Many of you may remember Donné, the older of two boys who passed CEPE exam in 2009. Since then Zahana supported him through secondary and agricultural high school. He is the first one in his village to obtain a baccalaureate.
After graduating he took a few more specialized courses and decided to join Zahana as a substitute teacher and experimental farmer. A smart move - the COVID-19 pandemic was a few weeks away and finding a job outside his village might have been impossible.
Our understanding of ‘experimental farmer’: he draws a salary and uses his expertise introducing new crops in his experimental demonstration farm/school garden. Farmers are traditionally a stubborn bunch, talking about new crops is much less effective than growing it and showing it. Donné became a jack of all trades. His task: to exponentially expand the school garden to grow the food our students will eat in the future, while teaching the kids how to grow it. A paradox of COVID-19 is that the teachers did not want to sit idle around while their school was closed and got very involved in assisting him in the new school garden. School garden and reforestation go hand-in-hand, so the teachers also participated much more in the tree nursery. It was reported to us that many of the students lend a hand as well, illustrating once more that learning is not limited to a classroom.
Carrots and Onions
The crop of onions and carrots in the school garden are Donne’s pride and joy. We got quite a few photos of this novel crop.
Everybody in a Fiadanana was convinced neither would ever grow in this area. Onions generated the most buzz, because they are very much sought after and fetch a good price in the markets and the nearest town. Even the most stubborn traditionalist might see that there is more to agriculture than growing excusively rice and corn - if the price you fetch is right.
Onions do indeed grow here!
Donne growing vegetables for the (future) school's
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