Community Garden

The community garden was established in 1999 with a donation of $450 from Carroll Airey’s Children Helping Children Club. The money was used to clear the garden space and to build a fence around it. The goal for the garden is to improve the soil, produce fruits and vegetables for the nutritional program at the Casa Materna and to train families on how to grow their own produce at home. In addition, fast growing trees are being planted on the south side of the garden to produce firewood for the kitchen’s wood burning stove. This reduces the need to walk many kilometres to local forests to find firewood.

The garden area behind the Casa Materna is surrounded by a fence built with the help of Carroll’s Children Helping Children Club. This cleared area once was covered with invasive shrubs, vines and weeds. All were removed by volunteers, many of them women from the community.

The north side of the garden has been cleared for the development of a vegetable garden. The soil is in need of much improvement.

Fruits trees, firewood trees and medicinal shrubs have been planted near the well. In the foreground is a noni shrub, known for many medicinal properties. Just behind it are two young papaya trees and to the right is a young orange tree.


The father of one of the young pregnant rural women staying at the Casa Materna awaiting the birth of her baby, volunteers to plant yucca stem cuttings, which when rooted will be planted out into the garden.


This arbour was built by the father of children who take part in the nutrition program. Passion fruit vines have just been planted at the base of each pole.


In 2007, a local volunteer is working at the south end of the garden to clear away invasive shrubs and plants. This area is to be planted with trees for firewood use.


Invasive trees and shrubs were cut off but the roots need to be dug out.


Digging out the roots is very difficult work in this hard-packed and rocky soil.


Carroll’s son Devin (left) accompanied her to Santa Rosa del Peñon in February 2007. Here he is helping to clear the new firewood plot using a pick axe he bought to help the project.


Bertha Rostran, one of the Casa Materna’s directors, volunteers in the garden. She is using a bar to loosen and remove one of the many big rocks in the garden space. The roots and scraps from trees removed from the garden space are used for firewood.


Carroll (right) is volunteering in the garden (February 2007). She is using a steel bar to remove rocks and tree roots. Lilliam (left), the Casa Materna’s midwife is volunteering in the garden. Her flimsy homemade rake has a handle made from a sapling.


November 2008, Bertha Rostran shows one of Carroll’s tour participants a newly planted firewood tree using a drip bottle for watering.


These fast-growing firewood trees were planted at the beginning of the rainy season in May 2007 and by November were already several metres high.



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