Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gardening in TZ

June 26-27, 2008

A group of us from TFFT participated in a two-day seminar at the World Vegetable Center, right here in Arusha. We arrived to meet up with thirty other matrons and mamas from the local schools and orphanages we work with. The morning began with classes on different types of roots, fruits, vegetables, and seeds and the nutrients they supply. Although we were surprised by the Swahili-only lectures and directions, some of the mamas helped translated for those of us that needed it. Around midday, we were split into groups for some hands-on cooking. Each group prepared a different type of organic dish from various vegetables such as sweet potato leaves and cowpea leaves. After cooking and cleaning, everyone’s dishes turned out pretty well and we had ate them at lunch. The rest of the day we spent in the garden learning about different ways to plant and different types of seeds. After a long but very informative day at the Center, everyone seemed excited to learn more tomorrow.
We started out the following day with classes on the drying and storing indigenous vegetables and fortunately the instructions were in English. The cooking portion of the day covered recipes all involving tomatoes. My group made tomato paste, which turned out to taste better than the store-bought sauce. Others made tomato jam, ketchup, and tomato chutney. These were all surprisingly easy to make! After cooking and lunch we spent the afternoon composting- a much more complicated process that you would think. A successful compost pile involves of 10 layers of different matter. We ended the day with a bag of various different types of seeds and a green certificate of completion. Hopefully all the mamas and matrons will bring everything they learned back to their respective schools and orphanages to start up some organic gardening!