“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”*
We’ve been anxious to develop our friendships with the community across the street. We’ve been playing soccer with the kids and sending out smiles, but have trying to think of ways to get to know them more.
We’ve also been working on our garden–primarily picking weeds. In the process, I’m becoming very aware of the work involved in a garden, which is further complicated by our consistent traveling with teams.
Thus evolved our community garden. We thought if we could open the space up to this community, it would be an opportunity to work together, build friendships, and help them, as well. We’ve continued to work on the weeding, but just yesterday had two translators join us to visit the community and invite them to join us to work in the garden.
It was a slow start this morning. We had “planned” (as much as possible between languages) to start around 9am, but ended up weeding by ourselves (with onlookers, of course) for about two hours. In this time we also had to move the previous three piles we had started of the weeds were pulling–we just started these piles of pulled weeds not thinking it would take us weeks to finish. We tried to move them together in a location where they can be safely burned. Unfortunately, we found a ginormous ant colony in the first pile, a any colony and a cricket colony in the second pile, and a mouse family in the third. (Yes, a dad, a mom, and a little bitty baby mouse.)
Around this time, our translator (and co-worker at Partners), Marci, stopped by to see how things were going. We tried again to invite them over to plant, and enjoyed an afternoon of planting!
Here are the beginnings of our garden! We planted sixteen types of plants into these little bags, and then we’ll replant them once they’re growing strong. For now, they’re under the awning of our house to prevent them from drowning during rainy season.
We’re so excited to see the friendships that will develop. We’re already feeling like rockstars when we drive down the street with lines of kids on both sides shouting “Hello!” and “Bye! Bye!” all at the same time.
While we’re at it though, here are a few our concerns and prayers:
– They are in very tight financial situations, where they can only work occasionally. Because of this, they are desperate to work for us and be paid. We’re trying to help in ways where we’re providing for needs (via food, clothing, tarps, etc.) rather than simply handing out money. We also really want to be friends with them, rather than have them working for us.
– Communication is difficult. We’re trying to communicate the idea of working together and thus benefitting from the harvest together, but that’s proving more difficult than expected. We’re really praying that they will understand we want to be friends and not expect pay for working together.
– We’re really hoping the garden is exceptionally fruitful. We want to be able to bless them with food and help in a very practical way.
– It will take creativity to bless them. We’re trying to keep our eyes open for needs we see in the community and ways we can possibly help to protect them from threats they face from the local police, as we witnessed when we first arrived.
But it was a good day. May the friendships begin.
*last line of Casablanca, which I only know from When Harry Met Sally really.