Wednesday, June 27, 2012

El Jardin

Since I arrived in Sucre my plan was to start a school/library garden in Pampa Aceituno. I see a garden as a way for students to learn how to raise vegetables, study plant biology, understand the importance of a healthy diet, and as a plus, all the vegetables they grow will directly benefit the school. The mothers who cook for the entire student body will use the vegetables from the school garden. Consequently, a garden would not only strengthen the academics, but the school environment as well.

It is only fitting that my last week was when we finally got the garden underway, but that's Bolivia– things don't normally go according to plan or on schedule. I didn't actually get to plant seeds, but I did purchase them (onions, parsley, spinach, celery, and two more that I am drawing a blank on) for the school and I helped prepare the garden plot. The seeds should be in the ground this coming week. The fifth and sixth graders were the students responsible for the initial progress of the garden, instead of their physical education class, they prepared the soil. There were lots of rocks, trash, and other icky stuff in the area that we were converting into the garden. So although the students' physical education class was replaced with gardening– it was still a workout. The girls collected soil in huge grain sacks and lugged them up the hill to the school while the boys dug with shovels and picks. I hope that once a week during physical education class each grade will actual be working in the garden so gardening is almost a class. In addition to the students work, the garden has turned into a bit of a community project– families have been bringing bags of sheep manure and other nutrient rich compost to augment the soil before we put the seeds in the ground.
The boys working up a sweat getting the soil ready for the seeds.
Even though I don't get to see the actual fruits of our labor (pun intended) I am glad that I helped start such a sustainable project in Pampa Aceituno. I hope the garden flourishes and the students, teachers, and parents continue to tend to it for years to come. When I said my goodbyes at Pampa Aceituno the principal and physical education (gardening?) teacher promised to send me photos of the garden.
Director Jorge– the principal!

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