Thursday, October 2, 2008

Millet, moringa, neem, baobab, veggie starts

Baobab seedling
For several weeks now--months, even--I've been prepping areas around my hut for gardens. It's really gratifying to see what was just solid, heat-baked clay and sand be transformed into something that more closely resembles soil! After chopping at the slate-like plots with every tool available (village-made hoe/ax and big sticks), I mixed in manure that my neighbors gave me. They watched with great amusement as I shoveled their goats', cows', sheep's, and donkeys' poop into my big "I Love Africa" bucket. Since then I have been adding water and millet chaff. And now: I have four garden beds! With plantable soil! Well wait, "plantable soil" does not make sense , but you get it, right? And in the meantime, the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and collards that I seeded are close to ready for planting.

I should clarify what I wrote about my neighbors: while at first they were just amused about my garden project, they quickly saw I was earnest about it and helped me collect and carry everything home! Ibrahim asks about it every day, and my women neighbors Lahadi, Abu, and A'i are ever-curious. This morning I was hacking away at a new bed when Karima, an influential village lady who sells odds and ends and goro (kola nut) from her home, and Aoma'u came by with Narba. Narba was so funny. She led them all around my concession, showing off all of the work I've done: my two meager rows of millet (now almost as tall as me!), the moringa, neem, and baobab trees, the beds I've dug, and the little veggie starts. I was dripping with sweat and covered in sand and goat poop, and even goat fur, but I stood there proudly as Narba clucked away.

Mature baobab tree
Photo by Brett

1 comment:

Josiah Tapper said...

Beautiful & inspiring Story;-)