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I wasn’t sure anyone was reading this so my apologies that I haven’t written in a while. I received an email asking where a new blog was! J
Well, its winter here now and so far we’ve been lucky that it has been a mild winter. A cold front moved in yesterday so I have a feeling the rest of July will be quite chilly. (Yes, it really does get cold in Africa! Here in the South sometimes goats and sheep freeze to death out in the fields.)
So…as for what’s new…I did start the community garden project a couple of months ago. So far I’ve trained 4 different groups of women how to perm garden. Some of the women were from the craft center I work at and the others are cleaning ladies that are part of a support group at the hospital. They were so great to train! Super hard working and full of laughter and song (the one picture I’ll include is of them at the end of their training standing over their plot singing a traditional song). It’s been great to spend two days of the week in the garden. Being able to have complete strangers trust this crazy American woman to teach them how to grow vegetables has been an amazing thing. Maybe in a past life I was a farmer because I find I much enjoy being outside and doing physical work as apposed to inside behind a desk and stuck in a chair. Hmmmm……
Right now there is no training going on at the garden. I fear we might get a freeze and then the seeds won’t grow and the participants from the community will get discouraged and won’t come back. Right now I’m spending my training days cleaning up the piles of brush and trash that were left when the garden was cleaned up while I was gone at training. I’m excited to really clean it up and keep it looking nice.
The garden training is about 4 hours of intense digging so as to loosen the soil and add manure, leftover coal from fires as well as green leaves from trees. The three work together in the soil to make a natural fertilizer and bug repellent. Once the plots are done and planted, it is then up to the planters to come back and water their plots. The women that work at the hospital have the advantage of working near the garden. The women from the craft center have missed several days of watering which is discouraging. That is the one problem with the garden, it’s close to the hospital which is pretty far from the location, the settlement where the poorest people live. It’s quite a hike for them to come and water which is why I train about six people to a plot, so they can all take turns and hopefully have success.
I’ll try to include some pictures from the garden as well as some pictures of animals again. I’m really hoping I can download them for you as it was so amazing to see them up close and personal last December.
I’m planning to travel to Tanzania in November and will take lots of pictures. I hear it looks like “real Africa” as opposed to Namibia, which does look like Africa but not like what you see in TV and magazines so I’m excited to see Tanzania…and take a vacation too! I’m ready for a break. This has been such a great adventure yet at times I become aware of just how far away I am….like in May when my Mom suffered a stroke. Fortunately she is doing better so my sister shared that there wasn’t a need to come home. It is really hard to be supportive of friends and family that I’m so used to being there for from so far away. There have been many weeks of feeling helpless and hopeless when I get emails or phone calls from friends and family in a bad place and I can’t reach out more than to send an email. I’m definitely learning a lot about life and our human connections and even more about myself during this great journey. I’m sure I’ll be changed forever.
I must give a shout out to my great group 33-ers, the folks I came here with. I never imagined getting so close to a group of random strangers in such a short time. Although we started with 23 and are down to 15, we are all still very close and their support has made all the difference in being here. As well as support from friends and family back home too! Please don’t think I’m forgetting you guys! I can’t thank you enough for the emails, letters and cards and even care packages that have come my way via family, friends and even clients! You guys are all the best! Know that I do miss you and think about ALL of you more often then you can imagine.
Okay…this is getting very long. The best to all of you! Enjoy summer in America and know you are in my thoughts.