Tuesday, February 20, 2018

COLOMBIA REVISITED



I just returned from a trip to Medellin, Colombia, where my husband Phil and I went to visit our son and his family and celebrate the first birthday of our little grandson.


When I wrote my original blog post about Colombia, I donated to the E2E Foundation for the “Give” portion of the article. The E2E Foundation has a few different projects in Medellin, but the one that I chose was the Huertas Urbanas, which helps to create urban gardens in the impoverished Comuna 8 neighborhood. When I was planning my trip to Medellin, I asked Miranda at GlobalGiving whether it might be possible for me to visit the garden project. She kindly connected me with the good people at the E2E Foundation and I arranged to see some of the Comuna 8 gardens.

An enthusiastic volunteer named Stephanie met Phil and I at the San Antonio metro station and we took a light-rail train to Comuna 8. Our first stop was a garden called “Cerro de los Valores,” or “Hill of Values.” Stephanie called this a training garden that was started by members of the community and is now receiving assistance from the E2E Foundation. It was a gorgeous garden, full of colorful sculptures and both ornamental and edible plants. I would have loved to have wandered through the entire plot, but we had another stop to make.


The second stop was so much fun! We went to a local school, Vida para Todos, to do some gardening with a group of 11th grade students. Stephanie had a lively discussion with them and their wonderful teacher Jose about the hows and whys of planting vegetables, and then they got started on the school’s garden plot. After a little time spent preparing the soil and pulling weeds, Stephanie handed out zucchini seeds for the students to sow. I’m hoping to see pictures of thriving zucchini plants in the not-too-distant future!


The students could not have been any more delightful, even though Phil and I couldn’t speak much Spanish and the students didn’t know much English. The girls wanted before and after pictures of the group, one while they were still clean and one showing their dirty hands after working in the garden.


By encouraging the planting of vegetable gardens at schools and in the community, the E2E Foundation is hopeful that the people of Comuna 8 will be able to not only feed their families, but sell the excess to a local chef who has offered to serve the gardens’ bounty in his restaurant.

Donations to the Huertas Urbanas project help to pay for seeds, tools, and gardening classes, among other things. These gardens are bright spots in this low-income neighborhood, providing hope and a sense of community pride, in addition to healthy food and a source of income.

More information about the Huertas Urbanas project is available at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/huertas-urbanas-medellin/

Regular blogging will resume soon with a post about Cuba.

2 comments:

  1. What terrific posts--both about Columbia and Cuba. I love this Cuban dish and will definitely make it using the recipe--thank you! Did you notice the name of the dish? "Christians and Moors"--a reference to the diverse ethnicities of the island.

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  2. Thanks, Deborah! I hadn't noticed the name of the dish. Very interesting!

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