Volunteers celebrating the completion of the dryer
Nelson Mandela, South African politician and activistwho played a key role in Burundi’s path towards ending the civil war through the signing of the Arusha Accord Agreement in 2000, is quoted as saying “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Our Burundian 4-H partners – students, teachers, 4-H staff and community members – take this quote to heart. They are always eager to learn, teach others and put to practice new knowledge they gain for the betterment of their families and communities. An example of this were the solar dryers that were built for each of the six school gardens recently. Washington 4-H educators and program partners visited Burundi in February earlier this year and one of our educators taught the staff and teachers the process of solar drying vegetables and fruits. Two volunteers – one U.S. and one Burundi – worked together despite not knowing a single word of each other’s language to build a solar dryer for demonstration purposes.
Within 3 months of our departure all six schools had built their own solar dryer and are now experimenting with how best to use them and what produce works the best in the dryers. Being able to dry some of the produce from the gardens will assist with less spoilage or waste of excess harvest and better prices due to postponed marketing. Burundi is experiencing drastic changes in their rainy seasons due to climate change. They are now experiencing longer drought periods which create a lack of available produce between harvests. With dried products now available, families will have food between harvests and may even be able to sell the dried products at the market. Thank you, Burundi partners, for showing us how to use your natural resources (sun and land) to solve problems.
Nelson Mandela also said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
The Burundi 4-H School Garden program teaches much more than gardening skills. It also demonstrates how two very different cultures can come together and with a common goal demonstrate caring for all of humanity. Thank you, donors for your role in making this happen.
Teachers learning to build a solar dryer
Students happy to use the new dryer