Planting in the garden, Lira, UgandaRich Stigall
“(God) took the man (woman) and put him (them) in the garden to work it and take care of it.”
God provided a beautiful place for his children to work in cultivating and harvesting. God walked with them in the cool of the evening in the garden. Amazing to imagine.
She tells us that each Mama and her children have planted their own home garden plot. Together side by side, they work daily hoeing and sowing seeds, weeding and watering, as they grow food for themselves and their community.
Some Saturday mornings, their guardians (designated members of their extended clan and tribe) come to also work and help harvest the abundant crops. Betty proudly points out some of the crops presently growing: beans, maize, avocado, cabbage, cassava, ground nuts, pineapple and mango to name a few. Two growing seasons allow them to enjoy double harvests. Their farm to their table—can’t get any more fresh and organic than that. Cabbages that are enormous—truly, how can you explain a head that is over two feet in diameter? It is like Miracle Grow on steroids! We ask how they can grow such amazing crops, and we are told of Robert who is a permaculturalist who teaches “Farming God’s Way.”
Heads up to Robert—our great green warrior. (see GO Green Warrior, archive)
Later this day our small team of American women are joining together with the Mamas to plant fifty lemon trees around the perimeter of the large garden. We are each given a well used hoe to turn the soil. Mind you, in preparation and to help us, the holes have already been dug by these hard working women. Together we walk gingerly around the rows of newly planted crops, soon we are in a single file line marching with our six-foot-long hoes resting over our shoulders, following Betty our leader.
It seems like time for a song—the one that comes to mind is the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White, all skipping in a line: Heigh-HO! Heigh- HO! It’s off to work we go…then a combined whistling stanza…Heigh- HO, Heigh- Ho, Heigh- HO! We all began singing and soon the Mamas were joining in. Mothers united, we were all laughing so hard we had to stop and catch our breath. Who knew “gardening” could be so much fun when shared together!?
We worked in threes, one set the tree in the hole, the other used the hoe to cover and stomp the surrounding soil and two of the children followed with Jerry cans to water each newly planted tree! VOILA! Heigh- HO, Heigh- HO, 50 lemon trees let’s go!
Next year, who wants to join me to have a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade in Lira, Uganda?
Heigh- HO! Sweet lemonade, let’s GO!