Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Sarah Kazira
During Pre-service training, we had a permaculture expert come and talk to us about perma-gardening, and with the way he talked, I saw myself starting a garden when I got to my community.
After some months in my community, I excitedly told my neighbors and my friends I wanted to start a garden in my backyard and they all laughed and said I couldn’t do it. Only one person believed I could manage it, a 15-year-old boy named Innocent (and he has helped every step of the way). I quickly got discouraged and shoved the idea at the back of my brain. Until one day, I woke up and decided I was gonna do it despite what people said. So I woke up early, went to my neighbor, borrowed a hoe, and started tilling the place. My neighbors kept coming by and asking what I was doing. I told them starting myself a vegetable garden. “Are you serious?” they asked over and over again.
The next thing was to make a small fence for the garden. Once I said this people finally realized I was serious and were more than happy to help out. All materials needed for the fence were offered to me for free, some brought me manure, some gave me seeds, and some helped with the labor. So on 08 August 2016, I started my vegetable garden journey.
Its been exactly a month now and the vegetables are growing healthy and right on time. We planted tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, rape (also known as Brassica rapa), beans, and we recently added pumpkin leaves and maize. And this week I was able to get some bean leaves for lunch from the garden. It has been an exciting and educative journey for me. I have never done gardening before so I am learning as I go. Some things I have to be taught, other things I am figuring out myself. I have learnt transplanting, experimenting with different types of manure, and generally how to take care of my little plants as I watch them grow. The watering has been the hardest part. Sometimes I don’t have the energy for it but I know I still have to do it.
One thing I like about my garden is that it has given me something to keep me busy on the days that I am not so busy, sort of like a hobby. If I ever get bored, I just go there and find something to do. It has also been a good conversation starter; people are coming everyday and giving me tips on what I should and should not be doing. What I am most excited about are the tomatoes. I can’t wait until they are all grown and I can start harvesting them.