Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bracing for Reentry

It has been a whirlwind of a summer, which officially ended last Friday with both Autumn Equinox and the last day of the internship we were leading for Peris and Mary. Two days later we took them to the airport, and two days after that we got word that they had arrived safely in Nairobi. Big sighs of relief all the way around.
As a result of our combined attentions we dug all that could be dug in the garden, kept weeds at bay, harvested reliably, threw a great garden tour, built a solar food dehydrator, built a solar box cooker, and froze, canned, and dried food. The rest of the workday was spent with lecture time, discussion, presentations by Peris and Mary on the topics we were covering, and working through the 10 forms Ecology Action has devised to bind diet, sustainability, and income together (quantitatively) in a small area.
Outside of garden time Peris and Mary had the opportunity to experience many potlucks, share their traditional food with the friends they made, speak to a number of groups about the situation in Kenya and the work of G-BIACK, play cornhole, visit the Great Darke County Fair, tour a few market gardens and a conventional farming operation, see an Aikido ranking, and read just about every book on the topic of agriculture available in the Dayton Public Library system (thanks to Zach and Wendy). As I mentioned in my last post, I plan to write more about some highlights in the future.
The internship took nearly all of our energy, but was extremely rewarding in that Peris and Mary both feel better prepared to work against the poverty, sickness, and food insecurity that are a constant pressure on Kenya. We, in turn, have learned effective techniques to care for certain crops, concepts in water efficiency, and countless other pieces of wisdom to help us run the garden better, to say nothing of the inspiration we were given every time one of them would say "Just wait, in ten years this place will be beautiful. It will be worth all the hard work you are doing now."
So now, as we face a short Fall of corn and sorghum harvest and grain and cover crop planting, then a long winter of planning for next year, we'll also be looking back in gratitude for the time we've had with Peris and Mary. If you have a moment, please take some time to consider the state of the world, and be grateful that there are people like Peris and Mary out there working tirelessly on a community level to make it better.