Krishna Consciousness & Ecological Awareness

Working Villages International
August 12, 2008, 1:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Madhava Gosh dasa

Astottara sata dasa is Alexander Petroff (Asto), who was raised at the ISKCON Gita Nagari Farm in Port Royal, PA.  After studying economic development at Hampshire College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke College, he worked as an intern at the Namalu Ox Hire and Ox Training Center in Uganda.  Furthermore, as an intern at Tillers International in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he trained others how to work with horses and oxen.

In college, Asto wrote an 80-page thesis called Village Of Hope: A Model for Self-Sufficient Village Development In Africa. In that paper, he took the ideas of Srila Prabhupada, Gandhi, and E.F. Schumacher, and formulated a step-by-step economic plan for transitioning an economy from the current capitalist model, to a varnasrama model based on the grain-based currency and ox power model suggested by Srila Prabhupada.

His work in Africa is an incredibly hard struggle, but step-by-step, progress is being made. Asto is taking his inspiration in particular from a lecture of Srila Prabhupada’s on January 11, 1977 on a train ride to Allahabad, wherein he indicated that if we offered work, people would be attracted, and thereby we could introduce them to Krsna consciousness.

Since 5.5 million people have died in Congo due to war, they are more open to accepting new ideas like this, as they have nothing. The people in Ruzizi Valley are very hard workers and have a natural love of cows, as evidenced by the fact that although starving and malnurished, they have hunted all the snakes and rats in the area while entire herds of cows remain protected.  Asto named the project “Working Villages International” to keep in mind the central role of work in the project. The basic philosophy is centered on a verse in the Bhagavad Gita (18.46) that advocates making your daily work your prayer to God. 

Check here to visit Working Villages International.

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