Empowering Future Gardeners

My primary responsibility is teaching English and computers at school, but like most PCVs, I have started up a secondary project: improving the school garden and teaching people to start/improve their home gardens. It’s pretty fun. I play with manure, fall into freshly dug holes, pour enough water and dirt into my shoes to make 3 mud pies, and empty clods of dirt out of my cuffs at the end of the day. Seriously, I love it! My nails may be permanently encrusted with Kalahari sand, and my feet are about 10 shades darker than the rest of my body, from all the dirt, but it is going amazingly well. I have a counterpart who is driven, works hard, and loves what she does. Ask other SA PCVs and you’ll discover this is extremely rare.

I looked at some pictures of the garden that were taken in February, and WOW!!! so much has changed! We had maybe 10 beds in operation, and they were suffering. I counted today-we have 49 (forty-nine!!!) beds! Some are smaller seed beds, but all are in operation, or will be in the next week or so. We also cleared some more land this week, so we can add several more beds in the near future. We also have installed an herb garden and a courtyard flower garden. Plus, the Grade R garden has been expanded and is doing well. Today we had 3 classes, so easily 150 kids, in the garden, learning, watering, digging, and clearing land, and they seemed to enjoy and were having fun. Even the teachers were out there helping.

Life can be hard as a PCV, but days like this make everything worth it. I spent the day half in the garden and half finishing up the application for the EduPlant school gardening competition. It ended up being nearly 25 pages long, with pictures, diagrams, future plans, and list of participants and volunteers, and I think our school stands a good chance at making it through the first round. And next year-watch out. If that much change happened in 2 months, just wait and see what we can do in a year.

-Jen

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About Jen Daugherty

Christ follower. Writer. Permaculturist. RPCV. Photographer. Real Food Eater. Daughter of God.

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