Monday, August 23, 2010

The garden project, revisited

My garden class was moving along swimmingly until we hit a pretty big road block. After we made the tablones (raised beds) in the ground at the site for our garden, we had to wait to put up a fence before we could plant any seeds or transfer any of the growing plants out of the seedboxes. It is very necessary to have a fence because of free roaming chickens. A chicken drive by could ruin all the hard work you've put into a garden within minutes!

I was told the teachers would put up a fence and have the kids plant seeds and transplant the other growing plants while I was away visiting the Iguazu falls in Argentina, when I came back they told me they were sorry they didn't do it and they couldn't do it without me! (Idk maybe they need me as a cheerleader or just someone who keeps showing up and pushing them). So they asked if I would come help them during the winter break which is 2 weeks in July, the same 2 weeks I would be in the States. Upon returning from Los Estados Unidos I learned that the government tacked on another week of break due to cold (they wouldn't last a Jersey winter then!). So by the time I got back to the school there was still no fence up and the plantitas (transplant plants) were muerta (dead).

"We must begin again!" they told me. "But this time we shall plant the plants right here in the school in containers, just the plants that will grow in the winter".
This is what I suggested we do in the first place but I suppose they had to get to that conclusion their own way. So we began once again. This time some students brought some wooden crates from fruit stands and some brought abono (fertilized or composted soil) which we put right into the boxes after lining them with plastic garbage bags with drain holes. The teachers told me where they wanted them to be which is in between these two buildings in a kind of alleyway next the sink. This area probably gets about two hours of sunlight a day, I told them this but...many times... but hey, at least it's close to the sink. I told them if they don't start to sprout better move the location.

Last friday I stopped by to talk to the principal of the school with Lauren, a volunteer who lives close by. While there one of my students came into the office and told me that kids had walked all over our garden, Lauren and I went to look. It didn't appear to be stepped on but there was garbage in one, and all of them were without sprouts. Sigh. Bad location and no one taking the initiative to water them even though I told them and the teacher make sure they get water every day!

I asked lauren how much do I hold their hands with these projects? I know they wanted a school garden and I tried twice to help them with that but I can't be the only person trying, they need to take some initiative as well! How many times do I have to repeat simple things like how much sun a day they should get and how they need water every day... to teachers??!!

Well I tried. And my garden is coming along nicely! The next project I'm working on is a big one. We call it the festival de aves (bird festival) and it's to raise awareness of the importance of birds. It's been done in my site since 2007 and I'm happy to carry on the tradition. More to come.

1 comment:

  1. How frustrating that must all be. I'm sure the kids are learning a lot, though, and maybe they'll take the knowledge home and make their own little huertas. Let us know when the bird festival will be! (PS-My daughter wants to know if the books you have listed on the side are actually IN Paraguay, or if you're reading ebooks.)