|the first step in establishing the foundation|
i came at 10am as we had planned and began arranging rocks and cement blocks that we have been collecting from within this family's compound area. since they live where a big home has started being constructed, there were enough to form a low wall for the garden. cement is not ideal because it erodes rather quickly in this climate, but we wanted to use what we have available to us without waiting a long time to have enough money to purchase proper rocks or bricks. soon 2 of the 'gems of justice' boys came. i was so happy to see them because they were willing and able to work hard.
|the triangular area will be the entrance to the central compost area|
we didn't have enough good-sized and shaped rocks to make a higher wall so we managed to integrate smaller ones to create a semi-high wall that was about the same height all the way around. it took a long time to match them well enough that they fit together well and would enable other rocks to be places above them securely. this stage was labor intensive and required some level of engineering skills to complete. :)
it was then time to dig a circle in the middle of the garden for the poles to stand around. at first we used a basic hoe and then we went to ask my gardener for a pick-axe to make deep holes which worked a lot better. the pick-axe was also essential for breaking up a mound of hardened dirt which we needed to remove so the walkway around the garden would be flat. the kids ended up digging a hole out of the raised ground and finding better quality soil to add into the garden. the dirt that was on top was used to fill up the hole and now it is nice and flat!
|trying to dig a circular trench in which the poles will be standing|
|beginning to secure the poles into their positions, using rocks to hammer them down|
|joshua placing small rocks around the base of each pole (domani's idea) :)|
once the poles were secured, one of the boys began twisting twine around them from the base upwards. the other jr. youth started emptying out the bags of chicken fertilizer and cow manure and mixed them up with the soil that we had. it was now time to add the layers of ash, rusty metal, cardboard and plants into the garden with the soil. it was a very enjoyable part of the process because everyone was doing something at the same time. by this time 3 girls came who are part of another jr. youth group a few blocks away. they observed for awhile and then started helping.
|we included cardboard in our layers because we didn't have straw or dried grasses|
|trying to knit the long grasses around the poles and twine|
though we were dripping wet, very tired and hungry, the rewards of this service project began to show on our faces as we started to smile with the joy that comes from working hard.
|using some better quality soil from where the mound originally stood|
|using the rake for the final mixing of the soil|