Shamba

Just yesterday we put a section of our garden to bed, said good-bye to it for the winter. We pulled up the tomato plants and turned over the earth. Already I'm dreaming of what we will plant next year. Over the summer most of our meals contained zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, onions. Now it's time to eat the hardier veggies: beets and carrots and brussels sprouts. I love the garden. I love that we get to eat from the work of our own hands and that our children are learning to grow their own food.

People in Kenya were so interested in my shamba (garden) at home and it was fun to compare notes. Above you'll see me working in the shamba at Veronica Home, weeding between the kale. In the background is the greenhouse, full of tomatoes. Behind me are green onions, and on the fence are passion fruit. As I write this I am looking out the window at my front yard where I can see about 10 kale plants growing. We have just pulled up all the green onions, lovingly planted and tended by 8-year-old Joseph. Sadly we don't have passion fruit here in downtown Toronto. I guess blueberries from the market will have to do.

Here in urban Canada a vegetable garden is a novelty. It is fun for us and if it fails we can still get everything we need at the grocery store a block away. In Kenya, a shamba can mean everything. It can mean nutrition, an income, and it can be the difference between eating and not eating.

Here we are looking at the field that Veronica Home managed to rent this year. It was about to be planted when the photo was taken, but now I expect the maize (corn) is tall and strong as it waves in the Kenyan sun. Only at the end of the growing season will we know the impact this field has had on the people of Veronica, but it will likely be significant.

As we move into Thanksgiving week-end, I feel a deeper connection to thankfulness because of our vegetable garden. We have truly seen God the Creator at work and we have been blessed by the fruit of the land. As we thank God for our food and for the garden that feeds us each day, we will remember the luxury that it is and we will remember to thank God for the shambas that are lifelines for so many Kenyans.