¡Alhamdoulillah! It’s Saturday already! After the first participatory workshop, we already had Hahatay’s plot in paper nicely colored, so we kept working the rest of the week to organize another joint action. It was the second one, aimed to disseminate the Project and promote the appropriation of the space. This time, we had already some lessons learnt, so we were better prepared to adapt to whatever happened… So, let’s get started!
Following with the principle to stimulate the local economy and local producers, we tried to buy must of the plants at Gandiol’s local gardener: Sidi. So, we went to visit him again, this time to order the threes and flowers we needed.
The task was not easy. For aesthetical purposes (and also because of the Budget), we wanted to combine smaller and taller trees (to see some of them growing, and also to gain some shadow fast). Also, we had to take into account how long each tree takes to grow, when they flower and how much water they need, among other aspects. And luckily now, during the rainy season, we have certain advantages to plant everything. Our adobes cannot touch water, but the plants will love a nice shower to feel adapted to their new home!
Unfortunately, most of the trees we wanted to plant for now, like the Cerise, the Sapoti and the Baobab Chacal were only available at a small size. Therefore, Sidi went on a mission to find some other samples with his acquaintances, while we went to the Ministry of Agriculture to see Babacar again. We bought some plants that Sidi didn’t have and also some big bags of fertilized soil. Also, we enjoyed the opportunity to confirm if the plan we designed at the workshop was ready to go, according to the characteristics of each specie.
So, on Saturday, the time of the joint action was closer and we already sensed that lots of people was going to show (specially because 20 toubabs walking together could not be a fact unnoticed at the village). Even so, we could never imagine what we were going to find there: dozens of children were already wanting for us before the scheduled time. Many of them already know Hahatay and its volunteers because of the summer camps, so it was a very warm welcome! And the people started to arrive… many women, youngsters and many many more children! When we thought we couldn’t fit there anymore, a whole team of basketball arrived! Indeed, it was very good to notice that many of those there were knew at Hahatay and got to know the Project. All of them were excited to collaborate and be part of our team somehow.
Music was playing loud, creating a very relaxed environment, but we also had lots of work ahead! Mamadou picked up the microphone and started to organize what we, at first, thought was a real chaos… At least all Hahatay’s volunteers were there to help and make a group effort!
We had planned many activities with the children, who were divided in groups: while the little ones played and danced, some participated in origami workshops (to build windmills with paper) and others filled the plastic bottles with sand to build the classroom. The older children moved sand around to help with the leveling. Even the basketball team helped. We soon found something for them to do: apply mortar on the highest levels of the building. Of course, they didn’t need scaffoldings.
As happened the last time, the women were in charge of the food. So, between dancing and dancing, they shared the begnes, fatayas and bissap. Also, many of them helped the children with their activities.
And of course, during all afternoon we planted little by little the threes and other plants around the plot… Sidi helped us, along with Masamba (who works at the Ministry of Agriculture and was very friends with Nerea, our Xarit), like real symphony conductors. Ndaga, our right hand, was also there, as always helping with everything we need. The people gathered around us, forming groups to plant the trees. Unfortunately, it was so much people that not everyone got to plant one tree, but we still have a second phase of the landscape design, when all the buildings are ready. Nanke Nanke!
So, despite the crowd of gandiolese, which concerned us at first, everything went perfectly well. Here, it is possible to see harmony in which we normally interpret as chaos. In the end, we shared like brothers and sisters the food, and also the tasks… And as always, we danced and smiled and, together, felt that something really good was about to happen.
Now, we only miss a small detail: to put a fence in Hahatay, because all the local animals already smell that some tasty new plants have arrived! Attention!!!