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Feb 18, 2020

News about our beloved building

Hi all!

Our first report to you was on Nov 5th, and the second on Nov 19th.

Between then and now, we've done exactly what we mentioned we wanted to do in our Nov 5th report : the flooring of my room, the room next to it (basically the South-West block First Floor) and (drumroll!), the upstairs toilets!!!

The toilets upstairs: People at Tomatis don't have to go downstairs to pee anymore!  Very recently finished, just today we got two comments from users about how beautiful they are.  They are very simple and zen, yet very elegant. The women's toilet (like the men's downstairs) is full of light.  The men's toilet has lovely colours.

The lime paint done by Selvam and Kadhir (based on the traditional kaddukai nut fermented and then mixed with the lime) turned out to be an absolutely beautiful colour.  We are so happy to have found this alternative to paint... anyway, you shouldn't paint lime at all, because that cuts off its possibility to breathe.  Well, with lime paint, the lime keeps breathing!  They've also painted the worker's room outside with the lime paint and it looks absolutely gorgeous.  We don't need to use that eco-paint anymore, we've found the solution for the lime paint, thanks always to Tapas and her ingenuity.  This means, we can keep maintaining our building with lime!!!!  The ecological alternative to paint!

My room and the room next to it : Finished in time for my birthday on the 01.01.20.  What an incredible present!  Tapas did this as a Yantra > a sacred Indian geometric design.  We got pinkish granite slabs (the cheapest we could find and also the largest), along with blue oxide for the spaces in between, and orange for the "egg"/oval shaped centre, bounded by a copper strip.  It is absolutely beautiful as well as powerful.  It is incredible how the floor transformed the entire room! Several Tomatis adult clients have mentioned how well they feel inside. I do all the consultations there now, and also find that working has suddenly become so concentrated.  The Yantra clearly has a deep effect. The granite is also cool.

This is a bit lame, but, I don't have pictures since my iphone storage is totally full. But we will post some pics soon.

We couldn't yet work on the shaft as wished though Tapas has been planning that with the carpenter, Iyyanar.  We're going to do price shopping for the glass. They are planning to search for teakwood (much stronger) for the frames of the internal shafts.

Meanwhile, did you know about Transsolar?  This world-famous climate engineering company based in Stuttgart Germany, with offices in the USA, Paris, etc, took on our building project pro-bono to study our climate-based solutions in their "Transsolar Academy".   

We are featured on their website : https://transsolar.com/projects/auroville-language-lab-all

Thanks to their help and guidance, and also help from CSR (Auroville Centre for Scientific Research), we set up temperature and humidity-measuring sensors in various parts of the building and every two weeks data is downloaded and sent to Transsolar by Raj and Mano. This study will go on till May. 

We are also listed in their projects here : https://transsolar.com/projects/filter:in-progress

We just found out that The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, which was a gift from Portia de Rossi to her wife, Ellen DeGeneres, has a building based on sustainable architecture. https://theellenfund.org/the-campus 

Guess who they partnered with for the climate engineering aspects? Transsolar!!! 

We were featured in Transsolar's June 2019 Newsletter (https://us16.campaign-archive.com/?u=07a9649c04f2d4b3b5a2e3475&id=8e5e3b8030) and they were featured in Transsolar's October 2019 newsletter! (https://us16.campaign-archive.com/?u=07a9649c04f2d4b3b5a2e3475&id=8a2ba3ea25)

Maybe, just maybe, we can reach out to Ellen and Portia through Transsolar????  An idea to be followed up in the future.

Meanwhile, the Lab and Tomatis are both full and humming. Our shoe stand is too small now; we need another one.  It is quite amazing how so many people can be inside the building in its different spaces, and it seems to hold everyone without any noise or problem.  There's been wonderful work and lots of progress for the kids at Tomatis, and the adults too - transformative work. And a lot of activities and classes at the Lab. Progress on projects too. Huge thanks to Miko, one of our wonderful volunteers, a retired schoolteacher and language-lover from the USA who has come with all his enormous goodwill and knowledge; the students love him and he just "gets it"- all of it! It is such a pleasure. And the rest of the team too, is wonderful - we have wonderful volunteers and teachers as well as the staff > we all enjoy working together and working in this building is a delight!

The building seems to get more beautiful as time passes and we finish bits and pieces of it as and when we can. Everyone seems to love being in it.  The most recent comment in our visitors book is : "This building is so beautiful. Thank you so much!"  

One is starting to think : this isn't just "construction to combat climate change" (which it is, of course), it is "construction to nurture the human spirit".

Links:

Jan 27, 2020

We'll make it happen in 2020!

Hi everyone!

Remember our last project report?

https://www.GlobalGiving.org/projects/empowering-women-and-girls-in-auroville-and-bioregion/reports/?subid=137282

So, we did the first batch of the women's Tomatis group English training last year.  But after that, we were inundated with our ongoing work, and the building as well, that we honestly could not take the Women's project forward after the first batch.

In our previous report, we mentioned this was due to the fact that all of us are multi-tasking like crazy, and we also lack one dedicated person (woman) committed exclusively to the project as a whole.    We did think that as soon as one member of our team, would get back after her maternity leave (which extended to a year!), she could dedicate herself to the project. But that was an impractical idea.  Because she brings her little one-year-old, to the office with her.  So while our team has unexpectedly expanded now with this tiny being, who keeps us all smiling and happy, it also means that she can only work half-time, taking care of the regular ongoing programs, but won't be able to do the running around required by the GG Women's project.

And as of today, our prayers are answered!  We are getting an Indian-origin volunteer, a recent graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor in Social Science, specialization in International Development, who is looking to pursue a Bachelor of Education and become a language teacher!  She plans to come in Feb and will stay here until May.

She finds the whole Tomatis approach really interesting, as also our GlobalGiving women's project.  She is totally on board to take this project as her responsibility and to work with our team brainstorming, planning, seeing how we need to adjust the requirements of the program with the constraints women are facing in their time schedules (without compromising the program of course).  She would need to go around informing the Auroville units/NGOs that work with village women and girls about it, to go out to the schools to reach out to the schoolteachers and the girls, etc. So that we can try and meet some of the goals we dreamt about when we launched the project!  She will also take care of the regular English lessons for these women and can do specific work with each woman during the Tomatis Active Phase exercises. She’ll also teach a regular non-Tomatis English class, which will be great, so we can observe the differences more closely.

So this is fantastic news; can't wait, and will write next end Feb or Beginning March once she has arrived and we have made our plan of action.

Meanwhile, if any of you wouldn't mind going back and reading our original project proposal, for which you made your donation, and give us some fresh outside perspective, make some comments, ask some questions, that would be wonderful and would really help.

Love, and looking forward to hearing from at least some of you!

Mita

Nov 19, 2019

This is happening tomorrow!

Tomorrow, the Chief Resilience Officer of Chennai is visiting the Language Lab building along with a team from the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, USA  (google that!).

The AARFRC recently formed the Cooler Cities Action Initiative, a program seeking to focus and accelerate proactive decision making, cooling interventions and investment at the community level to address the sometimes-lethal – and increasingly severe – problem of extreme heat in cities, particularly for those most vulnerable. The initiative is comprised of a set of partners including city Chief Resilience Officers, humanitarian NGOs, insurance industry representatives, and other practitioners in the climate risk, finance and resilience space. This visit is to firm up on their overall strategy for India and to explore activating a pipeline of projects and activities to raise awareness and spur behavior change among at-risk communities; implementing “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects (e.g., cooler roofs, green/garden roofs, cool pavements, and urban forests and green spaces); and deploying a progressive risk pool (or "captive"), risk transfer & investment approach to financing life-saving evidence-based cooling interventions.

The AARFRC team includes : The Director of the AARFRC at the Atlantic Council, the Director, Humanitarian Initiative, the Associate Director, as well as an author and contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine.

The 100 RC team includes : The India Strategy Head, a Lead Researcher, Okapi/IIT(M) as well as the CRO, Chennai. 

 

In the morning, they will be visiting the Auroville Building Centre and then going around Auroville to visit a few Auroville projects, including the Solar Bowl.  They will come to the Language Lab after lunch. 

Our program looks like this :

2:30-3:30 : Presentation and tour of the Building, esp system of cooling without air-conditioning, lime, cool-roof lime coating,  vaastu, Electromagnetic Compliance,  wastewater recycling system, etc (me)
3:30-4:00 : One of our consultants will present on lime as a building material and will share the details of her study of the use of lime in our building and another:  "Use of Lime Mortar and Post-Occupancy Thermal Performance Analysis of Buildings".  She'll also share the findings from her other study on Climate-Responsive architecture. And speak about a cost-effective experiment on rooftop gardening.
4:00-4:30 : Presentation on the Use of Probiotics in our building and numerous advantages of Probiotics.  Unfortunately, our two consultants can’t make it tomorrow but we have permission to show their presentation on Probiotics in building construction and we have a film as well about the use of probiotics in our building.
Will use the occasion also to launch our Fundraising Appeal for Giving Tuesday (Dec 03rd) to help us complete the building.  You'll be hearing about this very soon!  We believe a ton of people, giving small amounts - just because you - our friends - ask them, will help us reach the goal!
So, think of us tomorrow and wish us luck! We'll share pics!
Much love,
Mita
 
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