Entry #30: On the dirt again. Intro to Gardening Part II

Date: 14 June 2019
Time: 8:42pm
Location: Bedroom #6 – TOKYO Dorm

Dirt, ash, and charcoal. The perfect mix to grow my pasta tree.

This is part two of the gardening sessions that we’ve been having and it’s been great putting in our time to put what we learned in the classroom to practice.

Out on the field again?

Chet Ubetcha.

Agriculture is a big part of my AED service while I’m here, along with another business and finance practices such as financial literacy, loans, and implementing systems for the community to pay it forward.

The entire goal, again, is to improve the village’s overall capacity to learn and grow beyond that of just a simple volunteer’s help. It’d be great that I could be leading the charge on everything, but not much good will come out of it when I have to leave at the end of my two year service.

Our service is really centered on teaching, mentoring and supporting our Ugandan counterparts for that long-term prosperity.

Up until now, a lot of the information we’ve received is basically on how to create these long-term plans with the information that we know now.

Sounds like a lot.

Yup. It’s one thing to help setup a garden for your service. It’s another thing to keep that garden alive BEYOND my service. Knowing that, I’m quite nervous about all of this. I’ve been giving this whole “long-term” perspective a lot of thought in terms of what things to plan for in the future. But the same questions keep popping up:

What if I start them off on the wrong foot?
What if I can’t answer the questions that they’re asking?
How can I co-facilitate the charge on something that I’m not even confident with?

Lots of these questions concern what’s going to happen far in to the future, months from now, and while I’m still thinking about these questions, I think the best thing right now is to try and just focus on what’s happening right now. Still though, the anxiety still remains.

More gardening then?


Yesterday, we talked all about keyhole gardens! It was super fun to do it because it was something that was easy enough to learn and helped visualize what we could be doing in our own communities when we are placed on site.

Today, we worked on sack gardens, part II of this introduction to gardening. Yesterday, we were learning about sack gardens, this time, we’re teaching it.

Generally, when we have sector specific things to learn about the health team and AED team split up to learn about their respective field. Our 40-some cohort is split in to two sectors: Health and AED.

The health volunteers in our cohort got to work in the field with us and it was good fun to work between our divisions. It was almost like scenario building because we were teaching others that:

  • Previously unfamiliar with gardening
  • Generally don’t work outdoors
  • Not in their profession

Because of these qualities, we were given a sort of “test” to see how well we could guide our friends in creating our simple sack gardens.

So, what’s in the sack?

Dirt and rocks on lock.

Take a big, empty potato sack and fill it with dirt and rocks. A column of rocks down the center would create a water channel for the rest of the dirt which encompasses this column. Fill ‘er up to the top and you’ve got a sack 🙂

It really is that simple, haha. Putting in the work to do it, it’s a bit of a different story. The whole point of a sack garden is to get started with gardening. A simple garden like this would be great for schools or youth groups alike where instructions and concepts are simple enough to teach and follow.

The concept isn’t limited to just a potato sack, any kind of wide cylindrical shape that can be made such as a tire or a bucket will suffice as well!

It was another great day with the entire Uganda cohort and went great. Not all days will be like this, but I’m glad that we’re all getting along like this so far.

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