Tag Archives: Frank

The Power of Sowing, Mulching and Watering Seeds

By Frank Juvenal

Mulching after sowing

Mulching after sowing

Just like animals, all other living things need water and care for their survival. Since I started working on the garden project, it looks like people in the community are excited as they come and help out.  I was very impressed on how young people came in to help and sow the seeds. Not only did young men come but they also offered to water the garden so that it can be sustainable since it is near the borehole (well).

Then, twelve beds were made and we sowed ten different veggies that includes: Greens such as Mustard, Rape, Chinese cabbage, and a local one called “Bonogwe.” In addition, Tomatoes were decided to be in two beds so that they can have enough to harvest and also because they take up much space, Red Onions also took two different beds since people use it often. Cabbage, Pumpkin and Bush beans were also sowed. I then thought of introducing Carrots just because I was told that no one in Makupo has ever tried to plant them. In addition, not many people eat carrots as they are scarce. It was such an amazing experience since people who were volunteering were first giving ideas on how big we want the beds to be and in what direction the beds should face. However, I was surprised to see how they reached a conclusion after such a short discussion since everyone in the group had their own ideas that were different from each other. I then had a chance of introducing the “Foundation for Farming” techniques that involve mulching all the crops as the mulch will eventually decompose and form manure and thus improve soil structure.

Pumpkins after 6 days

Pumpkins after 6 days

After the sowing was done, I was impressed to see four guys willing to go and cut grass to put on top of the beds as mulch. Therefore, all the beds were mulched as seen in the picture and finally we watered the seeds. At that point, everyone in the community was curious about how the seeds would come out.  We eventually waited patiently and all the seeds took three to four days to germinate. The crops finally came up and they all look healthy just because of the care and effort that was put by the people in the community. When I look at how fast the garden has been constructed, I think of the words that I was told by ‘Alinafe,’ one of the young men that was helping out.  He said “Umodzi muli mphavu” which means ‘There is Power in Unity.’

Growing Community in a Garden

By Frank Juvenal

The fence

The fence around the garden

I feel like it hasn’t taken much time for me to get started with the project since being introduced to my co- learner who is such an amazing person to work with. I couldn’t wait any longer after having a short discussion with the co- learner about the Demonstration Garden project.

As a matter of fact, we couldn’t wait any longer to get started with the project since the co- learner and some people in the community thought that it was such a good idea to start a garden close to the well, also known as the  “Borehole”. Then, the meeting with the Chief of Makupo was arranged. The Chief was very pleased with the proposal of the project and approved it. He then went on to show us where we can actually put the garden which is just right next to the water source (Borehole). As we were deciding how big the garden should be, a few young people in the community came in and said that they were willing to help in building the fence that would surround it.

I had a lot of fun since the guys we were working with brought in some jokes and this made the construction of the fence more fun. As we were constructing the fence, we were sharing ideas on what techniques to use in order to make the garden sustainable. As a result, we decided to use different techniques and I was very happy to share all the techniques I know for making gardens including the ones I obtained from “The Foundations for Farming.” As seen in the picture, we decided to make use of the locally available resources to make the fence. It took us approximately 2 days  to complete the fence.

It is such an amazing project since I am learning different skills that include communication, management and Leadership skills.

My First Two Days in Makupo, Kasungu

By Frank Juvenal

It was such a wonderful afternoon.  After a long flight and 2 hour drive, some community people and all the students came outside to greet me as I arrived in the village. I was really happy to see that the people in the community are very welcoming and they showed me around. Even though I have been to Malawi before and speak their language (Chichewa), people in the community were very willing and ready to teach me some extra Chichewa words.  Subsequently, as they were trying to teach me some words in Chichewa, they were very surprised to find out that I speak quite a bit of their language. However, I even learned some new words from them.

Since I arrived one week later, I felt that I had to catch up with the rest of the group. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find out that the same evening that I arrived, the community girls were going to entertain everyone with the cultural dance called “Vimbuza.” This was helpful to me since everyone joined the girls in dancing and singing. It was such a fun evening and this made me “feel at home” as I was first told upon my arrival by the Chief of Makupo.

On the next day, I didn’t wait to get used to the new place. Rather, I thought of getting started with my project so that I could catch up with the rest of the group especially since I came one week later. So, I took a look at the soil as someone was showing me around and discovered that it is clay-sand soil. I started to think of what would be the best vegetables to grow in the “Demonstration Garden” I was going to create as my research project. I was taken to Kasungu town in the afternoon where I was shown different places and shops where some seeds and some tools for the garden could be purchased.

Considering how the first two days were and how amazing the people were as well, I couldn’t wait to get started with the project.

 

Introducing the 2013 Group: Bishop’s University

Naomi pic

Naomi Crisp

My name is Naomi Crisp and I am one of the lucky few going to Africa with Praxis Malawi this year.  I am currently enrolled in the B. Ed program for Elementary Education at Bishop’s University for this coming year. I am originally from Cambridgeshire, England but my family and I moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia 8 years ago.  I come from a family of 6, which includes my father, mother, an older sister, older brother and a younger brother. My family means the world to me and I don’t know where I would be without their guidance and support of my dreams. I believe that education is the most important factor in everybody’s life and should not be taken for granted. By education I do not mean schooling, I strongly believe there are many ways for one to learn (such as research projects as this) that doesn’t necessarily include an instructor or classroom. I have a deep love for learning and when opportunities such as these come along I try to soak up as much as possible.

It is hard to say what my expectations are for my time in Malawi as I know I will be continuously developing educationally, culturally, personally and emotionally throughout the stay. My focus will be on the development of professional dialogue within the global community; I will be creating a link between the multiple professional communities (including LEARN, Malawian teachers and Praxis Malawi) in order to provide the support needed to make such a project possible. By forming partnerships with Malawian teachers and observing the classroom myself, I will be able to build upon what I have learnt at Bishop’s University and what I will learn in Malawi to help form a kindergarten/grade 1 curriculum with the others involved. It is important that this curriculum focuses on critical thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship in order to provide the best possible outcome for the community and individual students. Overall, I am incredibly excited to be offered such an experience and know that it will be one I will never forget.

 

Frank Juvenal

Frank Juvenal

I am Frank Juvenal; a student enrolled in Biochemistry at Bishop’s University. I enjoy learning different languages and as a result, I can now speak more than five languages which includes; Chichewa and English. I also like to play soccer (known as “Football” in Malawi) and volleyball.

My expectation on this wonderful opportunity is to work with Villagers in Malawi under Praxis Malawi where I would like to learn the problems that the People in the rural area experience in farming. As in this way, I plan also to work with the teachers and the elders in Makupo and to find a way of how people can start sustainable farming in terms of community gardens. So, I intend to create a demonstration garden in the community. As a matter of fact, since I have been to Malawi before, I am hoping that the garden will be very helpful to students and the people in the Village.