Nandulal has recently returned from 7 months in Iraq. He had finished his 4 years of active duty and was out of the Marines but then got involuntarily recalled for a year. He did training,  went to the sandbox, came back to the US and did a couple of months in California before being released. He then spent a month camping in Yosemite National Park and attended Burning Man before returning to New Vrindaban to visit his mother.

He was in the last Marine unit in Iraq which has been scheduled for withdrawal. Once they leave there will be no more Marines in Iraq. His job was inventorying and scheduling for shipment equipment that had accumulated in Iraq  since the invasion.

He now plans to attend college in California.

We invited him and his mother, Paramdhama, over for lunch.  He said that in Iraq the mess halls were run by subcontractors who were mostly staffed by workers from India and Pakistan so that once a week they had Indian food day which wasn’t as good as NV cooking but still welcomed. He noted that also on his base were all the fast food franchises like Taco Bell, McDonalds and numerous others.

Besides some regular stuff including fresh garden produce we were able to offer him some things he had never had before like home grown bitter melon.

Just the day before I had gone out with Soma on a gathering mission. He knows where all the paw paw patches are in our part of the Ohio Valley are so we had hit one of those and I had come home with a bagful that I was able to share with Nandulal. He had never had those before.

Soma has also got permission to gather Chinese chestnuts on the grounds of a local tourist attraction, the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex where there is a 47′ (14 m) high Indian mound, one of many original ones in this area that Moundsville is named after. There is a museum there.

We had gathered 5 gallons(19 liters) of the Chinese chestnuts so we were able to roast some of those for Nandulal also.

Soma is really into food bearing tree planting and acquiring the knowledge needed for growing, harvesting, and preserving tree food crops.  We have a dream of having 1000 fruit and nut trees planted in New Vrindaban over the next ten years so if devotees ever have to take shelter here we will have a good shot at feeding them.

Vegetable and grain planting can be ramped up as needed but the best time to plant trees is 20 years ago so we need to get started so 20 years from now there will be an abundance in New Vrindaban.