Plant a Garden Wherever You Go

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.


Filed under Africa

2 responses to “Plant a Garden Wherever You Go

  1. Barbara Stanley

    Gardens can bring great joy. I’ve tried to get one going at Cathi’s as they’ve moved around, as well as my house. After the initial exhaustion of cultivating & planting, they bring me great joy. I’m proud of your ingenuity in your BF garden. Was this your first village? I ask because of the woven building I presume is your home. It is obviously not your brick block home. Is the one pictured cane reeds or what?
    Keep up the interesting stories.
    Your cooking cuisines leave me in the dust. I commend your courage and sense of adventure.
    Proudly, Aunt Barbara

  2. kathryncoulibaly

    This was the same house. My second year there we built a hangar (I think that’s how you spell it) around the house to give a cooler place to sleep during the hot season that still had privacy. It was a lot like having a porch – I could peek through the woven grass to see who was coming up the lane.

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