We’ve started a vegetable garden on the hospital’s property to begin producing our own vegetables and beans. Not only will this cut costs for the program, but it also allows an opportunity for community development. Jesse, who is heading the garden project, is using it as an opportunity to train locals in proper agricultural practices and deepen relationships with many of the teens of the community. The teens, in turn, receive employable skills and compensation for their labour, which covers their school fees and allows them to continue their high school education (without an employment opportunity this isn’t possible).
The past few weeks we’ve been working on preparing the land and planning what to grow, and this week we’ve begun planting! Rainy season is nearly upon us, so the timing is perfect to get our seeds in the ground. To being with, we will be planting plantain, pineapple, cassava (mainly for the greens), botecoteco (a local green leafy vegetable), and kundi beans.
Until our garden is able to produce adequate quantities to cover the hospital’s needs, we will need to continue researching other local sources for vegetables and adjusting the feeding program’s budget to accommodate the changes. It has been a delight visiting different gardeners in the area and learning about edible parts of different plants. I commend my family for being at least somewhat willing participants in trying different options of nutritious, low-cost vegetables. Last night’s chaya omelets were quite the success.