Graduation english course

Course participants celebrating on the last day of training. From left: Katie Martinez, Kamille Danford, Luwayo Biswick (course instructor), and Thomas Masawi.

Contributed by Luwayo Biswick.

Responding to demand from people that could not understand our Chichewa course held last month, Kusamala  held  another gardener’s course in English last week, from the 9th through the 13th of June. Three interested people currently residing in Malawi, though originally from the United States, and Zimbabwe, attended: Kamille Danford, Katie Martinez, and Thomas Masawi. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they share the belief that we all have a responsibility to take care of people and the earth, and in order to be good stewards of the planet, we must share our resources. Kamille is a retired biology teacher with a passion to live sustainably and teach people nutrition, the advantages of local foods and natural medicines, and the connections between religion and farming. Thomas is a driver and gardener, and his vision is to establish a sustainable garden to produce fresh and organic foods. Katie is a Peace Corps volunteer working with villagers in Dowa district on how they can rehabilitate maize monoculture systems by applying permaculture principles.

Kamille enjoyed the course saying: “I cannot even start saying how exited I am. The things I liked most during the course were practicals on grafting, integrated pest management and Biswick’s enthusiasm.” She went on further, saying that through the course she had learned “the names of indigenous plants, best plants for pest management, and nitrogen fixing legumes, but [that] the greatest benefit being that I now have a good solid foundation in permaculture that I can build on with books and the internet.”

composting light

Luwayo Biswick giving pointers while Kamille, Katie, and Thomas build a compost pile.

The course participants not only enjoyed learning about permaculture design principles and gaining hands-on experience through tasks such as building compost piles and grafting trees, they also made lasting friendships and plan to work together and help each other during the implementation of their garden designs and other future projects.