My work allows me to meet and mingle with people of diversity. Most especially, I really enjoy and appreciate to mingle and discover how rural women live through day to day hardships and activities. So, traveling uncomfortably long hours on winding, bumpy, and rough roads are worth it after meeting all these people. Their colourful stories brighten up my day.
On Earth Day last April 22, I had a fantastic lunch that reflects women’s splendor, the organic squash with fresh tuna flakes.
I met a group of women cultivating their backyard’s vegetable garden under the afternoon sun. I feel how terrible the sun’s heat is at 37 degrees centigrade! My hankichef seems to drown in my own sweat! But there they are, a few metres away from me keeping me caring for their vegetable garden. I can see how vibrant and positive they are in life. Their smiles and echoes of their laughter adds to their positive vibe. After a month of my visit, the variety of vegetables is ready for harvest – from radish, tomatoes, squash, etc.
And this earth day, I am having a fantastic lunch with organic squash with fresh tuna flakes. I remember the moment they told me, “Almost everybody is shifting from rice farming to growing of African palm oil and jatropha because we are tied down to debts to traders. Supports are given to farmers shifting/renting their lands to palm oil through free seedlings and fertilizers whilst rice and corn farming get nothing. But instead of following the temptation to palm oil, we decided to focus on organic vegetable gardening. And it paid off, I have paid all our debts and now, I am saving for my child’s education. We don’t want to destroy the bounty and fertility of our land. We want our environment better so that we also have a healthy living.”
The organic squash is like a precious gem that transforms people’s lives not only physically but also behaviourally.
“Let’s save Mother Earth.” I recall a simple mother who helps his husband by making organic fertilizers and pest controls. It is not only saving a family’s situation from being very vulnerable in a time of food shortages, but also saving our Mother Earth in their own little ways. If they only they knew, it is such a BIG and significant act for wider global concerns.