It is a favorable frigid night here in Cerrito. I have my scarf, llama wool hat, 2 layers of socks and all on. The waxing crescent moon is tucked into the glorious South American starry night sky, life is beautiful. I am still the same Michelle, just a little bit more “DIRT”tier and worn then when we last talked. One month ago, I took upon the job of managing the 1 acre organic garden here at the Ag School. Alone.
More than the new garden position, I have had some big changes and losses occur in my life. The biggest hit or “loss” is that my dear Eads family went back to America to be back with their Amazing family. I am so happy for them, but they were the people who I confided in on campus, my personal garden and food consultants, my mate and terere break time companions, personal knitting instructor, my Clara and Amos to daily hug and kiss, ENGLISH and the list goes on. But the thing is that ANY American family could have come down to Paraguay and lived an entire year and 6 months with me, but they know all of my weird quirks and loved me in such a way that a Thank You just won’t do. Now, after 4 p.m. when the bell rings, I don’t have any “friends” to run to for snack or hang out with in general. But, this is not a pity woe is me Blog. It is more like I am so thankful for having shared an incredible year and 6 months with such an amazing couple down here in Paraguay!
Am I doing this right?
How do you do this?
What do I do now?
…in my life. I guess this is called Growing Up? Or Learning on the Job
I am being asked to make a monthly income of XXXXXX to upkeep the school’s self sufficient status through the garden production. It is a small percent, but every cent counts.
I currently have 79 beds of lettuce, 38 beds of spring onions, 25 beds of cabbage with a bad case of worms and the list goes on. Small scale garden with HIGH expectations for a girl with ZERO experience.
So far so Good. the 2 hardest aspects of maintaining the garden are:
1. Eliminating weeds and predators
- hard core resilient grass, stickery weeds
- Here in Paraguay chickens, goats, cows, horses and dogs are socially accepted in the highway, the front yard and somehow wind up very quickly into the garden. They stomp, chomp, bomp and do everything but weed, plant and harvest =)
-and of course the unenthused students (but that is all going to change)
2. Keeping schedules synchronized with 14- 18 year olds
Harvesting on time for market, Coming to class on time, Making sure we fertilize and spray plants with our home made pest spray, stir the compost and general garden logistics.
Keeping my head up and trying to stay positive is my biggest task at the moment!
The moral was clearly low by Friday of this past week, so I decided to sacrifice a day of work after kids had pulled one too many Ferris Buellers’. We painted the worm shed (Ask me about My Worm Composting Project =). We painted trees on a wall and the kids loved being able to express themselves in a way they had never done before. I was asked how to hold the paint brush, making me realize I do not think I was ever taught that, everybody just did it in elementary school. Some even discovered that they were natural painters and told all of their friends after =)
A normal day like any but I got to work in my flower garden which is one of my favorite things to do in the world. It was a beautiful mosaic of yellow, coral pink, green, brown, white and HOTT pink. SO BEAUTIFUL.
Then I planted with my Haitian student 3 beds of carrots and 1 bed of eggplant. Her only sister is getting married today and she was feeling so far away and homesick. That poor honey.
I then cleaned out the compost area and found a skull in an old compost pile. I have no idea if it was a hog, horse or cows skull, but it sure was out-of-place.
To end my day, I went on the most beautiful run down here in Paraguay. I found myself looking over a massive sugar cane and black oats field facing north over the grand Chaco Desert Jungle. The oats and sugar cane were gracefully dancing with the wind sending the sun westward.
*** Next Blog: Feria de Arandu- The Freshmans’ Science/Intelligence Fair
It’s going to be exciting!!!