While I try to maintain the charade that I am frolicking around Kedougou, eating bean sandwiches, playing with puppies and hosting parties–surprise, surprise I actually do work! Crazy, I know. Humor me for a sec while I brag about how I am being all awesome and helping people in Africa. I promise I will get back to the frolicking next week…
The project that I have dedicated the majority of my time over the past couple of months is a garden for an HIV/AIDS support group in Kedougou. I call it The AIDS Garden–but as the title of this post suggests this name is somewhat misleading. I am not actually growing AIDS. Instead, I am teaching a really awesome motivated group of people all about how to plant a beautiful and diverse garden that they can use to improve their nutrition and supplement their income.
The garden is completely funded by an outside NGO (which means I am not seen as madam moneybags–in fact I am pretty sure the group thinks I am a poor crazy white homeless girl, because I usually show up sunburnt, wearing my dirty work clothes and dragging a rag-tag assemblage of local tools).
Getting the garden up and started took an incredible amount of time and work, unfortunately many members of the group are sick and unable to do hard physical labor. So we problem solved and decided to hire a gardener (Mama Saliou–the guy in the photo below). Now he does all the heavy lifting, and I just show up a couple times per week to teach the group simple gardening tasks, like planting, transplanting and watering. Yeah, I am essentially like their gardening Jedi Master. This is not an exaggeration. When I taught them how to tie up tomato plants, I got a round of applause. Seriously. Tie the tomatoes you must. Sad they will be with no support.
Check out our before and after pics. Aren’t they a Peace Corps volunteer’s wet dream?
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent the positions or views of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Peace Corps.
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