Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier (Society of Pilar)
submitted by Mario Rebello, September 2019
Fulfilling my Dreams
letter to ARI director
Dear Tomoko sensei
How are you? I hope you are fine and I presume all is well in ARI. I miss ARI. Sensei, I am writing to you after a long time. It took me long to report to you, as I was working on fulfilling my dreams. As I have actualized some of them, I thought of sharing it to you.
It’s almost five years now since I have graduated from the Asian Rural Institute. As a graduate I am very much in debt to the institute. The learning was a boon when I came back to my community in Goa, India. I was respected for my learning and my community agreed to what I said; but it was really difficult for me to convince my community.
As I was doing my final presentation at ARI, I mentioned two of my dreams. The first was to start a piggery and the second was to start a small duck farm. So I feel happy to let you know that I have worked on those dreams and tried to make it a reality. My sponsor, Rev. Fr. Leo Schumacher, was a great support and help in fulfilling my dreams. I am really thankful for his support in funding my Korean style piggery project. It has almost come to completion. My second dream was to start a duck farm. I can say that I have made this dream a reality too. I have started a small duck farm with 20 ducks at the start. And now the number has increased to 40. But here I encountered a lot of disappointment in the form of rodent attacks on eggs.
As I was doing these projects, I felt like raising chickens too, and I did start with a few. But due to lack of funds I was unable to build a shelter for them. So I slowly started to generate the fund for the same and now I have small poultry pen.
Over the years I have shared my knowledge with others as and when opportunities knocked on my door. I was welcomed by schools, colleges, the seminary, and Catholic priests. Lots of people visit my farm every year for excursions, especially in the months of February to May, as there is a running river that flows adjacent to my farm. When people check in, I give them a compulsory talk on the environment and organic farming.
Last year one college student came for a month’s internship. She had come especially to learn organic farming and was happy with the knowledge she acquired. I taught her many things and she was happy and content.
Visitor from Germany helping on the farm / Catholic priests touring the farm and planting Pamelo trees
For the last five years I have been planting a rice paddy in the SRI method and it has given me more yield than the normal method as shown in picture below. At first the workers thought that it won’t be a success, but after seeing the result they were happy and thought of continuing with the same method organically.
But my farm is attacked regularly by wild animals, like bison, wild boars, peacocks, deer, and monkeys as it is located near the forest. They even destroy my pineapple plantation, banana plantation, and paddy every year. It has been a tough time for me to carry out farming, but I accepted the challenge.
I had also some Japanese as well as German friends, whom I met in ARI, paying me a visit. We were happy to see each other. They were happy to see the farm and my work. So, Sensei, these are my achievements, which I have achieved over the years. I can say boldly that I had a great time on the field putting into practice what I learnt in ARI.