Three hundred trees!!

Three hundred trees!!

Fruit! Fruit of any kind – avacados, oranges, guavas! Fruit is so welcomed, and so needed, by my friends in these villages who are living with HIV/AIDS. For some, when they have lost all appetite for food, they often can be coaxed back into eating with a little fruit, and so it’s been my habit when I go visiting people whenever I see fruit for sale I always buy whatever I can find so I have some just in case I need it for someone. And for those who are getting better, especially for the children, fruit gives that added nutrition and vitamins that help make the medicines effective.

One does of course get caught up in the immediate need – and so I buy fruit! But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming that one day I might have groves and groves of fruit trees and a near unlimited supply to meet all of the needs of all of my friends here who are sick. I can picture these hillsides providing a more than abundant supply one day. Well that day is about to get a whole lot closer.

There’s a man in the village named Chumi who truly has a “green thumb” and when I was visiting his tree nursery one day a couple of months ago he agreed that when the rains started up again he would sell me three hundred seedlings of a variety of fruit trees. Three hundred trees! He’s a man who knows what he is doing. And he agreed that he would show my students how to plant all of the trees, he would sell me the fertilizer from his farm so I wouldn’t have to try to get expensive commercial fertilizer, and he would give me, he promised, a very good discount.

He told us the size of the holes the students should dig and said that after they had them dug, he would come to inspect the holes and teach them everything they would need to know. He came as he had promised he would. And when he got ready to leave, we stepped back a bit from it all and I dared to imagine what it would look like a few years from now when these hillsides were covered in trees. I was already smiling thinking of it! And then Chumi said to me – “Mama I also want to help people who are sick. You can pay for the fertilizer but I came today to tell you that I want to give you all of the seedlings for free.” I smiled even more. I think I even wanted to cry. It’s so very nice to have so many allies right here in my own village. There are those who volunteer their time, those who give me gifts of soap and rice and clothing so I can give to those who are in the greatest of need, and now there is even someone who gives me the trees that he was supposed to sell.

It’s hard to know when the rainy season will begin here. But the day will come when the rains will start pouring down again on this land, and the red dust will become mud, and 300 very special fruit trees will be planted by my students to provide one day fruit for the poorest and the neediest in our villages – a treasure from yet another person with a heart to serve. How blessed I am to be here!