In comments written here on October 28 (“Community”), I related the story of our visit to the community of Santa Maria de Wasaka and how this remote area had been both ravaged by flash flooding and yet restored in its commitment to regroup and flourish with new garden methodologies. The experience of meeting people faced with difficult circumstances is usually pretty emotional, and often there are few or no opportunities to revisit them later to discover how they might have fared. Fortunately, that has not been the case with the folks at Wasaka.
My most recent mental image of that visit was a hike back to our truck, which had been parked some distance away due to the loss of a bridge from the same rains that brought the rushing waters through many of the planted areas of the community and even took the life one one young child. Darkness had fallen upon us during that walk, rain had started to fall again and, frankly, I was feeling badly for the people just met. The restoration work before them- both in the gardens and in their spirits- seemed considerable. My strongest hope stemmed from the work that the NITLAPAN technicians were doing within the community through a Winds of Peace grant. I remember thinking that the final evaluation of this effort would be one that I would read with anticipation, in hopes that the outcomes might prove to be better than what I was currently envisioning.
Then late last month I received an e-mail which contained a couple of photographs taken by one of the technicians working on the project. Knowing the great challenges facing the community of Wasaka at the time of our visit, the technician must have delighted in forwarding pictures that portrayed a very different outlook than that which we might have conveyed in October. I share those photos here, in part to dispel any pessimism that crept into that October blog entry:
I don’t know whether the produce shown here is representative of other gardeners. I don’t know whether what is shown here is representative of the production of these two producers. I don’t even know whether the impressive yet modest harvest shown here is at all representative of other producers in the community. All I can report is that when presented with the evidence of these photos, I smiled a wide smile. There is vicarious joy in seeing these tangible results from people who just a month earlier rallied around each other after the loss of many community gardens. The note accompanying the photos provided further encouragement: “He [the technician] says that there are photos of some of the produce coming out of the gardens of some of the folks in Santa Maria de Wasaka, and that there will be soon by more. They are improving their diets with these type of vegetables, the source here is supporting loads of wildlife and plants.”
Technical assistance by an organization such as NITLAPAN can make a significant difference in the lives of its clients. Insatiable spirit to persevere and never give up is an immeasurable power. The two elements together are enough to ignite hope, even if only in the production of vegetables from the earth…