A garden for Fernando

May 10, 2007  
Topics: Belize, Projects

Fernando was the gardener of the holiday resort in Copper Bank, Belize, where we spend exactly five months. His family was poor and I felt responsible for finding a solution for their bad finanical situation. I got the idea of a garden, which would at least ensure the basic nutrition for the family.

The realization of this project took me some time. Every time when I suggested Fernando to start a garden on his property, he found reasons why “momentary” it was not possible to plant anything. I became sceptical. I was not able to accept his reasons, and asked as long until I found out what was the real problem. Fernandos family tried several times to grow their own vegetables, but whenever they were ready to harvest, neighbours’ children (Fernando assumed in order of their elders) stole each and every piece of their vegetables, when the family was not at home.

A property was needed, which either prohibits entry by fence, or by respect for the owner. The solution appeared clearly in front of my eyes: the holiday resort itself. Parts of it were still pure wilderness. Fernando could work one piece of wild land into a garden, and start growing fruits and vegetables, provided Joe, the owner of the ressort, would give his permission. Also Fernando had thought this idea through before. He offered that in case Joe would approve the garden project he would work each day, after his official working hours, to set up the garden, and cultivate vegetables for the ressort, too.

It was not easy to ask Joes permission for the project, because he simply had done so much for Augustas and me, I did not want to exaggerate his benevolence. It cost me a lot to overcome my inconvenience of presenting this idea to Joe. But finally, I spoke it out loud. Joe listened, and then explained that he definitely considers having a garden, he even would like to have chicken. But it was still too early for a garden. First all the buildings had to be renovated. I also shared with Joe Fernandos offer, to set up and maintain the garden after the official working hours, but this did not change his decision.

Although I had already shared the defeat with Fernandos family, about a week later I accidently got to know that Joe has given the permission to start the garden right away. I jumped in the air for joy. From that moment on Fernando could have his garden on the property of the holiday resort. It was supposed to become a common garden, which also ensures the vegetable supply for the resort.

Content I was watching the first cultivation steps. I was actually astonished about the knowledge Fernando had about all those different earth types that tell which seeds can be sowed where for growing successfully. Fernando bought several seeds, and I collected all possible seeds from our bought fruits and vegetables, simply to add something to the future variety of the gardens grown species. It was awesome when only a few weeks later the first vegetables could already be harvested.