Setting up this website has been a challenge from the start. A challenge welcomed by most. It kicked off this spring when a WWOOFer who had found herself returning to Karuna Bhavan once too often, asked the questions, “How is that people don’t know about this place?” “Why don’t we have a functional website?” The questions were not an idle moan, but, an open invitation to volunteer to help the then web developer to do what was needed for the project, to start with: write the copy, create a navigation plan, browse through the huge photo library and coordinate photo shoots to have appropriate ‘action shots’ to complement the copy. That was the start of things, what followed was a vortex of action that absorbed whom so ever cared to ask about the project.
The reason why the Acknowledgements is under Krishna Eco-Farm is because the project with a two-member team, initially, soon went on to become a communal focal point including as many WWOOFers and community members as possible. Contributions made were big and small depending on the needs of the project and individual proclivities. The project endeavoured sincerely to be the voice of the community: resident and floating. And this page is to honour the willing participation, enthusiasm, good wishes and efforts. Let it be said here that this website is not a “regular” website, developed by professionals, but is a website developed by volunteers; it has the impression of a hand-made object, unique and personable through its imperfections, as it were.
We start with the web developer, Mr. Pushkar Kaushik, the man with the original task. He got the ball rolling. When his studies were over, he was all set to return to India, when a “higher” calling beckoned, making him a spiritual volunteer and do his bit. Thank you Pushkar!
The person who took over from Pushkar, Sri Sat Naam Ji, is dearly missed by the project. He is currently in another Hare Krishna temple in France making friends with Krishna’s cows. Sat Naam came to Karuna Bhavan with the name Michael Casteel and after about a year into his own spiritual practice, he was given his spiritual name by his spiritual master in the US. The honour given to him at Karuna Bhavan shared joyously with fellow WWOOFers and the community. Having his presence on site really helped the project gather momentum and the website came alive– with constant updates.
Having Kris and Anna onboard was one of the most, if not the most serendipitous of the happenings this far. Graphic designers by trade, they came along one autumn morning and simplified the technical side of the website, allowing even a rookie to make changes and updates on the website. They have been instrumental in helping us shape a maintenance plan for the website. Kris made online donation possible, a big step for the overall project at Karuna Bhavan and also upped the visual appeal of the website. We wish them well on their travel to the East and await their return to Karuna Bhavan in the future.
Caio Vissicaro was our first “official” photographer. A WWOOFer from the US who was to stay initially for 2 weeks, but found himself returning a few times between his other stints, spending his last few days in the UK here with us at Karuna Bhavan before he finally left for the US. Many of the ‘action shots’ and photographs that you see dotted around the website are courtesy him. His sheer willingness, attention to detail, and delivery made him a much needed friend of the project. We’re sure wherever he goes he will add much value through his creative talent as well as enthusiasm for working with the land. We wish him the best and look forward to receiving him again. We’re awaiting his blog entry at the moment.
Hannah Yanow, also a WWOOFer from the US helped us set up the Krishna Eco-Farm Facebook page. With this page we have been able to connect with past and present WWOOFers and also attract prospective visitors. Having previously worked in design, she even gave her input on the design of the website. Like Caio, she returned a few times to Karuna Bhavan in between her other WWOOFing stints and also spent the last few days in the country here at Karuna Bhavan before flying back to the US. We look forward to welcoming her back.
Adhoksaja Krishna, part of the Hare Krishna community here at Karuna Bhavan, is also part of the popular drama troupe, who is often seen performing humorous and serious dramas about Krishna Consciousness at festivals and events. He is our resident photographer and the artist who sketched impressions of Karuna Bhavan and directions to getting here.
David Allen, a WWOOFer from Manchester, provided the creative input for the top banner of the home page. A musically inclined person, working with adults, he writes and stages musicals as therapy tools. We are waiting for David to be inspired to do a musical at Karuna Bhavan. Come on David show us what you’ve got!
Big thank you to the WWOOFers who willing and enthusiastically allowed their photos to be taken for the website: Yann Cerf, Celine Taramasco, Jonas Musco, Tim Solman, Berta Perez Dominguez and Benjamin.
Prabhupada Prana or George McMullan as most WWOOFers know him is the Temple President and the person responsible for the WWOOFing programme at Karuna Bhavan. The project has been possible because of him, despite his busy schedule he made time to proof-read all the material on the website, along with providing information, support and resources where needed. He was the boss who never acted like one.
Raghunath Bhatta Das is the reason why the project worked. He ensured that all concerned were properly fed, were sufficiently motivated and supported. He was the ‘go-to’ person in the community. He made working on the project a pleasure. The project team can’t thank him enough.
Gazala Singh, the WWOOFer who created all the fuss in the first place is also the person writing this. She obviously didn’t know what she was getting herself and others into when she started. Once the wheels were set in motion she followed the flow, allowing the process to evolve as organically as possible. In the words of Steve Job she played the role of the person ‘connecting the dots’ allowing the story of Karuna Bhavan to be told, continually.
The website team extend their whole-hearted gratitude to the kitchen team under the stewardship of Jagannath Priya for ensuring that the team were pampered (even spoilt on festival days) with delicious and divine food at all times.