A post from my husband 🙂
Recently I had the privilege of working with a small group of 7 men from Vanuatu who are in New Zealand on a four month contract working in local vineyards. These men leave their own country to work elsewhere to pay for their children’s education and their communities needs. Although they were very hard working and made by our standards a modest wage, with our high cost of living they found it hard to save much money, as a consequence they were eating poorly to try and boost their returns. The fact they couldn’t send as much home as they had hoped was causing a loss of pride and they were becoming demoralised.
I suggested to their leader they may wish to utilise what spare ground we had left in our back yard to grow some vegetables (a strip that was our back drive into our property we rarely used). Using donations from friends, neighbours and ourselves of seeds, seedlings, sheep manure and pea straw etc, they eagerly turned this patch of unproductive grass into a garden in a single mornings work.
Within just 3 – 4 weeks they were harvesting their first crops; silverbeet and rocket. For the past two months they have been around twice a week to tend the garden and pick increasing quantities of vegetables – for the past month filling supermarket bags of beetroot, beans, silverbeet, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini they left to grow into marrow etc. In the earlier weeks we gave them spare produce from our garden to supplement their diet, they were very grateful for this and proud to leave some in their own for us to repay, even though it wasn’t required.
Not only did they show an improvement in general health but their spirits were greatly lifted. They left to return home this morning leaving behind fond memories and a freshly planted or productive garden to be handed over to the next crew due to arrive in a couple of months, who in turn will replant for when this same crew return next summer (hopefully!) Their sense of community spirit is admirable.
A small sample of what they were getting from this.
These men are deeply religious and blessed their garden before they began; and being a keen gardener myself I have to say I was blown away by how quickly everything grew and flourished. Their garden was tended with pride and faith and responded.
Remember this was lawn just 3 months ago. The garden is, without the potatoes, just 9 metres x 3 metres.