Article 5May 19, 2023
Composting and Dancing for a Stronger Community
Baby Steps to Sustainability
We met Paulette one Saturday morning during our weekly village clean ups. When we asked if she’d consider separating her sweeps, - leaves and natural waste to one side and plastics to another, a translated answer came across. “She says she doesn’t care.”
I’m going to take a wild guess and imagine that people in a fishing village in one of the poorest countries in the world do not know much about the chemical mix of plastic waste. There is no garbage collection, no information about waste.
I asked students how long they’ve been throwing trash on the ground. “Depuis toujours,” since forever. No doubt, they are young and have only experienced all waste as equal, to be swept away for burning.
Never Waste a Teachable Moment
“Maybe this lady could use some help,” I say. From English to French to Magasy and back again, a dialoge begins. What are plastics, how are they a problem?
Make Things Better Now
Vegetal waste can be used for gardening. It’s quite incredible that villagers buy tomatoes by the dozens and stack them up for sale along the village streets. Everyone is seemingly unaware tomatoes could be grown at no cost.
What if we grew our own tomatoes?
That creative question is how the new compositing program was born at Wings of Change. Right here on campus we have a vision for a garden and growing our own vegetables. Thanks to a power outage, students were able to break away from class and get the brown team set (branches and leaves). The green team, vegetable peelings followed in preparation for a compost program.
Update on composting to follow.
Tsara Nosy Be
As grace would have it, Paulette is a singer and somewhat of a rombo teacher, a traditional form clapping music in Madagascar. Paulette’s visit to campus was a great success and inspiration to keep going.
Nothing like collaborative learning and a bit of real world problem solving. Movement in the direction of intention is how visions become realities. With our own garden, we will be able to teach others.
Thank you Paulette, for staying open to what we had to say about separating garbage. And thank you for the rombo and dancing.