On the morning of the 30th, the guests and local people started arriving and were invited to go to the VTC center for an exhibition on 30 years of SEDS made by Flip design. At the school, there was an exhibition on the different working areas of SEDS . There were photos, charts with explanations and data and props to explain what SEDS is doing around CDM (the biogas project), Sustainable Agriculture, Watersheds & Reforestation, Mandal Facilitation Centers, Women Empowerment, Education and Health. In addition there was a stall explaining and portraying different artisan products made in the villages with an opportunity to buy.
At 11 o’clock, the new wing of the training center, in memory of Father Vicente Ferrer Moncho was officially inaugurated by his son Moncho Ferrer Vicente, the Program Director of RDT, an NGO from Anantapur. After the opening, we were finally allowed to see Vishal’s documentary on 30 years of SEDS. After all the work he put into it – with the help of others – his enthusiasm was not in vain because we all liked it and several people even had tears in their eyes.
The guests went to the school for a tour of the Mela with explanations by Iris, who coordinated it and the CLO’s responsible for the content of the stalls. It showed data of the different work areas in the 5 mandals. There were pictures and charts explaining what SEDS is involved in for all the work areas. We saw the materials and techniques which are used to make the most of the soil and the fertilizers that are used to accomplish this. The part I liked best were the pictures of Sanipalli and Petakunta from 30 years ago to be compared to the pictures from now. It showed how much work has been put into this and confronted me with the main thing that I learned the last time I was here: it’s one day and one tree at a time and it’s worth it.
Before lunch, the stake holders of the villages had an opportunity to explain to the crowd how they experienced working with SEDS on the self-help groups, the tuition centers, sustainable agriculture and so on. Regretfully I couldn’t understand but it was important for the people to share their experiences and get recognition for their going commitment to change their lives with the help of SEDS.
Then lunch was served in the dining hall of the main house and in a big tent on the field. After a bit of rest and a chance to explore the farm, we were treated to a concert on the courtyard by Karthik Mani and group from Bangalore. This was fusion music of western and Karnatik. As a music lover, this was my favorite part and I wasn’t alone. There was dancing all around.
And finally – after a more than lovely dinner - we all joined in the garden of the main house to portray something else that SEDS is famous for and a reason for people to come back time and time again: a nice dancing party with great music, great people in a cozy, homey atmosphere which makes it impossible for anyone not to join in.