To fully immerse into the local farming context, I always try myself various farming, gardening and livestock keeping work.
I find this the most direct and long-lasting method of learning about the local context. The importance of farm visits and farm schools are recognised in our AEV project model. We are planning on organising a farm visit to a nearby ‘champs d’école’ of orchard and vegetable garden in Koutango (more on this in the forthcoming blog).
The local project manager and a great friend, Abdou Koma Ba and I started a backyard vegetable garden. We cleared the backyard which was not used other than the occasional burning of household rubbish. With the guidance and teachings from Meissa (our project nursery specialist), we built over 12 beds (1.5 m wide and over 8 m long). The transformation was quite remarkable. From nothing, green seedlings began changing the face of our garden, but more importantly, it inspired us to believe in our efforts and vision of small-scale backyard gardening, which was a first for the rural community of Wack Ngouna.