We've drifted into the new year here in Ethiopia. The celebrations are over now, and we are settling into the pace of life in 2005. (That's not a typo - the Ethiopian calender is about 7.5 years behind the Western calender). The rains should stop this week, which signals a time of wait and watch as crops which were planted during krempt (the rainy season) grow to maturity. The end of the year is a busy time for farmers in Chencha. The month of Nahase (August for us) is the time to plow and plant a second round of crops. It is known as the month of “goom” (fog). The rains subside a bit, but, being perched at the top of a mountain, we are consumed by a heavy, misty fog off and on throughout each day as clouds drift by. Nahase was a busy time on our little farm, known officially as “Children, Community Strengthening and Income Generation” project (or CCSIG) - even the acronym is hard to say. We simply call it Kota Ganate (KG), which means “Hidden Garden”, and that is what it is.
When you turn off of the rutted, muddy road and enter the gates, you are welcomed by green grass, flowers, young apple seedlings and fertile beds of vegetables. Some days you may catch the community children playing soccer in our small field. The staff will offer you a seat and some tea in the sunshine just outside the office. As you wander through the site, you'll pass the apples to your right and the poultry compound to your left, with lots of noisy chickens inside clucking away.
On the way down the hill, you'll find my little house, where we love visits -partly for the visit, partly because it makes a good excuse to have a coffee ceremony. After my house are rows and rows of vegetables: potatoes, cabbage, garlic, onion, beets and carrots. Past those, on the far side of the property, you'll find women and children cutting the lush green hay to take home to their cows.
This is the first in a series of updates about our “Hidden Garden”. As we worked through the month of Nahase, I tried to capture everything on film so you can see for yourselves how far we've come.
I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of the farm. Stay tuned. In the coming weeks I will show you some of the different things we are working on.