We had to fire our gardener. He is an alcoholic. It was a very difficult situation. He was also our guard. When you fire someone in Dakar, where unemployment is either 40% or 60% (I'm not sure which. I've heard both), it's probable that they will not find another job, at least for a while. So it feels really awful to fire someone. He is a nice man, but you cannot have a drunk guard. Still, it was difficult. (Eric had to handle it -- FINALLY my bad French worked in my favor!!)
We have a big yard and garden, and we were a little nervous that we wouldn't be able to keep up with it, but in fact our weekends now usually involve just a few happy hours of replanting, composting, tying up the tomatoes, etc. I also work on it a bit during the week. We really like it. I read Gandhi's autobiography a few months ago (Experiments with Truth), and I was moved by his high regard for taking responsibility for your own food and for manual labor in general. So, I don't know if this looks like manual labor or not -- probably no, huh?
Dessi digs in the dirt and babbles and basically just keeps herself occupied. There just needs to be dirt in a child's life, I think. She likes to pick lettuce, cilantro and tomatoes and put it in our basket, and last week she spent about 40 minutes moving rose petals from one pile to another.
She also recently discovered the worms in the compost piles and took a fancy to squeezing them to death, which had to be stopped but otherwise we give her a lot of room to explore. (Also, do I remember from 9th grade Earth Science class that if you cut an earthworm in half, you get two earthworms? I'll have to Google that.)
I just did. Nope. You get two halves of a dead one, or possibly the head end will live on. The back end is toast, though -- the misconception probably having arisen from the fact that the death spasms of an earthworm outlast the attention spans of most children.
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