Picking Eden Fruit – A Favourite Pastime!

Fasuma and her friends have a precious hobby.

When they are not in school, they like to collect and eat Eden fruit.

Fasuma (in blue headscarf) has invited all her friends to harvest Eden fruit from her grandfather’s field.

Together with eight others, Fasuma’s grandfather Umaru was among the first farmers to join the Eden program. He sowed the first trees in 1991, starting the process of transforming his field into a fruit-bearing Eden Garden, which his children and grand-children enjoy today.

Alternating between the Eden Gardens of their respective families, the children spend much of their leisure time collecting fruit. “Today, we’re harvesting from Fasuma’s field”, says Barira (furthest to the left). “Tomorrow, we will go to Hannatu’s.”

“We love Eden fruit!” says Rachida (in red headscarf), whose grandfather Idi joined the Eden program the same year as Fasuma’s. “But we’re not only harvesting for ourselves. We promised our mothers we would bring some fruit home to our younger brothers and sisters, who are too small to walk about in the fields. They love Eden fruit as much as we do, and if they don’t get some, they’ll cry. Thankfully, there is enough for all of us!”

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  1. Why isn’t this a more common sight?

    These aren’t starving African children at an aid station, eating donated rice. They aren’t sick, they aren’t covered with flies, they aren’t malnourished. These are healthy, happy African children in a desert climate, cheerfully eating African food from their families’ gardens, good, nutritious, native food that doesn’t require irrigation and that doesn’t fail completely when the rains don’t come.

    It is not a difficult concept: There would be no people in those areas, if it were not possible for the land to support them. Starvation and famine are the result of encouraging people to plant non-native cash crops that will not thrive. The Eden approach is a way of thinking about, and of respecting, native people that needs to spread. As stated in the “About” section of the blog, “From the very beginning, Eden’s purpose has never been to tell people how to live their lives, but to supply them with options that will enable them to achieve a sustainable life, independent of external assistance.”

    In the past year, there were news reports that the rains had not come, the millet crop had failed and the poor people of Niger were reduced to eating leaves. It sounded so dire, but, knowing the work of the Eden Foundation, I wondered. After all, I eat leaves regularly: Lettuce, cabbage, artichokes, spinach … Could I be starving and not even know it? I try not to be too cynical, but when I contrast the approach of setting up aid stations (pulling people off their land instead of encouraging them to farm efficiently) with the Eden approach of helping people to learn to be self-supporting, it’s hard not to look upon calls for international assistance with a wary eye. Perhaps there are places where the Eden approach cannot work, but, again, I would have to ask, how did people live there for thousands of years, before there were trucks and airplanes and large bags of grain to be distributed?

    In any case, Stories from Edenland is going on my daily bookmark list because I like to read about things that work and to see pictures of smiling children.

    Originally posted on http://nellieblogs.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-isnt-this-more-common-sight-these.html

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