Sunday, August 5, 2012

Garden!

Ever since I moved to Salémata I've been talking about how I should  plant a little garden or my own, but something always seemed to come up. Leaving village for training, being busy with other project ideas, the onset of hot season...

After my mom sent me some seeds from America I started thinking seriously about gardening again, and then Jubal brought some seeds in and we had a little seed exchange in my hut, with our neighbors Jackie and Jess.



Last month I finally got my act together and with the help of my host mom Mariama and my host brother Mamdou I put up some crintin woven bamboo fencing and got started. I cleared out the area between my hut and Mariama's cooking hut where my ancienne (the PCV I replaced) had planted moringa and dug out some simple garden beds. True to it's Pulaar name ("nebbadai" from the English "never die") the moringa she'd put it had survived just fine, despite many months of total neglect. One I cleared out the weeds around them they took off - the photo below left is the day I dug out the beds and below right is less than a week later. Moringa leaves are very nutritious and my family likes to use them to make leaf sauce; cooked moringa is a lot like spinach, which I enjoy.

In the other beds I planted beans, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, radishes, hot peppers, and jaxatu, or bitter eggplant, which looks like a big pale-green heirloom tomato and tastes exactly like bitter eggplant. It's not my favorite, but it's really popular around here.


My host brother Mankaba (Mamadou's youngest brother) helped out by following me around, chattering away, literally describing everything I was doing out loud as I did it, (which is a great way to learn new words) and occasionally chasing off a marauding chicken. He is adorable. 

We'll see how it goes, things are already starting to sprout so I'm pretty hopeful that I'll have a few vegetables to show for it by the time rainy season ends. 

Mankaba, Personal Narrator 
New garden fence, on the right of my hut

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