#65 – October 1, 2018 – Mitti Seva – Behind the Scenes!

Dear Friends,
For many years, Ishwar has hosted an annual “mitti seva” event at the future ISHA Meeting Hall site in Bruce, Wisconsin. Ishwar has modeled mitti seva after Great Master Baba Sawan Singh’s construction work in India, where everyone was offered the opportunity to serve by working at menial tasks, such as digging dirt or carrying bricks. During such volunteer work, all of the workers become equal, and any level of service is highly valued.
This year, the event was held on September 24, under a glorious autumn sky. This blog, along with the next four, presents some photo highlights of the event. Today, you will see some of the “behind-the-scenes” activities that preceded mitti seva. Over the next four days, the blogs will focus on: morning seva activities, Ishwar arrives, afternoon seva activities, and the warm afterglow of the day. Enjoy!
Prior to the event, volunteers moved many tons of dirt in preparation for the various activities that would occur on mitti seva day. Here, a terribly skilled backhoe operator digs into a pile of topsoil.
After the parking lot was cleared and leveled, sevadars marked out parking lines for the 100+ vehicles expected.
Under the large tent, a small team of expert carpenters built this sturdy stage for Ishwar, using donated Tamarack wood.
After setting up the tables and 240 chairs, workers cleaned and adorned the stage with rugs and flowers. 
In anticipation of clearing the ISHA Garden, some sevadars built two large compost bins out of some donated tamarack planks. Tamarack is a cold-tolerant tree with tough, durable wood that is highly resistant to rot, thus ideal for our compost bins.
The ISHA Garden produced some of the food that was served at the mitti seva lunch. Here, gardeners discuss which vegetables and herbs are to be harvested prior to the event.
The mitti seva menu featured Yukon Gold potatoes from the ISHA Garden. The carpenters working on the Maintenance Shed were so impressed by the size of the fresh potatoes that they measured them with their tapes!
The day before the event, the potatoes needed to be washed and peeled.
And the cauliflower had to be rinsed.
The coffee and chai station was assembled on mitti seva morning.
The chefs set up their burners, pots, and pans under the cooking tent.
This cheerful chef is mixing up the pakora batter, in anticipation of the arrival of hundreds of hungry workers.
And, finally, after days of preparations by dozens of volunteers, we are ready for mitti seva day to begin.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog, when the sevadars arrive, and work begins.
With warmest regards,
Paul Bauer
Chair of ISHA Building & Fund-Raising Committee