Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring break in the garden

After Duke's spring break group returned from Baños, we got our hands dirty with our partner organization, Fundación Añamisi.  Here to share is Mateen!

Slashing at the gnarled weeds, dodging the hundreds of bugs, and digging into the tough ground, we were fighting a battle in Fundación Añamisi's organic garden. In only three days, the garden would be completely planted, and we would have helped move Christian Añamisi's dream forward.  With his partner, Laura Araujo, Christian has been able to create an organic farming business (De la Mata a la Olla, roughly translated as “from the ground to the table”) through which local organic gardens are able to distribute their products to the people of Quito and its surrounding areas over the internet. They both also utilize the knowledge they have gained from this venture to teach other people in the area about organic farming through their organization.

When we arrived at the garden Wednesday morning we were greeted by Christian, Laura, and their two crazy dogs Lupita and Tommy. Christian gave us a quick overview of his projects and proudly showed us some of the many products he sells.   We were all amazed by how Christian and Laura were able to create such a sustainable organic farming business while also giving so much back to the community. It was surprising that organic products would be so popular, especially over the internet in a country where only small percentage of the population own computers. Our work over the week was to clear several plots of land, plant new crops, and harvest corn. When we first arrived, the garden was overrun with tangled weeds, grass, and hundreds (only a slight exaggeration) of spiders. With the guidance of Christian and Laura, we dug our tools into the ground.  Two days and several tarantula encounters later, we had finally conquered the garden. During the last week of work, we planted lettuce, beets, chard, Japanese lettuce and ahí (chili peppers), and it felt good to be able to see the product of all our hard work.

With the garden work finished, we had the opportunity to help Christian with the English class he teaches at the local university.  He had his students record videos with questions in English for us and we recorded answers.  We had so much fun with the videos we decided to send back our own questions for the students to answer.  My time at the garden was definitely one of the highlights of the trip and I hope I have the opportunity to help them more in the future.

The Duke crew in Añamisi's garden
Mateen and Kia working together!
Angela and Miranda listening to one of Christian's student's English questions
Aging chard in the beds we completed weeding!
Beds freshly planted with lettuce and chard


Anonymous said...

So, I know this has nothing to do with your post, but I have just gotten to this page through google due to an interview you did a long time ago to Eliah McCalla. I met him some years ago, and I was wondering if there was any way of getting in touch with him nowadays.



Lisa said...

Love your blog! So glad I found it :)