Thursday, June 30, 2016

Compost Happens

When I first moved here, there was a small trash pit in my yard. A trash pit is a hole in the ground where you throw all your trash, and then burn it periodically. Everyone has one here. So the first thing I did was to only throw food, plants and other decomposable stuff there, and make it into a compost pile.

I've had some challenges with the compost pile, like other people burning it, and then having to burn it myself because it was infested with linthumbu (red driver ants). Another problem is people trying to throw plastic and other non-organic material into it, because composting food waste is not really a thing here. But it's been going a good six months now without any major issues.

I talk to the kids about the compost a lot (or composti, as they call it here), and how it is important to feed it organic matter. I tell them, "Ali ndi njala. Akufuna kudya masamba, zipatso, maudzu ndi zomera zambiri!" (It is hungry. It wants to eat many leaves/vegetables, fruits, grasses and plants!) That always cracks them up. Then they run, laughing, all the way to the compost pile with their leaves, orange peels and sugarcane fibers to "feed" it.

Today my landlord was repairing my fence, and as he left he took a whole wheelbarrow full of the compost for his garden. He said it was very good material. I was so proud! It showed me that he saw the value in what I was doing, which means a lot. He is a dedicated farmer with a lot of farmland around us, so I'm glad he will be making good use of it. Hopefully he will start his own compost pile now too.

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