“You gotta see this”! my husband exclaimed as he enticed me toward the back of the house. And there they were, 2 big, black bulls crudely yoked together, tethered to a plow and to Bonhomme who was guiding them down the short rows of the new garden plot.
The use of the bulls seemed radical to me because the garden plot was really pretty small. But they were effective and for Dos-Palais that is what they use to till their gardens. But those were way up on the surrounding hills, not in the backyard. What spectacle!
It was exciting to finally see our special gift of 2 drip watering systems finally being opened and plans studied in preparation for the new garden. Anticipation was building and a few local “gardeners”, I would call them business gardeners for they grow their crops to send to market in Port-au-Prince, came to watch. They heard by word of mouth that a new concept was in the works and they were on hand to witness this new idea.
In Haiti, the dry season was fast approaching and fresh produce would soon become scarce. Life will become stressful and food hard to find save purchasing supplies in town. Maybe this idea of a garden close to the house will smooth the transition of seasons especially for those living so close to the poverty line.
The bulls and Bonhomme finished up tilling the garden and the men got to work making rows and stretching out hoses. Bonhomme quickly used his machete to make the stand for the 5 gallon bucket. It really came together pretty fast.
Wissel produced his heirloom vegetable seeds from his luggage, seeds that were especially purchased for the project. Soon the seeds were in the ground and watered. Then Hurricane Sandy arrived.
The instructions included information on how to make raised beds so that tropical storms would not wash away the seeds or plants. Would it work?
Several days went by before we could return to check on the status of the garden so it was with great anticipation that we headed to Dos Palais for our last visit before returning to the US.
We were thrilled to see the first sprouts of a very promising garden and a very happy Bonhomme. The heavy rain did not disturb the sprouting seeds. It worked like the instructions said it would.
How exciting that such an inexpensive unit could make such a difference in the lives of this small town. $14 for each unit was all it took to make a possible change in the diet and nutrition of a family.
After tilling the new garden, the bulls were staked by the outhouse for a few hours which made me think twice about heading out that way for a visit. I’m sure they were docile but for a city gal, I wasn’t taking any chances.
This fun little project was so inexpensive to purchase but made such a big difference to the people in Haiti. It is our hope to send a tub full of “garden potential” soon.