April 6th, 2012
It only took me 10 months but I have finally started a personal garden. Having never really gardened before and feeling very unconfident in my ability to successfully do so I asked my Make to teach me. She eventually suggested that I build a personal garden right next to my house. A small one that I can manage and grow just what I need rather then try contending with the big family garden.
So I went to town, bought three meters of cheap fencing, a hand shovel, and some gardening gloves. Blindingly being guided by my Make’s design and with the help of my 4 host brothers (really just the neighbor kids who have made my homestead their permanent residence simple because no one will send them home), we built a garden. Using the fence I bought, a house wall, some logs, some wire, and some scrap corrugated tin we managed to enclose a small area. I am doubtful that the chickens will stay out, but we will take on that challenge when we cross it. My BoBhuti (host brothers) then created a mixture of cow manure and ash from the fire to fertilize the dirt inside. Now I just need to heavily water the area for a week and then I can start planting.
It actually didn’t take that long, in the matter of an hour or so it was complete, and I am grateful and excited about it now, but I have to saw it was a quite frustrating hour. I felt totally out of control of what was happening and I felt guilty for mostly watching while this garden was created because I wasn’t really sure how to help. Yes I needed the help to complete this project but it was a bit overwhelming for me. Despite my discomfort I could tell my host family didn’t mind helping. The boys thrived in the building aspect and my Make, I think, appreciated the distraction from idleness. My Babe (host dad) is on a, for lack of better description, church prayer retreat for Easter, and my host Sisi is at her son’s father’s family’s homestead for Easter. She wants to get his hair cut now that he is one year old and Swazi tradition claims that the father’s family gets the honor of cutting it. So the homestead is quiet and Make was looking for something to keep her busy… and now I have garden!