Twelve years ago, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bagassi, Burkina Faso and so homesick for my mother’s flower garden I spent a day breaking ground with a daba (a short-handled hoe), arranging rocks around the perimeter, and transplanting native plants into a garden of my own.
I couldn’t have been prouder than if my garden had been full of award-winning roses. My neighbor’s children were delighted. Their reaction made my hard work so worthwhile.
It was a little thing. It required no more than a day’s worth of work (which I could fortunately spare). But it made a big difference to me just as I was finishing my first year of service.
I like to think of the white and purple flowers returning year after year. I wonder if that little garden is still there.
But what would mean more to me is if those three little girls, now young women, remember me and all the strange, laughable things I did while trying to acclimate myself to their customs.
Who knows? Maybe they’ve even created little gardens of their own by now.