Yesterday there was a nice group of people together in Antje’s house and I enjoyed some talk with them. We were of course asked about the Ashram and as always also what it would cost if one came to stay there. And I answered that we are not a hotel or guest house but an Ashram. We do not have any charges per person per night but you can give a donation for our school projects.
It is a nice feeling to be able to say this but unfortunately we had several bad experiences, too. There are many people travelling in India who are just looking for a cheap place to stay. Our idea is that everybody should be able to stay here; also those, who cannot afford much. However there are some people who even pay 50 to 70 Euros per night in other places but when they come to us, they give us a donation that equals 2 Euros per night. They stay at the Ashram, have great food together with us which is prepared by my mother and her helpers, they sit in the garden, which is something that hardly any hotel here can offer, and they do meditation in the cave in which I spent so much time in meditation. But they do not value it.
One group of people said that they don’t have any money right now, they would give a donation over the internet but we never heard anything of them anymore. Another person just left the Ashram one morning with the backpack and never came back after six days staying with us.
I do not want to give any prize because this is my home, my parents live here, my grandmother lives here. I sleep here. If any poor traveller comes and there is no other place, I will open my bedroom for this person. How much should I charge for that? But we also have expenses and with this kind of experience we are in loss! I believe those people cheated on us.
So our accountant sat together with Purnendu and calculated how much we actually spend for water, heating or cooling, and maintaining the Ashram as well as for paying all the people who are cooking, cleaning and helping. They calculated that we spend approximately 22 Euro per person per day. And this is what we will tell people now when they seriously consider staying at the Ashram and ask us what they should give. We have these expenses and we would like to see them covered. If you felt good and you like our projects, we appreciate a higher donation. Of course you are supporting our projects by supporting the Ashram expenses!
I also do not want my friends to start counting now, please don’t do that, I do not really think in this way for family and friends. I am talking about people who are complete strangers to me and my family and who would go into a nice hotel if our Ashram was not there. The Ashram is our home and this alone makes it already nicer than any hotel that you can be in. You get food cooked with love, the garden is taken care of with much love and we all are around. Of course you can get a room in 10 Euro, too, but that will be a guest house that can cover its expenses from this money.
Today our friend Jürgen came to Cologne in the morning and did us a great favor in picking us up and bringing us to Erkelenz where Sonja and Peter welcomed us.