Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trees Please...

Over the past week or so my tree nursery has really started to come together; about 600 strong and growing. And now that I’ve relocated it to a more easily noticed place in the village I’ve been peaking lots of interest. Last year my backyard seemed like the most logical place to put my tree nursery but barely anyone came back to see it. I also worked on some larger seed beds in my family’s garden down by the river and even less people saw that. But over the past few months, my Tokara has been building a dead fence around a fairly large area right next to our compound. Eventually, he wants to be able to build a batiment (a building) for the whole family inside this new area. Of course, until then, he’s using this newly fenced off area to have a garden and tree nursery. Mangos, cashews, eucalyptus, shade trees, thorny trees, orange trees, jatropha, nebadaya… I’m hoping that within the next two weeks I’ll be able to put in at least five hundred more sacks. The proximity to a well is unbelievable. I bought a water bag, 10 meters of rope, and a pulley to do my daily watering. Before I was having to bike to the water pump, fill up a 20 liter jug and bike it back to my backyard twice every morning to water my tree nursery. Now it only takes me two minutes to fill a watering can and bring it to the nursery. I’ve got old mosquito nets up to protect the saplings from frogs and lizards and birds. I’m trying to promote using mosquito nets for the other farmers doing tree nurseries in their own compounds since they are relatively inexpensive (they are sold at cost) and they should be replacing them every year or two. We’ll see if it catches on. Primarily I’m working with the four schools in the neighboring villages this year. They all need more shade outside for the kids so I’ve sectioned off 100 tree sacks specifically for them. I’m also working on a giant wood-lot with a group of farmers from Nemetaba, the bigger village nearby. We are planning on out-planting 250 eucalyptus trees in a field just outside the village. Eucalyptus is great where I live because you don’t have to protect the baby trees once they’ve been out-planted. Nothing eats them. The only concern is that cows don’t trample on them. And my Tokara is really making out like a bandit on this one. I’m using his fenced off land as a model for live-fencing (Jatropha), intercropping, and grafting mangos for the whole village to see. I can only hope that after I leave, someone will plant a few trees next rainy season.
And this week I should have some extra help in the village. A study abroad student is coming to spend 5 days in my village. Last year I hosted two guys, both Jewish, both surfers, and both from places not necessarily known for having lots of Jews or surfers: Mexico and Vermont. It turned out great though. They were happy to get their hands dirty and being mango season and all, who wouldn’t have fun. And as much as I appreciate the beauty of the bush, its nice to be reminded of the beauty that is the village routine.
Ok, hope all is well Stateside. Happy Passover on 4/20 ya’ll.