After the previously mentioned insanity trip to Bray, we settled in for a short 2 day workshop on how to set up sustainable gardens in nutrient-poor soil in arid regions-PermaGardening! When we finally made it into Bray late Monday night, Lorato and I were the “lucky” ones who stayed in the Guest House owner’s house. I had her teenage girl’s room-complete with at least 6 Justin Beiber posters and numerous other young pop stars-eesh. Her family was mysteriously absent, which was good because the shower was literally in the middle of the hallway and had no door…I still don’t understand Africa. 🙂
The workshop was split up into 2 parts-the presentations and the garden creation. A volunteer called Oratile is based in Bray, so we started the garden at her school. It was fun because we didn’t do traditional retangular plots. We made a rainbow, a heart, an arrow, a peace sign, and the South African flag. It was a little difficult to get the shapes right, but fun. We double-dug the trenches and put compost materials and tin cans directly into the soil (to give it more iron). At the end of the second day, after a significant rain delay, we got to plant a bunch of seedlings-onion, beetroot, tomatos, peppers, cabbage, and spinach. The garden looked quite impressive after just 2 days of digging, considering it started out as a bare patch of ground.
The presentations were done in part by an awesome duo-David Patient and Neil Orr. They were at our IST in the HIV/AIDS session, and they came to our PermaGarden workshop to demostrate how gardens can help HIV-positive people. They focused on nutrition and the plants that can provide HIV-positive or AIDS patients with the vitamins and minerals their bodies desperately need. They also touched on income-generation, which would be super cool for the schools to do. We’ll see if it happens. 🙂
Other highlights of the workshop-I got to play with dogs, I had a warthog suck on my fingers (he was bottle-fed as a baby), and I had the same warthog pen me into a house. I was going to leave when the warthog came to the door. I slammed it shut quick, then the warthog proceeded to pound its snout against the door for a bit. When I asked the Afrikaner owner about it, he said they sometimes let him in the house-a warthog! 🙂 We also visited Oratile’s house, which is insanely tiny-I cannot believe how little room she has. And an RPCV (Returned PCV, as in, finished with her service) who lives in Bray came to visit with us. She served about 5 years ago and married an Afrikaner farmer, and now lives in Bray.
Also, Bray is on the border of Botswana, literally. It was about a 5 minute walk from the guest house-something you could visit during a lunch break! 🙂