This is my last week at Global Gardens. It’s a bittersweet moment. I have loved my work this summer, and have learned so much about farming, vegetables, marketing, Somalia, Islam, and the lives of refugee families here in America.
I will miss the satisfaction of knowing that our work has helped refugee families raise over $15,000 this season. One family has eight kids and depends on welfare – so even the smallest profit is a big deal to them. I will miss the smile that come over Maka’s face when she counts the money she’s made at market that week. I will not miss the arguments that happen when one particular farmer believes we’ve cheated him out of $2 because we didn’t weight the tomatoes properly
I will miss Shamsi, Fatuma, and Sonte, three teenage girls that I work with a lot. I will miss their laughs, their girly cares about their current love interest, their hair-dos, and how much they love the latest song on the Top 40 charts. I will miss our more serious conversations about Ramadan, Islam, and trying to follow God and honor their families in this culture.
I will miss the tired but satisfied feeling of a hard day’s work at the farm. I will miss the sight of boxes and tubs of freshly-harvested produce ready to sell – the bright colors of tomatoes, peppers, and carrots, the abundant green of kale and swiss chard, the rich scent of basil and cilantro. I will not miss the tedium of washing lettuce and chopping it up for salad mix, the itchy green rash that green bean leaves give me, nor the sticky-smelly-dirty feeling that comes from layering my skin with sunscreen, bug spray, sweat, and dirt – and then repeating the layers every four hours.
I will miss Sheikh, Saladi, and Hamadi, the three youngest boys of one of our farmers (I secretly call them the Three Amigos). I will miss their huge smiles, their eagerness to “help”, and their funny little dances. I will not miss shrieking at them when they decide a dead, decomposing bird on the side of the road is a fun thing to play with. I will not miss having to drag them away from the cars of customers who have come to buy our produce at our roadside stand, lecturing them over and over that cars are not toys.
I will miss Katie and Elysia, the two devoted staff members of Global Gardens I’ve had the pleasure of working with this summer. I will miss our conversations as we share in the joy and frustration of working in an agricultural setting with refugees. I will not miss the stresses that unavoidably come with working for an under-staffed, under-financed non-profit organization (although it’s very likely I will encounter these same stresses in my work with IJM!)
I will miss our devoted customers, CSA members, and volunteers who believe so strongly in the mission of Global Gardens. I will miss the customer at the market who couldn’t believe how cheap our cucumbers are. I will not miss the customer who couldn’t believe how expensive our cucumbers are (yes, good prices are apparently relative).
I will miss being here for Eid al-Fitr, the big feast celebration at the end of Ramadan that will happen the day I fly to D.C (talk about lame timing!). I will miss the delicious sambusas (savory pastries) that Amina gives me, indicative of their big-hearted hospitality that welcomes me into their homes and lives.
Goodbye, my friends at Global Gardens. Thanks for sharing your piece of earth, your lives, your joys, your struggles with me. God be with you!