May 03, 2013

service project ~ creating beauty in the community

 it took weeks of practicing consultation to make a decision and plan a service project, but finally the 'gems of justice' group agreed on creating a flower garden along a public pathway near my home.

they first went and got permission from the neighbor along whose wall it touches.  she was happy to have the weeds gone and some plants growing against her compound wall.

weeding and clearing out rocks & other debris
they came back and wrote down the materials they would need -- i explained to them that i had extra chicken fertilizer and cow manure that they could use to enrich the soil.  they agreed that each member would contribute what they could afford to create a fund to buy the plants.  one member said that he wouldn't be able to offer any money and they all supported him, saying that it was ok.

when most of the jr. youth were on school holiday, we spent a couple of hours clearing the land, mixing in chicken fertilizer and cow manure, and carrying cement blocks to form a barrier around it.

mixing in fertilizer & manure
the next morning we drove to a plant nursery with their money and talked about the principles of consultation before they walked around to choose the plants.  they understood that it was most important to listen to everyone's ideas and to find agreement before deciding which plants to choose.  i stayed in the car while they worked together -- they were thinking about cost as well as the type of plant, whether it would grow to be a bush or a tall and slender plant, etc.

filling up water at my house to carry to the garden
they returned to the car very happy that they had purchased 6 very diverse plants with their very own money (which was a small amount).  they suggested coming back later to plant them since the sun was very hot by the time we were finished shopping for the plants.  the heavy rains came so a few days passed until 4 of them returned to arrange the plants in the garden.  this part of the project was the most fun -- loosening the packed soil, digging holes, arranging the plants, watering them & covering them with some fertilizer.
almost done; enjoying how the garden looks
applying chicken fertilizer after watering the plants
they learned a lot about how to create a healthy garden for plants, as well as how to value each person's contribution in the process of applying skills and making decisions.  they needed some spiritual guidance along the pathway of learning but truly mined their own gems in making this service project a success!

joy!
friendship growing through working together :)

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