Friday, March 4, 2011

I wanted a donkey, I got worms instead.

Originally my posting as a food security advisor was going to be in a very small, rural community in Western Honduras. Upon hearing this, I had made big plans before I left Canada to scrimpt together some of my volunteer honourarium and get myself a donkey. Nothing fancy, just an "A to B" model burro.  His name was to be "Toyota", or alternatively, "Vamonos" (Let's Go).  I arrived, and as we were warned in training could happen, plans had changed, and I was now to be stationed in the much less rural, larger centre of Santa Rosa de Copan.

I am not complaining.  I work the a big, airy, light-filled office of ASONOG with about 30 other employees.  It's not a cubicle farm.  The large offices hold about three to six desks each of members of specific work areas, and they all share the space amiably.  This set-up seems to really help with collaboration and I love it.

ASONOG is a non-governmental organization that works with a bunch of other NGOs in the areas of citizen participation and governance, food security and entrepreneurship, sustainable natural resource management, basic health and hygiene, and organizational capacity building.  They target vulnerable populations who have been traditionally excluded from participation in democratic processes from local to national levels.

I'm going to be working on three main projects: 1) developing farm business plans with small, local producers. 2) implementing a community food security and community health project in the small village I was originally supposed to be posted in, Belen Gualcho 3) working on a water management project in partnership with Canada World Youth.  For the water project, we will be developing a tool to teach community leaders, especially youth leaders, about water management in all it's complex dimensions for rural Honduras.  Agricultural residues, soil erosion, community sanitation (many households don't even have outhouses), rain-water capture, downstream effects, waste management and landfill designations...complex dimensions.  It's all very exciting and right up my alley.  Now if only the Spanish would come a little faster and easier, I could dig right in.  Fortunately I've discoved some great, free, resources on the Hesperian Foundation website.  "How to" resources in layman's terms on topics of health, environment, and community action in both English and Spanish.  Empowerment.  Woot!

All this to say, I likely won't get a donkey while I'm here, but that's a small sacrifice for getting to live and work in the place I'm at.  As a consolation prize, on my birthday, I was able to attain a pound of composting worms. One of our partner organizations has a demonstration integrated farm with rabbits, chickens, non-timber forest products, pineapple, yuca, a veggy garden and vermiculture (composting with worms).  So now I'm enjoying a bit more food security, reduced landfill waste and soon, healthier house plants at my own urban home.  The next step will be a container garden with herbs and veggies I hope.  I am the worm whisperer.

1 comment:

  1. ohhh i left my wormies behind in montreal and i'm pretty sure they don't have such a thing here :( jealous!