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COMPLETING THE GARDEN
pictureToday was planting day, but before we started planting, we decided to move the one drip line set that Mike had gotten from Stanford as it was giving us some problems collapsing on itself.  We gave it its own bed with fewer lines and with better pressure we figured it would work much better.  This let Mike use the 8th bucket and stand but meant we had to actually do some digging to prepare a new bed (just a 6’ x 50’).  We didn’t get too far along before our helpers dove in and took over much of the work (so I didn’t have much room to whine about it as it turned out).  When we were finished, the system (with just 4 lines) worked great and we were ready to plant (one seed every place the drip line left a wet spot!).

pictureLots of the team got in on the planting (guess they’d been reading “Chicken Little”).  With 60 drip line rows operational, we planted most of them but left 15 rows open for them to plant later (maybe in a staggered planting schedule to extend the harvest).  We planted 4 rows of potatoes from the farmers’ market potatoes Mike brought from home, 8 rows of tomato plants (from the nursery plot already growing against the far fence) + 8 rows of tomato see + 8 rows of green beans (2 varieties of bush bean) + 8 of cabbage + 4 of zucchini + 1 row 2/3 honeydew melon and 1/3 cucumber.  Each row end, Peter planted with cucumber to make use of the drips off the connections.  The system we set up on the new bed actually did more squirting than dripping and essentially watered the entire bed as opposed to just individual spots.  So we planted it closer together with beets, carrots and green beans each covering 1/3 of the bed. picture In the row closest to the front fence, we planted the back half as an experiment with kale, broccoli and cauliflower.  Echo, the gardening experts who helped Project Mercy, suggested those plants but we were not so sure how well they’d do or how well they’d be received.

pictureWe looked at the completed garden and felt real excitement at the potential harvest and what it could mean to these villagers accustomed to hunger, even famine, and who had been subject to the whims of rainy season weather for centuries, perhaps millennia.

Mike wanted to check out the well and generator, so we ended the afternoon with a procession through the village.  Well, actually we walked along the road to the well passing scattered huts and fields of corn.  Abainish and Pastor Matthewos led the way.  pictureWe were met all along the way by adults and especially by children, many reaching out to hold our hands and walk with us.  Donkeys and goats grazed nearby, calves and baby goats were there to pet, even to hold. 

Someone asked and Abainish graciously acceded to show us the inside of her hut.  It seemed larger inside than its outer appearance.  pictureMud walls in the round, thatched peak roof, and inside, a divider separating bedroom from general room (or kids from adults?), fire pit against the far wall.  It was so dark that it was some time before our eyes began to adjust.

pictureThis walk was a delightful community event.  After running the generator and viewing the well, elevated tank, and the 2 other water access stations (besides the one by the school), we walked back up the hill to the school compound.

pictureThen we packed up and took the school teachers to the Sabana resort with us.  We treated them to dinner along with Getachew, Pastor Matthewos and our 2 bus minders.  Heidi provided the entertainment as she struggled not to make a mess with her Doro W’et (traditional chicken stew and injera).  The table erupted with laughter as she compared her mess with the flawless technique of the teachers.  They were delightful company and apparently this had been a very rare treat for them.   It had been a great day!