My adorable 'bati' site mate, Shawn!, showed up and took a bunch of photos of the Garden. It is EXPLODING! The women are hard on the work, its a beautiful sight to see all the green in a land that right now is so brown. They are working on spacing primarily, they like to plant things very close together thinking that more produce will grow, but that is not correct. They have planted lettuce, eggplant, carrot, onion, hot pepper, sweet pepper, tomatoes, okra, bitter tomatoes, and a bunch of random seeds that they get from local NGOs. The random seeds are surprises that appear in the garden, them calling me over to always ask what it is, so far I've seen things like Swiss chard and beets. They are confused by red lettuce, thinking that it was a weed, but were delighted that it tastes the same as green lettuce. We have planted 16 citrus trees ranging from pomegranate to orange. I am in the process of having them plant moringa intensive beds, which is a bed of trees planted 10 cm apart, and then cut off at a meter high so they produce leaves like bushes. Moringa is a miracle food here, being very high in all nutrients and easy to grow.
The garden is a little slice of heaven, but not without its problems. We have had problems with the well digger, but after hiring another one, I think we have solve that problem. The women are angry and jealous when some women grow food better than they can, but that's not a problem I am here to solve. We had a problem of people stealing each other's food, we now lock the garden in the middle of the day and overnight. Although this culture is very hospitable and always willing to give to guests, they are more stringent with one another and would rather give someone food than just have them take it. At this time of the year, things are becoming a bit more difficult with food availability and everyone's crop yields are running low. So the garden is an essential part to their food security and income generation. The women and children have been walking around to surrounding towns and selling some of their produce like tomatoes and okra. Making a few dalasi here and there to buy more rice, the staple food. There is also a new lumo (a weekly market) about 1k away, when the lumo is more established it will be a great place for the women to sell their produce, a larger market for a larger demand. Were so lucky!!
|Explaining differences in lettuce|
|Using groundnut shells as soil protection, it helps the soil retain moisture and prevents weeds.|
|All that green...|
|Carrying water, keeping the vegetables alive, women hard at work.|
|Shawn! also "Mariama Sowe" we've adopted her into Fatty Kunda. |
She road her bike the entire length of the country!