Garden of Life’s Return

Before I came to live in Goudoude, my first aspiration as an agroforestry volunteer was to create a tree nursery where people could come learn about trees and have access to species that weren’t previously available in the area. To do this I needed a safe, fenced off place. My brother Abou helped me make a fence. And in all honesty, he and my friend Oumar made the fence. I stood and watched… and ‘directed’ if you will.


Well, the space turned into a garden as well. I had wanted to try out some of the Peace Corps gardening techniques that I wanted to help people with. I needed the experience working with new trees and crops, the soil, the climate, the weather, etc. Doing is learning.


All disasters aside, the little eden took on many faces over the course of the seasons. Folks would always ask me what was what for I was growing things they had never seen before.

What was I growing? More like, What wasn’t I growing…

  • Moringa
  • Leucaena
  • Pigeon PeaIMG_9203
  • Cashew
  • Guayava
  • Pomegranite
  • Flamboyant
  • Bombardia
  • Papaya
  • Ziziphus
  • Baobab
  • Citrus
  • China Pride
  • Bougainvillea
  • Hibiscus
  • Okra
  • Beans
  • Neem
  • Agave sisal
  • Sweet Sop
  • Sour Sop
  • Watermelons



If you know me, you know I like to change things around a lot. Mix things up a bit.






What made me happiest about creating this garden was the life that returned to our yard which was once a barren, unused space. Frogs, lizards, praying mantis, scorpions, birds, geckos, butterflies, beetles, and so many other nameless critters came to inhabit the niches of this space. Its another classic example of how when we take care of our environment and provide good stewardship, biodiversity can thrive- not just us.


Here is a huge praying mantis that made my moringa trees his home. A positive omen. Predators indicate ecosystem health. They help control populations of other creatures, who can often become pests if left unchecked. Predators reproduce more less rapidly than their prey, as is nature’s design. So when you have them, you have to foster them. Unless they are menacing scorpions. Those my family says must go.




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