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Tanzania School Sustainable Garden Is Growing Strong

It’s been almost a month since BISB students returned from two weeks of service learning in Tanzania, and the group received an update this week on how the work they started has been going since their departure.

The group of five students and two teachers spent their second week in Africa in a remote Maasai village near Lake Natron, where they worked with guide company Summits Africa and local experts to develop a sustainable garden at the village school. Ideally, the garden will continue to be maintained by the village residents, and will help to feed the school’s students for years to come.

In 2013, Summits Africa set up The Destiny Foundation, a philanthropic arm of the company that provides ongoing support to communities that work for the country’s tourism industry. The sustainable garden at the Maasai school is the Foundation’s current project.

In February, the BISB students and teachers worked with Summits Africa and Simgas, a Tanzanian biogas company, to install a sustainable biogas system at the Maasai village school, allowing the school to turn cow manure into cooking fuel and bioslurry to fertilize the land and prepare it for planting.

During the week of volunteering, our students and staff worked with school community members and village residents to prepare the dry land for planting and to begin planting a wide range of fruits and vegetables.

Now, one month since the project began, BISB received an update on how the garden is doing.

“The basic question can we grow food has been answered pretty quickly, now onto other things,” Summits Africa founder and general manager Ake Lindstrom said in an email this week. “There's really no limit to what we could do here. Imagination and time are a good thing.”

The fruits and vegetables are growing very well in the garden, he said- a real transformation for the land that once was sand, rocks and grass.

Going forward, Lindstrom said, project leaders will work with school leaders to review how the various plants are growing and optimize the garden to grow as much food as possible. Project leaders will also continue to work with the school to ensure the biogas system produces as much cooking fuel as possible.

The garden is a vital project for the village school. Many students get their only meal of the day while at school, and the school often runs out of the food they are given by the Tanzanian government. To have fresh fruits and vegetables grown at their school will be life-changing.

The garden will also serve as a learning tool for the local students, and, if successful, as an example for the village as a whole, with the potential to create other sustainable gardens in the village.

Click here to view pictures from the garden and explore its success so far.