Don Pedro

Back in January, laying in my hammock on a Sunday afternoon, I heard someone hesitantly call my name.

"Don Kahleb..."

On the front porch, gazing into my yard, I found a wizened LomiteƱan. Don Pedro had come to visit. His garden-ward glance betrayed the reason for his visit. Since arriving in Las Lomitas, we had exchanged pleasantries at community meetings or upon passing each other on the road, but had never really communicated. Now two years later, here he was to visit, if not me then at least my vegetables. We soon began to discuss vegetable gardening. For two years, he had been silently watching the garden and was finally convinced that he might be able to succeed, but he wanted to do it well. Could I come up to take a look at his lot to see if he might have a suitable place to plant?

"Absolutely, I'll be there Wednesday morning."

Don Pedro's house is about a 20-minute walk up the mountain, "up" being used here in the vertical sense. As it turns out, he had a great spot with outstanding soil. Being higher up, the temperature was even more conducive to vegetable growth. He seemed really interested in cucumbers and cabbage, both of which I had produced very successfully. I explained to him how to go about preparing the area and over the next couple of weeks I made the climb back up to check in on his progress. He quickly cleaned out the area and fenced it off with a variety of old wire, wood, and rusting roofing sheets. Anything works to keep chickens out, you just have to do it. One day I went up to help out to find that he had already nearly completed to prep work, including the tilling. He decided to leave his struggling baby guava trees to see if they would do any better in their new environment.

Now that he was ready to plant, I brought up some of my seeds, and we spent the morning scratching out instructions (which were read, very slowly) and explaining how to plant each kind of seed. It was now March, and he was ready to plant, but I had a flight to catch. I prayed with him over the garden and said farewell. Fast forward three months.

Don Pedro is a very proud man. From what I can tell, his little struggling guava trees have greatly benefited from the TLC and fertilizer, and his cabbages speak for themselves. From what I observed, I think that he can expect a harvest of 500-600 pounds of cabbage, worth roughly $125 USD. This little side garden will provide him with a month's salary, not to mention a bounty of high-quality, organic food.

Feeling confident, he has started a second round of cabbage, planted some coffee trees in bags for transplant, and begun paying more attention to the guava trees. This is a perfect example of the trickle-down effect we have been advocating since our move to Honduras. Although we aren't advertising "Gardening Seminars," we continue to make known to the community that we are there to learn and to serve. This results in the truly-interested seeking us out, and the rest of the community can see a local success. We are proud of Don Pedro and are praying for his efforts.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! It gave me chills! I'm so glad you posted the pictures.

    What an amazing testament to the change that is possible when people are patient with community development, then get out of the way. Love you guys!