notebooks, hungry for Ayurveda! It was a full, lively and satisfying morning at Rasa Ayurveda.
After our learning sessions, everyone cam together to enjoy some fun competitive games…! Musical chairs, ‘lemon & spoon’ and ‘stick the bindi on the sundari’! Every effort was made to win trophies! All had many laughs and enjoyed the good company.
With broad smiles, the girls headed up to the main building for a delicious meal of fried rice served on banana leaves – a Kerala favorite!
When it was nearly time to go, everyone gathered ’round. I called out the names of the trophy-winners and handed each prize to a gleeful victor. Last – but surely not least – the girls lined up and came forward one by one, as Dr. Geetha placed one variety of medicinal plant seedling in the hands of each girl, telling the name of the plant, and the medicinal use it will hold when it matures.
We look forward to more educational Muthashi Project events to protect and encourage the relationship between young Mayalayee women and girls and their native plant medicines.
We hear the girls have planted their seedlings at the orphanage already…!
We look forward to welcoming you to Rasa Ayurveda.
With warm regards,
Niika Quistgard, CAS
Managing Director, Rasa Ayurveda Traditional Healing Centre