The title of this post was something one of the garden workers told me awhile back. We weren’t talking about fierce creatures, like snakes, lions, or vicious-flesh-eating-ants. We were talking about….earthworms.
I started a wormery at school in September, and I underestimated how terrified people are of worms here. In the US, some kids will be squeamish about worms, and a few adults will have nothing to do with them. But any gardener worth their weight in compost LOVES worms, and would love to have some in their garden.
Don’t get me wrong, my counterpart was excited to have a wormery. But if she even saw a worm, she’s scream and occasionally run out the door. I found about 2 adults that will stand to touch them. The kids are a little better about it, but when I pass worms around to a class, one inevitably ends up on the ground, quickly rescued by me before hoards of trampling feet claim it. The boys squeal as much as the girls.
Tswanas equate worms with snakes, and do not trust me when I tell them they aren’t. I explained that worms have no teeth, worms cannot bite, and worms are not snakes in Garden Club today, and the club chanted after me in Tswana smiling. Apparently I’ve said this to them more than once!
The good news is that the more I handle worms, the more the kids are willing to touch them. They think I’m less crazy as time goes on, I guess. I had a Garden Club meeting today where kids made their own wormeries to understand how worms turn stuff into compost, so the kids had to face their worm fears. When I took out my camera, most of the squeals turned into smiles, so this is now my secret weapon. Want a picture? Touch a worm!
I even got my counterpart to touch (TOUCH!) a worm today!!! Big BIG big deal!!