Today I went to a music lesson in Magunas. The lesson started with learning how to tune a djembe, later followed by drumming practice. At the end of the lesson, my music teacher’s daughter walked into the compound with a large, ripe avocado. I asked her where she got it from, to which she replied, “I picked it from the tree at my neighbour’s house, I like to go there and get one when I get hungry.” She then kindly asked me if I wanted to go for a walk around their community. While on the walk she explained to me the vegetation is grown in their backyards. She then told me that they grow bananas, papayas, kale and other vegetables. In Magunas, all the neighbours grow various types of foods and walk freely into each other’s compounds to harvest what they need.

Afterward, we walked over to the neighbouring compound where she had picked the avocado earlier that day. The avocado tree was massive and plentiful with fruit. I met the neighbours who owned the tree and they told me that they love to exchange their avocados for the ripe banana in my music teacher’s backyard.

Next, we arrived back to the compound of my music teacher. His daughter took me through the garden and I was very amused to have many hens running past my feet and digging in the garden. She took me to the coup where the rooster lives and we also found an egg.

My teacher’s son walked into the compound with two large plastic barrels. He had just come back from the water station in the town center and filled them with clean drinking water.  My music teacher explained to me that there isn’t any running water to the houses in their community. For drinking water, (as previously stated) they collect it from the water station in town. The water used for non-consumption, (ex. washing clothes) is collected in two different ways. First, on a smaller scale, he had spouts coming out from the roof that collected and poured rainwater into a strategically placed barrel. Secondly, on a larger scale, he explained to me that the main mode for water collection is through their borehole that was built into the backyard. He brought me to the borehole and threw down a medium sized barrel that was connected to a rope, it quickly filled with water and he pulled it back up.

My music teacher then brought out a goat’s skin that he was drying and shaving in order to make a drum. He told me how the goat is very useful to him and his family. They kill the animal, the meat it provides nourishment for many weeks and then he used the skin to create drums for his music.

The resourcefulness of my teacher, his family and community amazed me. The fresh fruit, vegetables and free-range animal products so readily available pertains to the hard work and care required to accumulate food sources. It delectably adds the nutrients and micronutrients that are essential for proper replenishment of the body. The community-wide consensus on sharing food displays strong links of social cohesion and other resilient social structures – a sense of community I long for at home.


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