Every year is busy, but this year has been particularly busy with more six thousand new farmers joining the program. And the demand just keeps growing!
You can read up on the Eden Garden blog:
Three red outfits for the kids of the Bettan Garvi School Initiative! A forth is on its way and there might be yarn left for a fifth outfit, so the kids can West African ceremonies, where all the members of the same family dress up in the same fabric (but different outfits). I think the girls are going to have fun!!
If you haven’t heard of the Bettan Garvi School Initiative, you can read up here:
CASANOVA: Interesting, interesting… Such an fascinating little box… I wonder if there’s a peanut inside……..
CASANOVA [to human]: What? No peanut inside? And you’re saying I’m not allowed to play with “electricity”? Well, I sure don’t know what that is, but I’m still not convinced that this enticing little plastic box doesn’t contain a peanut or two! It’s certainly where I would hide one, if I ever got into the art of hiding stuff… [human approches] Okay, okay, I get your point! Relax! I’ll leave your precious little box… [Casanova flies off]
CASANOVA [sighs]: Oh well, humans win…
CASANOVA [eyes the switches longingly]: … but only as long as they are present!
Table and chair made by left-over scraps of wood, painted with green oil paint.
Food and plates made by simple “troll dough” (as it’s called in Swedish), then painted with bright water colours.
I wrote this story a few months ago, some nights after the dogs had barked their special high-pitched The-genet-is-here!-bark. I went out, equipped with a torch and a camera, and sure enough, found the beautiful little West African wild animal visiting again.
People find it funny when I say that we have our own garden genet(s), but even though we have vicious guarddogs waiting to put this cocky creature in place, the genet is a regular visitor and loves hanging out with the horses.
But a genets are agile creature and more graceful climbers are hard to find! With his long and slender body and long tail (which he uses for balance), he climbed up to the top of the bush (and took another good look at the camera, offering his best pose),
I lingered for a while while he got busy getting ready for bed, and then, when the genet fell asleep, it was our turn too. Let’s see when we meet him next time! In the meantime, you can read more about genets in general here:
To dip into other places in the world, visit Our World Tuesday!
Because of the recent security situation (during the fall, five West African aid workers were kidnapped in Dakoro some three hours drive west from the city where I live, and during spring, a French family was kidnapped in Cameroon close to the northern Nigerian border), I have not been able to make it into the field as much as I would have wanted to. But finally, I was able to enjoy a 24 hour stay in Edenland which gave me so much joy.
Because it had been a while,
I had a lot of greetings to catch up on!
Greetings are important in Niger,
…where time does not equal money, but instead friendship and compassion.
It was a precious visit.
We visited a number of households,
We talked about their recent Eden harvests.
During the past year, the Eden trees had provided well.
The farmers showed us their Eden food – former famine food that used to be their stable food but lost its status with colonization, which is now being reinstated into their local food culture again.
We tried their hanza porridge (made of boscia senegelensis seeds) and it was delicious!
We walked past their growing herds of goats – their financial capital;
…and saw the women’s accumulated wealth inside the houses.
We met with their visitors,
…we drank tea together,
…but above all, we just “were”.
It was a very precious stay.
You see, when you spend your days in an office and deal with data and numbers and practical issues most the time, the problems and solutions that you face can seem overwhelming at times. But once you head into the field, you are reminded of what it’s all about. It’s about people gaining a dignified sustainable life through drought-tolerant trees and bushes, that give food even in times of need. It’s as simple as that.
So I come back from the field; grateful, touched and with renewed energy. Grateful to the Eden girls who held my hand. Touched by the generosity and warmth of the Eden population. And with renewed energy, knowing that no matter what technicalities may await at the office, Eden’s work takes place every day, all year round, and I am grateful to be part of it.
You can be part of it too!
The thing I love about birthdays is that it gives you the opportunity (and the excuse!) to do something out of the ordinary, such as going up at 4am in the morning and drive out to your favourite hilltop just to have a cup of coffee and a ‘pain of chocolat’ and watch the sun go up.
It was a very special start of the day.
As for my wishes, I posted this note on facebook:
Eden: my reason for living and working in Niger. ♥♥♥
Last year, Eden distributed seeds for more than 43,000 trees to 3000 farming families here in arid West Africa. These trees are life savers and make all the difference in the world for their caretakers (often women and children). They require no irrigation to grow and yet provides food in abundance, even in times of need.
So if you thought of giving me a gift on my birthday, wouldn’t you much rather support a new farming household with Eden trees and help them achieve a sustainable life?
For €20 you can sponsor a new family with a start-up package with seeds for 10 trees. Last year, more than 80% of the farming families were new to the program, and we have all reason to believe there will be even more this year! Please help us answer the demand!
You can donate to Eden here:
You can also use my paypal [contact me for info] if that’s easier.
BIG HUG from Africa!
☼ Esther ☼
Two weeks ago, Ishtar’s Ark had a new set of goats: two little bucklings born to Allis and Tyson!
These little newborn brothers were so cute together, but I have yet to decide their names!
I am keeping the dark (a mini-Tyson he is!) while the brown one will go to my neighbour in exchange for a set of hens (meant for horse parasite control).
Name suggestions, anyone?
I was at a friend’s house on Friday and had a very nice lunch with good company.
As he is house-sitting for my other friend who is on vacation in his home country, I thought I’d put a post with all his beloved pets, who were more than willing photo subjects! And also to show that I’m not the only person in Zinder with an Ark!
Tiger – the firstborn – was happy to pose for the camera.
And look at those beautiful eyes…
Little Penny came as soon as I called her. Sweet face there too, though I’m partial and enamoured by Tiger’s fantastic eyeliners.
Poutchi, the MAN, was all over me until we tried spraying his ears with aluespray. Then he hid under the van, but enjoyed the photo-shoot nevertheless.
Mr Kittycat was one sweet gentleman – so cuddly and handsome in his white.
Also in white was Mr Pigeon and his crew.
Mr Blue walked peacefully on the ground,
…while Mr Grey called at me from above! I found him in the tree…
King the stallion hurried over as soon as he spotted the camera,
…but wouldn’t you say this was a little too close, King?
Last but not least was Mrs Lamb (not a goat!) had just given birth! We named the little ones Elsa and Evie, but they will be big like their mother, and soon!
I hope you enjoyed this little peak into this one courtyard!
It really doesn’t feel like a long time ago, when you were a fuzzy little creature that followed us on our trail rides. Our firstborn equine, always so obedient despite your curiosity.
You followed us on our trails for two years, before you got to carry your own rider.
You grew as tall as Ebony.
Our first rides were amazing. You impressed me, taking it with all the easy in the world.
As if you were born for this.
And the bush awaited!
I would have to look long for a more handsome horse!
And you are sensitive and sensible too!
Always a bit of a poet, sometimes lost in a world of your own,
…but super cuddly and in constant need of human affection.
And the affection is mutual!
You’ve had some rough times in your life, and in the past year, you suffered from colds, repeated piroplasmosis and even parasites. Still, you bore with me and the vet, taking your shots without complains.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Isolde!!! Have fun with your pals today and your fresh grass party!!
A few nights ago, the dogs announced the arrival of rival creature in the garden, and as I looked up in the trees, I saw the distinctive striped tail of a genet.
A wild animal, this little guy (or guys!) have been making frequent visits to my garden, often walking quietly amongst the horses when the dogs are on the veranda.
Ronja was very upset by the genet’s presence, but could not quite understand why I did not take matters as seriously as she did!
Armed with a torchlight and a camera, I watched the fascinating creature as it jumped from one branch to another.
Well aware of my presence, he seem oblivious to me being there,
…nor was he particularly bothered by the hostile stare of the dog below.
Safe in the tree, the genet lay to rest,
…while Ronja stared in chock at the enemy creature’s audacity to call HER garden ITS home.
Personally, I adore genets!
They are beautiful, elegant and daring creatures. This guy seemed as intrigued by me as I was by him, and did not let my torchlight (or the hostile dog right beneath him) stop him from going about with his usual nightly routines.
I watched him for a over ten minutes (while the mosquitoes bit my legs) as he cleaned his tail and tried out the tree for the most comfortable sleeping position.
Eventually he found it, and I just stood there, amazed at his beauty and lost in a world of wilderness.
After several minutes, the feline-line creature closed his eyes and napped, telling me it was time to go back to bed.
At my side, Ronja was falling asleep on her post as well,
…and I took this last picture of the dog sitting on duty-patrol under the tree and the genet sleeping comfortably above it, before calling it a wrap.
This is not our first genet visit, and hopefully not our last either! To read more about our genet visits and what kind of animal the genet is, click here.