There is a lot of training that needs to take place before a microfarm is set to leave in the hands of our partners without us checking in on a regular basis. We want success for them! So, we make sure that we are there to hold their hand through the process, until they feel comfortable on their own.
And then, sometimes, there’s an anomaly …
We had a team from English in Mind Institute volunteer to help at a project site and we had to get the Zanfan (the former street kids’ home) project planted. It was a fast and fun planting. The EIM folks seemed to have a blast watching and helping the kids do the planting. But it was during a weekday, and most of the bigger kids were at school. So the only instruction that was left was “make sure it gets watered every day”. We knew we’d be returning in a few days to really train some of the older kids – we expected to have to replant several as well. (We always anticipate several plants dying after transplant, and then maybe a few from lack of water too. Watering is a habit that can sometimes take a week or so to get into.)
When we returned, the little kids ran leading the way – they were anxious to help again. We followed them back and (to our surprise) found the plants alive, healthy and watered!
We set out to assess the need for shade, weed, etc. And as we did, a young man stood off to the side, observing and keeping the little kids in line. When we had done all we needed to that day, we asked him, “Who has been watering this?” He quickly answered that he had been watering it every morning and waited for our response. “Well, you are doing a really great job!”
Relief spread over his face and a smile broke free – his whole face appeared to light up! Then, he pointed our attention to just beyond the banana trees. He proudly showed us his rows of freshly planted mayi (corn). We left with our hearts full of joy … THIS is what we hope for with every single project – for those who genuinely have a vested interest to reveal themselves, take initiative, and we take them under our wing so they can share it with others.
We returned a few days later with a gift for Kervens … seeds. He was excited and wanted to plant them immediately. So he got to work and we helped him (rather than vice versa). It was a joy to be part of.
We don’t know Kervens’ history, but we can tell you his future looks pretty bright.
(see a clip of Kervens cutting rows for peppers – click on the image to the left)