In 1980, Tineke, who is originally from the Netherlands,
travelled overland to India and Nepal as part of a trip around the world.
She had heard very little of Auroville, and yet, on her way to Sri Lanka
she stopped by, just for five days..
Special place, special people
I remember, when walking into Auroville, that some of the people struck me with an incredible light radiating from their eyes, and I knew these people were special. Later I learned that they were Aurovilians, and then I knew this place was special too. After a visit to the Ashram in Pondicherry, a change happened deep within me and I knew Auroville was where I wanted to stay..
Getting into greenwork
After a few days in 'Fraternity' guesthouse, I moved to the Success settlement adjacent to Forecomers where I got involved in afforestation work, a cause close to my heart. At that time hardly any women were involved in 'greenwork'. It was a challenging time, from working physically on the land to fighting off village 'goondas' during the period of the early-years hostility between Auroville and the SAS (Sri Aurobindo Society).
Center Guest House
I first returned to Holland for a visit some two years later. When I came back to Auroville I house-sat for some time before the opportunity came to manage the Center Guest House. In those days the guesthouse didn't have many rooms, but throughout the years it has grown. Today we are expanding again, adding eight more rooms in the coming year to be already existing 15.
My partner Silvano (from Italy) and I try to create an atmosphere in the guesthouse that is homelike and friendly, where everyone is treated as family. Guests can be themselves here and often come back to stay with us, again and again.
We like to be transparent in the way we run the
guesthouse. The work requires a full time commitment- no free Sundays..!
It helps that we, the three Aurovilian staff members, know five languages
amongst each other, and although there are moments when I feel totally
stressed and need to get away from it all, most of the time this work
IS my get-away.. In it I find all that I need for my inner progress,
and more: peace, warm contacts, loyal workers..
What I would like to see realised in Auroville is Aurovilians trusting each other more, and ourselves as well.
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