The purpose of my journey became clearer and everything came
together like the pieces of a puzzle: leaving home, reducing my
luggage, and living an ascetic life.
I continued my journey and after two years of traveling I finally
arrived in India. It was here that I witnessed a new level of
poverty. Shocked to see countless undernourished children in the
streets begging for food, I had sleepless nights. I felt that I had
to do something for them, and thought of ways to take action. I
was nearing the end of my travels, but returning home now and
ignoring what I had just seen was out of question. But where
should I begin? I needed help.
I made a trip to the city of Bodhgaya, the place of Buddha’s
enlightenment. One morning I went out for breakfast and
discovered a fried potato dish that reminded me of home. The
name of the dish is Asha Nasta, which means Breakfast of Hope.
And hope came to me at that meal in the form of a new friend.
An Indian man sat down next to me and introduced himself
as Murari Singh, the owner of the restaurant. Soon we had a
lively conversation going. I related the story of my journey, from
time spent with farmers in China to the insights I had gained
when confronted with the immense poverty of India. I spoke of
my hope of helping. Murari is very kind and a great listener.
After I finished talking he said: Let’s make a change! We were
both smiling broadly and I knew that Murari would be the right
person for me to work with. We sat there the rest of the day and
shared ideas for potential projects.
In Germany I had always admired the work of soup kitchens
that provide free food for people who cannot afford to pay for
a meal. When I described them to Murari he loved the idea of
We calculated a budget for a soup kitchen in Bodhgaya. The
result made me speechless: 5 Euros would suffice to cook a daily
meal for one person for a whole month! I gave Murari a big hug,
promised him I’d be back in six months, and booked a flight to
At home in Germany my friends and I founded the organization
A Bowl of Compassion and commenced promoting the charity.
At the same time, I took a job, saving as much money as I could.
With the help of my friends within six months we had raised
enough for a budget of 500 Euros a month to last two years.
Amazed and excited, I returned to India, where Murari and I
began cooking food for the people. The soup kitchen counted 50
visitors daily, and with the support of our donors we launched
two primary schools. Now, local teachers and international
volunteers educate and feed more than 200 students at A Bowl