Here is another group from the HIV/AIDS clinic that has signed on to grow a garden. It is a young family and some of their neighbors that want to work together to grow food for themselves. The ground has been prepared and hopefully we will be able to plant the seedlings within the next week.
Here is a family that Josh has been working with on their garden. It is a young mother that Josh met at the HIV/AIDS clinic. She is a new patient there. She has just started her anti-retroviral treatment. She was previously very sick and is still very thin but seems to be improving since she started treatment. She is a perfect candidate for a garden because she will really benefit from the vitamins and minerals that fresh vegetables can provide her. She lives in a small shack with her daughter and boyfriend who immigrated to South Africa from Mozambique.
our first cauliflower! it was so yummy
behold! the first cabbage from our garden!
Since we have started this garden project I (abby) have been involved quite a bit. I have been through the township and met a lot of the people Josh is working with and visited some of the gardens. But I haven’t been an active participant in actually planting any of the gardens, until Tuesday.
On Tuesday, our normal morning meeting was cancelled so we dropped Noah off at play school and I was able to go, bringing Nathan, to plant a garden with Josh. Last week Josh had prepared the ground so it was ready just waiting to be planted. The garden is for a young woman Josh met at the HIV/AIDS clinic. She is in her late 20′s, same age as us, and she has two children, one three and a baby about 3 months. She lives in a small cinder block house, and by small I mean her whole house would fit in our bedroom, with her children, her boy friend, her sister, and her sister’s child. They have electricity but they don’t have running water or a toilet inside their home. Outside there is a outhouse with running water, a toilet inside and a sink outside. Her name is Rachel. She is living in a community called JCC. It is one of the poorest areas in Mossel Bay. From where she lives it continues on to disintegrate from a neighbor hood with “houses” and roads to makeshift dwellings built on the hillside with no roads, running water and electricity.
When we arrived at Rachel’s home she was busy washing her clothes in the outside sink and hanging them up on the line to dry. We worked together to get the soil ready for the little seedlings. Adding compost and some other things to improve the soil and then together we planted the seedlings. Beets, cabbage, collards, onions and carrot seeds. It was so amazing to work together with her and see how excited she was to have this small garden. We also had quite a few spectators. There were a lot of small children coming around to see what was going on. They were all fascinated with Nathan, this little white baby. They all wanted to touch his skin and look at him.
It was such an incredible experience for me. To be together with my husband doing something that was really encouraging a person with very real and tangible needs. It was also so humbling to get that close to someone’s life that lives so close to me and yet leads an entirely different life then me. I loved being there in the community and seeing the people and the children and stepping into Rachel’s little house and hearing a little about her life and holding her baby.
When we left we were able to pray with Rachel and her sister and just bless their little home and the new garden. I am excited to see not only this garden grow and bear fruit but also this relationship, as we use the garden as a tool to be a light and encouragement to this young woman and her family.
Josh and Rachel standing by her new garden
Rachel's oldest daughter
a little neighbor boy