GMF transplanted our seedlings into the ground on Saturday at the Rocinha Mais Verde site. It was a chaotic day. We are starting to see real difficulties appearing in the project, most notably a lack of a lead community gardener. The participants aren’t learning much about gardening because my Portuguese is virtually non-existent and there is no one else to lead the plantings, though Michelle is doing a great job at the moment. I am struggling with all-round communications, both with the kids and with the governing NGO. The language barrier is a real problem (my problem), but also there is a divergence in our philosophies, goals and priorities.  Until there is someone from the community that is willing to learn and teach organic gardening, and who is fluent in Portuguese to lead the project, it remains a very basic experience for those involved.  The project will only become sustainable as a food production project if  we plant fruit trees and keep it virtually maintenance free, which is the plan. One problem I am encountering is continual littering in the garden by both kids and adults. Another is cat feces. I am trying to plant marigolds to ward off the animals, but need more funding to complete this. As there is no one assigned to clean up on a daily basis, neither the feces or the trash is removed, so it is always the first job to do when Michelle or I arrive at the garden. As well there is no one to remediate the soil which is still heavily laden with rock and ceramic tile.  So this is usually where we put the kids to work when they arrive. I hope over time the garden becomes more fully open to community participation to include all interested participants. The language barrier, and the fact that I am an outsider is creating some tension and volatility within the project, especially with the current caretaker, so I am taking a step back to spend time on other GMF related activities for the moment. On a positive note, the kids still enjoy the garden immensely, and Michelle is doing a great job leading the project. Here are the pics from May 19, 2012.
Sophia with Stephanie