Interview with Carla
“Nandri India – Nandri Annapurna”
Carla, you spent a full year on Annapurna. Where are you from and what made you come to Annapurna?
“I come from Kaltenkirchen, Northern Germany and it was clear to me that I wanted to go out and see the world after graduating from my Rudolf Steiner school. I was bound to go to South America, but when I happened to read about Annapurna, my mind somehow changed. I wrote a mail to Tomas and the answer was appealing, because it had such a clarity and frankness. He wrote, that I am welcome, but that I should know it is hard work waiting for me.”
Travelling and meeting people is one thing and working fully on a 135 acre farm under tropical conditions is another thing. Did you have an idea what you would be facing?
“To some extent yes, to some extent no. I come from an agricultural background and my mother and my father are co-running the “Kattendorfer Hof”, a large Demeter-farm with my father having specialized in dairy. But reality as a whole includes much more than physical work. In no way I could anticipate what actually would happen.”
Would you kindly share your personal overall conclusion for the Annapurna year?
“It was a deep and great year of transformation. A fantastic gift. Annapurna was not only a plain working place, it was a complete sphere with spiritual, psychic and physical dimensions. That does not mean that I was everyday bursting out with joy. There were highlights and deep valleys in my soul, but I always felt sheltered and there was not one day I thought of leaving earlier. Annapurna has made me stronger.”
You have now returned to Germany, to commence your cultural studies in the University of Witten-Herdecke. Will you return one day to Annapurna?
“100 percent yes. I am full of gratitude and not many days have passed by after my departure I was not thinking of Annapurna. I say deep from my heart “Thank you Tomas” and “Thank you Sangeetha” and “Thank you all the others”. I will return, when the next opportunity is there.”
Together with your father Klaus – who visited you and the farm for three weeks – you somehow masterminded the new cheesery that was constructed in April 2016.
“I tried to convey a bit of my father’s knowledge and together we managed to realize it to some extent. Dairy is one of the pillars of Annapurna and it needed some more professionalization. I had many good days on Annapurna but there is one day, I call my “No 1 Annapurna Happiness day”. That was one week ahead of my departure when I realized that the cheesery will be functioning. We all had put a lot of money, energy, skills and goodwill in it and I felt deep satisfaction when I realized,: yes, it will work.”
Annapurna is located 10 kms outside of Auroville. That is quite a distance. Did you miss the company of your peers?
“I had to learn that social contacts are essential for me. I was 20 when I arrived there and during the first weeks I retreated too much and concentrated 100% on the farm life. I had to change and I think I eventually found a good and healthy balance between relatively isolated farm life and social contacts in Auroville.”
From your parents farm you knew how to milk a cow and how to drive a tractor. That was an advantage, wasn’t it?
“Yes, I could immediately step into various activities. But for my Tamil lady friends it was a bit stunning in the beginning that a young woman from Germany sits on the tractor and knows how to handle it.”
Tamil is quite a challenging language for westerners. How did you manage?
“I can keep myself going in Tamil but I would not say that my Tamil is fluent. Most Tamil I learnt from Sangeetha. When we cooperated in the cheesery we started off with hands and feet… but after a while I improved. Sangeetha is a good teacher. My first word I learnt in Tamil was “Nandri”. It means “Thank you”. And that is my overall message to Annapurna: Nandri for everything.”