My Secondary Project (which I spent far more time on than my main project-teaching) has been PermaGardening, since I attended a training in March. If you read my blog much, you’ll know how hard I and my school have been working in the school garden the past few months. In May we entered the EduPlant National School Gardening Competition. Because we hadn’t been working in the garden the whole previous year, I was a little afraid the application would amount to nothing.
We’ve been shortlisted!!!! We are having a site visit in two weeks for pre-judging, and if they deem our garden worthy, we have the chance to go to the national competition in Joburg!
You have no idea how excited I am for my school. While I’ve been a driving force for the project at my school, the credit really goes to my enthusiastic counterpart, the learners, and the community members who maintain the garden. I’m so proud of the hard work they have put in, and excited that our little school in a tiny Tswana village is getting noticed by someone!
We are being judged on July 30th, and our garden is thriving despite the Kalahari winter. I was a little afraid that it would be ignored during the three weeks I was gone on vacation, but when I walked up to school on Wednesday, I could see the green from the road! And we even had someone steal the borehole pump over break, so the school was without water for awhile.
Some more good news (seriously, it was a good week), our garden workers will now be paid! A home-based care (which provides support for HIV/AIDS patients, among other things) in the next village has secured funding for 8 people to work 14 days a month at the school, and they will received 800 rand a month for doing that. That is awesome! One of the people will work as a childminder in Grade R, but the others will be working in the garden. So our garden now has paid staff that are dedicated and will start on Monday.
Weeks like this makes being a PCV so worth it! And I felt incredibly reassured that my work here is sustainable when I saw the thriving garden after my weeks of absence.