Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Dorothy Mapira
When I moved into my community, I was shown a house where I would live during my time serving in the community. During the orientation with the landlady, I was shown a grass-made structure that was meant to be my bathroom. I looked at the bathroom, and in my heart, I thought, how could they make this to be a bathroom? It had no roof, just nearby there was a mango tree and it was a mango season which entailed that kids would be spending most of their time in the tree with a clear view inside my bathroom. Inside the bathroom, there were bricks laid as the floor with some grass growing in it. I politely told my landlord and my host that I would not be comfortable to use the bathroom. They told me to use their bathroom as I was waiting for mine to be fixed.
After some days I thought of what I could do with the bathroom. I told them not to fix it again. I had thought of making a kitchen garden. They looked surprised as my landlady told me that the place was small for a garden and she sounded doubtful that I would yield anything from the garden. I never wanted her doubts to overcome my thinking. One early morning I borrowed a hoe and started preparing the place for my garden. No one believed what I was doing, they thought I was just wasting time. They came near to ask what I was doing and all they could say was don’t waste your time. They did not know that they were wasting their time by telling me to stop doing what I was doing.
I made my permaculture kitchen garden, there was a mixture of every vegetable my mind could think of. People still thought I was wasting my time; they did not see what I was seeing. Goats, pigs and chickens broke into my garden several times destroying my plants but I did not quit. I would start all over again and plant new ones. Little by little my garden blossomed, all who thought I was wasting my time started coming to ask for some vegetables. Some decided to start their own kitchen gardens. My garden has all the vegetables I need. I have pumpkin leaves, beans, rabe, mustard, okra, sweet potato leaves, Irish potatoes, maize, tomato and onion. I saved myself from spending extra cash. My little garden has become my friend. When I am stressed up with work in the community and need time for myself, I spend time working in my garden.