Hey it’s 8.30am, lets go!

Suddenly there is an announcement on the mike at 8.29/30am:

Sabhi staff se nivedan he ki we shramdaan ke liye bagiche me pahuchen
(All staff members are requested to come together in the garden for shramdaan)

…and all the Sambhavna Clinic staff members run towards the medicinal herb garden. This is a common scene every Saturday morning at 8:30am; everyone from the sanitary workers to the managing trustee participates in this. Our work is to clear the garden, for example, collecting scattered leaves, picking up flowers and digging up the roots of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and shilajeet. It only takes about 15 minutes.

Over the last three weeks we have been collecting tamarind (Tamarindus indica) fruits; we finished just this morning. One or two of our friends climb up the tree and shake the branches forcefully; what results is a rain of tamarind fruits. We all collect the fruits very quickly in bamboo buckets. Sometimes when our climbing friends shake the branches the tamarind comes down very speedily like somebody throwing stones on our heads! When the girls get more of a shower it gives us a chance to laugh at them (it doesn’t always happen; sometimes we boys also get hit on the head and then the girls laugh).

Sssshhhhh… now I’ll tell you a secret: here some of the girls eat the tamarind fruits in between gathering them, even some of the boys too. And some of them keep two or three (not 2-3kgs!) ripe tamarind with them. Hey, don’t tell anybody I am discussing this okay? otherwise I’ll get the most hits on my head next Saturday. At 8:45am everyone went back to their usual work.

Hey friends, are you curious about what we do with the fruits of the tamarind tree?

Okay, let me tell you: all the fruits are collected by our garden friends and sent to the medicine manufacturing unit here at Sambhavna. Here they are pulped, and the seeds and the cover removed. Most of the pulp is used in the preparation of kutumchukadi oil which is used in panchakarma therapies for detoxification and healing; the remaining tamarind is sold (mostly purchased by staff for use in their kitchens) and sometimes sold to the market also.

PS Writing this article makes my teeth sour but I am okay! You’ll be hearing more from me soon, I’m the new Information in Charge here at Sambhavna… pleased to meet you.

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We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.