A Report of "Hands-on-Activity" 2014

In 2014, three Hands-on Activity (a summer internship program) were organized in India (Delhi, Bengaluru, and Darjeeling).

Special thanks to the alumni who supported these program with great hospitality!!

The following is the report from a student who joined the program in Makaibari Tea Estates, Darjeeling.


December 4.2014

Learnings from Makaibari



I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Banerjee and all the members of the Makaibari Tea Estates for welcoming us to Makaibari in September 2014. During our stay in Makaibari, I believe I learned a lot, and especially, three very important things about life were made clear.


First is how to live with nature. I had heard about organic agriculture before going to Darjeeling but had never heard about the way of Makaibari, the way to be connected with the cosmos. I feel that it is not only agriculture in Makaibari but also the people in Makaibari live connected with the cosmos, live in cycle with nature because nobody is in a hurry. In Japan, people are pressed by work, or for time and are very punctual. To meet the deadline, working all night is not unusual. Additionally, when we are not hard pressed for time, we often stay up late because there are lots of entertainments: cellphone, TV, internet, games etc. Also, even at night, many shops are open and there is never total darkness. In Makaibari I cannot use the internet or my cellphone at all. Before spending three days in Makaibari I had thought that it would be very inconvenient. However, in Makaibari I felt free not being connected all time. I realized I was tired of being connected all the time in Japan. I was being consumed by my cellphone. In Makaibari, I went to sleep when it got dark, and got up with the sun. I could adapt to the rhythm of nature, and I felt very fresh. There was no entertainment, completely different from Japan, but nature and living together with nature made me feel fresh. I had never felt this feeling in Tokyo. To live with nature’s rhythm is not to be tossed about by entertainment, but to live according to man’s natural time. This idea is not difficult but I think in Japan many people cannot live this way, and therefore, many people end up with mental problems, many cruel incidents always occurring and the use of drugs spreading.


Second, I felt warmth of the people. At my homestay, my host mother showed me photo albums of her family. My host mother told me happily when and where the photos were taken. When I looked at photos I had a very warm feeling because I knew how precious she valued her family. Moreover, most houses in Makaibari do not have closed off fences, so neighbors are very close. A girl from a neighboring house came to play and my host mother treated the girl as her own daughter. At first, I thought the girl was her real daughter. In Japan, the way things happen in rural areas is a little similar to that in Darjeeling. In my hometown Shizuoka, I know my neighbors and often went to play at a neighbor’s house when I was a child. Now when I go back to my hometown and take a walk, my neighbors still often speak to me. However, In Tokyo I don’t even know the person next door to my apartment. Links between humans are missing. In Tokyo, there are many things to do and lots of entertainment, and I can contact anybody anytime. However, I can feel lonely when I am alone in my house. In Makaibari, people value their family and others, so I was made aware how precious direct interaction between people is.


Third, I wondered what happiness really is. Japan has lots of food, goods, and entertainments. However, the people I saw people in Makaibari seemed happier than the people in Japan. I think the work in Makaibari is never easy because I was very tired having only walked through the field. I felt people working in Makaibari were proud of their works. Their faces were very fresh, different from the faces of workers seen in the jam-packed train of Japan. I often heard that material wealth does not always lead to happiness, and now I understand the meaning of this phrase truly having been to Makaibari. I want to help people who suffer from poverty in the future, so I have to keep asking myself what is true happiness.


In this age of development in science and technology, life becomes more and more convenient. Mr. Banerjee told us that industry is important, politics is important, but the environment is also important. I think good environment, especially nature makes people fresh. I am often tossed about by my cellphone, but I have to live in my own time, my natural human time connected with nature’s rhythm. This type of life can make the spirit healthy, and with this healthy spirit we can work and study hard and consider how to make others happy and act. I want to live remembering to live with nature’s rhythm imagining the scene of Darjeeling. I intend to work hard to makes people truly happy in the future as they do in Makaibari.



Satsuki NAGURA (Ms)

2nd Year, Faculty of Education

The University of Tokyo