The “green garden” project: our volunteer viewpoint

“For more than one year, nine women get up every day to feed the 250 students of Bayon School in vegetables. Deliveries of products to the Elodie’s canteen, watering, crop maintenance, compost and natural insecticides preparation… their days are very busy! Throughout the plantations, trainings and workshops, they acquire the essential skills to make the project and their personal satisfaction possible.
Engaged full time in this work, it is most of the time in their garden with a spade in hand that I greet them when I come to their place for the weekly visit. Welcomed by a big smile, my arrival is an opportunity for them to stop focusing on their vegetables. Then begins a conversation supported by the translator recruited for the project: checking of the plantation conditions, advices on the type of treatments to choose in case of diseases or insects attacks… Together, we learn daily how to react to unforeseen events due to chemical-free agriculture.

During each visit we take time to address all topics: supplying seeds, providing small equipment to facilitate the work, reminding the delivery schedule. This technical support is essential but it is only one part of the job. Get news from the families, congratulate them to maintain willingness to continue, share experiences to create a sense of being part of a community, all these little things are part of our mission. Because each family has its own story, each visit has its anecdote. It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes everything does not work exactly as we planned or we would like. Thanks to the “green garden” project, we help families living in a difficult environment and naturally we put their needs first.

This project is more than just a vegetable story! It is the upheaval of these women daily lives and an opportunity for them to gain real responsibilities and dignity through their work.
Each Wednesday, we organize meetings at Bayon Primary School during which our program becomes meaningful. Some are well prepared, others are always late, and each one with their own character, they come to sell their weekly harvest and to get paid for what they have delivered. Then, we elaborate the menu of the following week with the cook of the school. All gathered around a table, we can feel an incredible energy when they proudly announce their upcoming production. This energy provides to each the desire and the enthusiasm to continue and go further. Beyond the cultural differences and the language barrier, I feel we understand each other perfectly. This project is beautiful, gratifying, and fully deserves the effort and resources invested.”
, 27 March 2019