There are a series of poly tunnels that sit brimming with good stuff on the edge of the community of Amaoti in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Amaoti is characterised in part by poverty and all the different traps that that relates to; unemployment, poor housing, low sanitation and malnutrition (among other things).
But boy is there community here and jees is there good stuff coming out of a space that faces huge challenges. I met some of the folk who are part of a movement implicating change here as part of the Domino Foundation team. They grow goodness in the ground that contributes to a goodness on the ground as huge numbers of orphans are fed daily from food made up of this freshly grown veg.
Here’s Bheki, one of the team, telling his tale…
Those are carob pods between Mehmets hands.
Four seeds from the pods found on the carob tree, of which one ancient one stands among Mehmets olive grove, is equal to one carat. Those seeds define an age-old way of measuring and establishing the value of precious stones and metals. That pod contains a sweet elixir too- it ups the blood count and goes gloriously well in a traditional cake (which I can vouch is made excellently by Mehmets mother)…
Mehmet is full of these nature infused gems- a natural byproduct of a childhood spent foraging with his grandfather on a mountainside in Cyprus where I was lucky to spend a few sweet days recently.
“Son, land gives you everything you need to survive.” That’s what Eustaquios’ father told him, and it’s the story Eustaquio told to me as I sat surrounded by pigs, drinking madly sweet coffee out of a bowl, enjoying the hospitality of Eustaquio’s family in North-West Colombia.
Eustaquio loves his land. I mean he really loves it.
For him, the land is sacred and that’s why he is fighting to protect it- it keeps him and his family alive. But it’s more than that too.