April 24, 2009

Zhita asked me to buy seeds for him because a nearby lodge wants to buy vegetables from him. He would like to expand his garden but doesn’t have money for seed.  I told him the story of Eva and her friend.

Eva Sanderson beside her double blooming poinsettia. Poinsettia bushes begin to bloom around Easter and continue blooming for about eight months. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Eva Sanderson beside her double blooming poinsettia. Poinsettia bushes begin to bloom around Easter and continue blooming for about eight months. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

An elderly woman asked Eva Sanderson for help. She was destitute and had six grandchildren to feed. Her children had died. She wanted to grow vegetables but had no seed. “What village did you grow up in?” demanded Eva. In the villages it was the practice to preserve seed for the next planting.

Eva gave the woman some of her own seed and the woman grew a large garden from it, began to prosper and now keeps her own seed.

I encouraged Zhita to let a few onions, Chinese cabbages, carrots and tomatoes go to seed so he would not have to ask again. I also gave him 50,000 kwacha (about $12) for seeds.

Then Zhita took me to his house. He had something to show me — his savings box. He heard Mama Phiri tell her story about how it helped to have money in a sealed jar so it wouldn’t be spent. He made a square wooden box with an opening in the lid just large enough to push in money. The lid was nailed down tight. He cannot take out money without destroying the box.

This Zambian farmer has learned an important lesson about saving. In the box is the renovation money to rebuild his house, which collapsed in the last rainy season.

These little steps forward encourage us. They don’t sound like much but they signify a change in thinking.

I get a daily e-mail with a quote for the day. One was “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” So said George Bernard Shaw.

Eva Sanderson propagates as much of her own seed as possible. Beside the seeds is her solar dryer. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Eva Sanderson propagates as much of her own seed as possible. Beside the seeds is her solar dryer. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

*   *   *
The Bukuumo Co-operative ladies invited me to a special lunch today. There were no grasshoppers served. It is the beginning of grasshopper season. Lister says she looked all over the market, but there were none to be had. It’s too bad. I really was curious to see what they taste like.

Grasshoppers are supposed to be very tasty fried with salt — crisp and a bit oily, and a very good source of protein. They can’t be worse than snails, which are so nicely described on the appetizer menu as escargot.

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