I have been so excited about gardening since I arrived in Swaziland. I asked for a garden at my permanent site, and boy, did Peace Corps deliver! I have about 30 fruit trees (mango, peach, banana, lemon, grape, papaya, and litchee), corn fields, and a lovely vegetable garden (tomatoes, peppers, chard, and lettuce). But I digress.
Peace Corps teaches a type of gardening called permagardening, which is a type of garden with a built-in water retention system and double-dug, raised beds to decrease planting space while increasing
yields. Peace Corps provided one training and one practice session (along with a visit to a local permaculture center called Guba) before we had to build a permagarden on our own.
My language group plus another and their pick-axe-wielding powerhorse of a teacher built our own garden at my family’s homestead. My sisi nearly cried out of excitement when I brought her a few leftover plants a couple weeks ago, so I knew I had found someone who would
attempt to care for our hard work.
Mixing the soil with manure, ash, and charcoal.
She watched in confusion for hours on Sunday while we built a garden unlike any she had seen before. She let us do our thing until planting time, when she spaced the seedlings much closer together than I was anticipating, which is the opposite of what we were told to expect.
Most of the group
All of the children were excited to help work in the garden and the whole family has been concerned about protecting the seedlings from the chickens. So far, all is well with the garden, and I look forward to checking up on it every so often since my permanent site is nearby.