Sunday, June 13, 2010

Growing up in Timu

Not us...the gardens. Well, maybe us too. It's been rainy season since March of this year and that means everyone is digging and planting in their gardens. I couldn't resist and had to throw some seeds out there myself to see what would grow in Timu. But to start with, the season had to open with white ants emerging from the ground. A delicacy for the people. They collect them, pull off the wings and fry them up or eat um raw. This boy is proud of his collection efforts.
I saw this 'test' plot that an NGO is helping the people with and decided we needed nursery beds ourselves.
Although I like to learn to do these things myself, I don't get very far with a hoe before some Ik comes into the compound and confiscates the tool. They don't like to see me working hard. It's a kind gesture. The man preparing our nursery beds is Philip, our long-time language helper.
This is pastor Jacob of the pentecostal church in Timu. He helped to build structures that would protect the nursery beds from the sun and also provide a better watering system.
The finished structure...
This is something I planted myself...white potatoes. I took a handful of potato parts/skins and dug a hole for them. Three months later, this is the result. At 6500 ft. in elevation, it's cool enough in Timu for potatoes to thrive.
Terrill started some banana trees on our compound.
I also planted rows of English peas and green beans. It's fun to watch them get bigger.
Finally, after two months of watching other people dig, I got the hoe and went to it. I needed to transplant some onions and tomatoes so had to prepare some ground for them. It's harder than it looks. The first couple swings are easy but then the callouses form on the palms and the lower back starts to ache. People loved watching me through the fence. I must have had 25 people stop and ask what I was doing and what was growing in the garden. Our compound has now become a regular stop in the neighborhood.
We try to utilize every free space in the compound during rainy season. These are my transplanted onions and tomatoes. There is also an avocado tree started in front of the banana trees.
Some of the produce of our labors. Unfortunately...or maybe fortunately...the Ik will be the ones enjoying our garden this month. This is a tulel (eggplant). Everyone begged for it but the groundskeeper and his family will most likely get it. We'll see what remains in our garden by the time we get back in July. I can't get upset by the locals eating our food because I hope in some small way it's improving their health.