Chocolate | In A Village

One of the precious treats that we are so used to in the developed world –

— our chocolates…

— are too often missing… from our world’s far off villages.

Click Here For One Of Our Favorite Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipes | from Gimme Some Oven

Writing about ‘missing’ chocolate – is like writing a post about missing refrigeration, sleeping on concrete floors – and battling floodwaters and mosquitos – it’s like – writing post about the  lack of healthcare, and reminiscing over the separations of time and space from old friendships and close relationships – about nights and meals spent away from your own children.  Missing chocolate falls hand-in-hand with the discomforting realities of poverty – oppression, and the hope and faith of humanitarian mission work – which, like a sacred and holy marriage to a  life-cause, are all worthy of a blog post of their own.

So… Why do people sleep in beds?  Why do people need to stay dry?  Are all questions that our readers could ask.   People who live in poverty – or slave-like conditions can explain and humanize the answers to those questions more directly than any imagined list that privileged ones – who have never lived wihout those comforts -would ever be able to ponder.  The world’s poor – could offer tips that could help anyone live better whom might someday find themselves living in such sorrowful conditions.

Chocolate has a higher iron content than many foods, and in the absence – or infrequency – of a supply of red meat, chocolate is craved more deeply in the village, for those, like humanitarian workers from the developed world, who know what it is.  However, supplies of it are short, and sweet – because it has to be refrigerated during shipping, which isn’t easy to cover in the hot vans.

I know this – because I have tried and tried to bring the joys of chocolate to the children in our village.  I have learned that the easiest way to travel with chocolate – is to travel with tins of powdered cocoa.  If you are not able to find or travel with tins of cocoa, which are also available in the airport cities of most world nations, homemade caramel is also an easy treat – and the ingredients can be found easily in nearly every nation. 

Once, I remember boarding an airplane after a very rough trip.  I had not eaten enough, and I had worked too hard in the village.  A flight attendant smiled as I stepped from the ramp into the plane, crossing myself for a safe flight.

She had a basket in her hands, full of king-sized candy bars.

Or – maybe they were not king-sized, they were just developed-world proportioned.

The look on my face must have gone incredulous, because if I remember right, she handed me two of them.

Once you know what chocolate is, you would never be satisifed with any less than the real thing.

It was one of the most gracious kindnesses – when abundance met a deep need in the perfect moment.  Like cute little Hershey’s kisses of reassurances that there was something right still in the world.

It’s that feeling that you get when you know that someone was aware of something small that would bring you joy.

Chocolate has an interesting traveling history of it’s own – and while I crave chocolate often, very often, I always want to enjoy it – slowly, and a little bite after little bite.  A supply of chocolate is good for the mind, body and soul.  Often, when traveling, I will buy a huge bag of chocolate-covered cherries and or berries with a shared-membership from Costco.

As political relationships seem to be changing daily, I hope that there is still something right with the world, and that there is still goodness, and love hidden in the far-off corners of it.  We are depending on this right now, and our faith in God, and are placing our hope and our actions – every day – into our faith in that love – and the love for our close friends, our children, and our love for those in distant places, is always going to be strong and intelligent enough, because it comes directly from a God who love’s love.  If you have any international relationships, or just close relationshps in general I’d encourage you to talk to them sometime this week, and to offer them the ‘chocolate’ and goodness of conversation and life.  Good conversations are like chocolate.  Love needs to be a little bit louder these days, and closer.  Creativity with words that express love are just reflections of the capacity and abundance of our brilliant Creator.

Click on the picture above for a Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe, which also also found me like a basket of candy bars on a hungry flight, all melted together with the comforting flavors of marshmallow and vanilla.


The Difference Between Slaves and Refugees, Human Rights & Slave-Free Tomatoes

The other day, I was passing by one of my favorite market areas in a small stateside city.  The refugees were selling black cherry heirloom tomatoes.

I purchased a small basket full of the wine-colored fruits in order to bless their labor.  Several weeks ago, we wrote a post about slave-free tomatoes.      Buying heirloom tomatoes from local refugees while attempting to garden tomatoes in an area with several severe human rights violations – brought me to wondering…

What is the difference between the mindset of a slave… and a refugee?

Is a refugee someone who refused to BE a slave?  Or, is a slave simply a person that hasn’t ever been given an opportunity to – be free?

I started typing out a post about the differences that I’ve seen in working with people – who could be considered both – and hope to share it soon.

In the meantime, please keep reading below to understand our thoughts on slave-free tomatoes:

Heart healthy
Fresh Tomatoes | In The Village

“So, let me get this straight…”  I asked, continuing hesitantly –

“you mainly eat corn, onions, tomatoes and dark leafy greens.”

“Yes.”  Said the widow.

And you drink tea.

“Yes.”  She said.

“You know how to grow the corn, and the onions yourselves.”

“Yes.”  She said sternly.

“Do you know how to grow the tomatoes?”


“Where do the tomatoes come from?”

“I don’t know where they come from.”

“How do they get to the market?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you allowed to grow tomatoes?”  I asked finally, trying to make sense of this situation.

The widow shuffled.  And hesitated.  “There are many things which we have not been taught to do properly.  They do get angry at those who grow different things from time to time.”

I knew from my food biology class that tomatoes were needed to fill the nutritional gap from the glucose in the corn.  The children would become quickly malnourished without the vitamins and nutrition present in a plant they were not able to produce for themselves.

Read Our Post On Tomatoes, Peppers & Onions | In A Village

Meaning — they had to have money in order to be healthy. 

“Do you know what the seed to a tomato looks like?”  I asked.

“Of course.”

There had to be at least twenty seeds in every tomato we purchased.

Twenty seeds that could produce 20 tomato plants.

Twenty tomato plants, that could yield about 15 pounds of food per plant.

Why were these people afraid to grow what it would take to keep their children from dying of hunger?

“Okay.  We are going to have to figure out how to grow tomatoes in pots.”

The people agreed.

-Check back in with us soon, we may have more posts and pictures of our tomato project, which is currently in progress:


Click Here For This Fresh Rainbow Salsa Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

Click here to read about Slave Free Tomatoes — rights for immigrant workers, and pick up some great tomato recipes!


Click here for the Rainbow Salsa Recipe (pictured above).

Make A General Donation To Support Our Cause | Pinteresting Against Poverty


Check out some of our other posts from this year:

We always appreciate your feedback and comments.  Please share your thoughts below.

Stay tuned for posts about some other seeds we’ve planted.




Strawberries | In A Village

Strawberries – and I – have an interesting kind of relationship.

Sometimes – I love them.  Sometimes, I don’t.

Why?  (Oh, the answer is complicated…)

Strawberry Seeds Before Planting | Rainbow Garden In Our Village

I did not like strawberries – until a family member taught me to mince them up with loads of sugar and serve them over vanilla ice cream – from Aldi.

Later, as an adult – I decided to grow some in our little porch garden.

“Can I eat this berry?”  Asked my sweet little son, kneeling with his fingers gently canvassing a purplish-red one.

“Of course you can.”  I smiled, proud that he had selected a good one. We were very proud of our little garden.

Later, we worked with strawberries in the village – to correct some of the nutritional deficiencies – with the village children.

The children living in poverty in this remote area did not have the same diversion as I did to the tiny red fruit.  They are accustomed to eating – even limes – without grimacing – so they didn’t require any sugar to enjoy the treat – and were fond of them immediately.

We were focusing on the production of vertical planters and baskets, because I knew that if we could control the soil if it were not in the earth, we could alter the conditions until we could produce more of them – and if not enough to feed everyone bowls full, we could at least make up a few batches of strawberry tea – which is popular in that area.  

Upside Down Strawberry Pot | Pinteresting Against Poverty

To read more about our stories about strawberries in the village, and human rights – please subscribe.  We have a tea recipe we’d love to share with you soon, as well as more information about the health benefits of these cute little red seedy berries.

Click Here For Free Strawberry Recipes From Gimme Some Oven!

So now, strawberries are memories of my new friends, that are family, too.   Check out this Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe from Gimme Some Oven!  

Click Below To Make A Donation for healthy food and meals for children in our village – and support our Rainbow Garden Project:

Click Here To Make a Donation To Support Children’s Rights – & Rainbow Gardens | In Our Village
Click Here To Make A Donation To Support Healthy Meals & Justice | In Our Village

Chilean Plums | In A Village

On a trip, far, far away — further than I could walk,

— a trip that happened after a long walk — in a luxurious contraption called a motor car,

— I found a Chilean plum, in a grocery store.

The color was delightful, and I purchased one…

Chilean Plum | In A Village

–to bring back to the village — and feed the children a taste.  

After taking a few videos and pictures with the beautiful fruit —

–we cut it into small pieces, and set it out as a treat for a four-year-old’s birthday, passing the dish around.

The fruit was soft, and juicy, and sweet.

We were careful — to save the seed.

Hoping to see — if it might be possible — to grow something similar in the village.

We all knew that if we could get something like that seed to produce — like a good “Jack and the Beanstalk” story,  the fruit could generate income, and fill nutritional gaps — for the orphans and the widows.  

Something as simple as a good seed could also house, clothe, and educate the widow with the green thumb — or — the struggling young student with the internet connection.

On a different continent, a few weeks later — I went to a grocery store.

 I smiled when I saw the same little plums on the shelf.  My hope — was that the little barefooted children in the far off village where these fruit were produced — were able to go to school by the cost of their produce.  

Some may think that someone as far away as a fruit picker in the subtropical nations doesn’t have an impact on their well-being or daily lives —

— but the fruit was just one glowing example of how far the efforts of their simple labor were able to reach.  The cheery little fruit was brightening the produce baskets in three different corners of the world.

It’s a wonder to me, that people can walk past the fruit in their grocery stores, and really not know the lands or the people they come from.  The fruit has a shorter lifespan, and yet travels further, than most people do.

Read more about human rights and how we are fighting malnutrition with our Rainbow Garden!  

Coming Soon:  How to prepare the plum seed from the fruit.  Subscribe to read the story:


Red Purple Onions

A few days ago, I bought a bundle of red onions – from a refugee.

The woman had the strong personality of a survivor.   She waved over the purple fruits for $2 both proudly – and indignately – at the same time as if the seemingly privileged me would be stupid not to.

Her scruitinous eyes looked me up and down carefully as I counted down the change I thought I might have left in my purse.  She clearly didn’t have x-ray vision.

There is just something about color that makes our fruits and vegetables more wonderful, and breaks the monotony of mass-production -which kills artistry and nutrition both – at about the same level.

Life is healthy – when it’s colorful.  And so our our plates.

That said, I have to point out for our rainbow gardening project in the village – that –

– red onions – so help me God – are purple.

For all necesary photography purposes – for all purposes of filling in that wonderful spectrum – red onions are violet, should the v-word be your preference.

We were able to find red onions – that are purple –

— at a store near the capital city of the nation of our village earlier this year.

Check Out This Free Italian Sausage and Veggie Bowl Recipe (With Roasted Red Onions) | Gimme Some Oven

If anyone wondered why red was purple – and purple red — they didn’t ask.

For those who refer to a ‘red’ onion – without even acknowledging the obviousness of the more complicated shades – they didn’t know.  They were too used to the vocabulary to challenge the present vision of truth.

And yet, even though you know that for anyone who refers to a red onion with wide and honest eyes and clear hearts who did know the difference – it would be because they were so used to people getting it wrong – that they got used to not correcting them.  After all, if they didn’t notice the difference, there are only a few and very special yet far between moments when it would have even made a difference – that don’t always stand out and kiss your cheek until your awareness grows.  

Yet, sometimes – I think we know, without knowing.

I wish that they would have tried

— to plant those purple bulbs earlier.  Those little onions really love that spring weather.

There is a crowd, within a crowd – that does quietly notice the difference.  I like those people – but I do need to ask them why they didn’t speak up sooner.

Like the purple heart in this picture, I would have defended anyone good who upheld that chromatic integrity – of onions and their variations.  In many ways, I was already defending it – without even knowing what it was that I was defending, and also being judged harshly for my insistance on the vocabulary issue – without knowing the deeper meaning of the annoyances that I unintentionally brought to other people. Words were used to describe my hopeful garden project that both made me blush – and also made me worry that if too many peppers were planted that no onion of any color would ever find a home by my tomatoes at all, in the same way that most can’t stand spicy salsa – and I am very guilty of needing that heat on the end of my tongue in order to enjoy so many different meals.  At least, for peppers, I know what they are – and where to get them.  Like a good pepper, spicy red onions have caused me a great deal of worthwhile tears.  Onions have deeper roots, and grow in the dark – and it’s hard to know what’s going on until they finally surface – in one way or another.

It didn’t seem to bother anyone else as much as it did me – that the red onions were purple.  I needed somebody – to say something.  To take me by the hand and assure me that my fine arts education did not get lost underneath the ground in the dark corners of nutritional biology.   Is a purple onion really different from an onion of any other color – when it’s left in the dark?  Isn’t light a requirement for the presence of all-color?

I needed someone to gently reassure me that it was okay to stand on the point that some people just don’t understand that red onions – are actually purple – and that it’s okay.

I’m the kind of person that would go to the grocery store – or market – and look lost in the produce section for hours – because I was looking for a red.  The desire to please would keep me looking through all of the veggies for hours, trying to find a way in my mind to make the wrong shade work – and wondering why it just doesn’t.  If I couldn’t find a red one, I’d spend hours trying to find the ‘reddest’ purple onion.

Until I knew, or at least – believed.  

And then, there was no one to go grocery shopping with and walk through the aisles with – to put any kind of vision together with the better-defined reality.

Together, the children and I decided to re-grow our little red – purple bulbs we bought in the city, this time – I was knowing – and watching them for their reactions of our new garden addition.  They’ve never noticed outloud, but they all have their own layers.

It is so hard to share a language – without points of reference.

Throughout history, color theory has been an under-canvassed course.  Color vocabulary was never as defined as it is today – in a large part, thanks to our wonderful childhood boxes of Crayolas – like the big one I was jealous that others seemed to have in elementary school.

In a search online – trying to figure out why anybody would call a purple onion red, I ran across some old poetic references

– that violets are blue and white grapes are green…that one of my favorite characters, Anne of Green Gables had hair – red as carrots.  

As much as I loved orphan stories as a little girl, I didn’t have any best friends to share them with.

So why would someone choose a red onion, a purple onion, any color of onion which is brighter than the white norm, and try to plant this root in a developing nation – or anywhere?

It must be because they cherish art, because they want to hold everything that’s beautiful and layered close – because they realize that there is something more than a monochromatic purpose in our lives – and each deviation from the norm presents the opportunity for creativity – and the chance to live for a higher spiritual awareness and purpose.

Color may make our lives more challenging – but as long as they are present – life is always more beautiful, more healthy, and more worth living.

Preparing Rainbow Garden Eggplant | In A Village

“And what is your favorite vegetable to eat?” I asked the widow.

Eggplant From Our Rainbow Garden In The Village | Pinteresting Against Poverty

“It’s called,,” she pronounced the next syllables carefully. “Di—le—de.”  (Or — something like that.)

“And what does it taste like?”  I asked.

It wasn’t easy to figure out which vegetable she was referring to by her verbal description.

It is no easy activity to actually describe the vegetables you are used to eating.  African Eggplant, for example, is also known as ‘bitter tomato’; aubergine écarlate, tomate amère, djakattou; nakati etíope, berenjena escarlata and  非洲紅茄.

Eggplant From Our Rainbow Garden Grown By Children In The Village | Pinteresting Against Poverty

“It comes from a plant that is about this big.” She motioned to about waist-high, determined to help me figure out this — her favorite vegetable,

“–and it has yellow flowers that bloom and then grow down.”

“And you like the plant?”

“Yes.” She said.

“And it grows here well? In this soil?”

“Yes, it does.” She said, hopefully. She gave me a hopeful sideways glance wondering if I would I buy the seeds for her…

Click Here For A Free Easy Ratatouille Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

“So how do you cook it?” I asked.

“We make a relish of it. So we chop it up and we put it with the flavorings of the chickens. We sometimes add some leaves and onions.”

“You mean… you even eat the leaves?”

“Yes!” She said.

And so we sought to get the right seeds.

To grow them for the widow that had tried them before — and loved them.

Update: After growing a whole batch of this lovely purple vegetable, the children began to look towards their trusted adults to find different ways to prepare their new vegetable.  They sauteèd the cut vegetable with tomatoes and other vegetables.  Now we’ve learned that combination of late-summer vegetables – has a French name.

We were looking for a good eggplant recipe that is close to what the village is preparing – and now we’ve found one!  Try this Easy Ratatouille from Gimme Some Oven!

Learn how we are working to fight nutritional deficiencies in the village through Rainbow Gardening:

Rose Petals

Rose Cupcakes | Pinteresting Against Poverty

We are hoping to learn how to grow roses, soon.

Not just roses, but little red tea roses.

And lovely, healing, blessed yellow roses.

Roses are more sensitive plants, and need to be handled with great care – and can grow well in many different environments – as long as they get the compassion that they need.

Their blooms, teas, desserts, and healing properties make all of the thorns worthwhile.

“A roses rarest essence lives in the thorn.”  -Rumi 

A kind gentleman taught us how we might try to grow roses in different climates.  

He suggested that we use what we have access to – all organic – and look for a rose root that is already thriving well in that climate and that we must learn how to graft the roses we desire to the root which is already strong in those conditions.

All roses need to have a good home, and people to take good care of them – when they are beautiful, and even in their darkest hours.  

Read Our Post On Yellow Roses | In A Village

A rose that is happy will bless you in a thousand ways.  A rose that is not well cared for is just a stick with thorns – and not just in the ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ troubles-smell- -like-lemon-drops kind-of-way.

We are praying for the future successes of our rose projects.  From the most passionate of reds, to the most friendliest of yellows.  

It seems like every time I looked at our new little rose plants, I feel the power of possibilities and little healing miracles surrounding them.  I look at them and remember the childhood them of ‘they love me‘ and ‘they love me not‘.  

I always pray they love me, and that they will find me.  

Learn How To Make Rose Cake | Gimme Some Oven

Please stay tuned to more about roses against poverty and human right’s violations, homelessness, hate crimes, and more.

A thorn defends the rose, harming only those that would steal the blossom.” – Chinese Proverb

The roses will make a happy edition to our Rainbow Garden Project.

“It will never rain roses: when we want more roses we will have to plant more trees.” -George Eliot


How To Grow A Rainbow Garden:  

Let us know what you think!  We’d love to hear from you:





Why Do We Need Shoes? | In A Village

The mud…

is not only… dirty.

The mud, is not only inescapable and slippery —

— to those who can’t afford to pay for proper shoes.

The mud is a pathway to parasites,

…which crawl in through painful sores in the feet,

and climb the legs to lay eggs in the lungs of it’s victims.

The mud isn’t only dirty…

it’s plagued with a herpes virus —

— that causes cancer.

The mud, and an absence of proper shoes…

— is one of the reasons why there are so many orphans

— in the village.

Did you know that there are viruses in the soil, which damage children’s health?  Help us to raise awareness by sharing this post on your social media.  Sometimes barefoot isn’t an option.  Click on the link below to visit our store and make a general donation to support children’s rights – including shoes for their feet:

Click Here To Donate ‘A Pair of Shoes’ for Child Justice | Pinteresting Against Poverty
Make a donation for children’s rights – and shoes – at this link | Pinteresting Against Poverty
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FREE RESOURCE:  Why is this child hurting?  | A Conversation With The Devil (Click here to read more.)

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How To Grow Beets | Children’s Instructions From The Village

How To Grow A Rainbow Garden | Beets In A Village

“There is too much hunger, here.”

Said the social worker, shaking her head. Her neat braids stayed professionally tight and close to her skin as she frowned with the effort of the heat of the day.

“Even the pregnant women,” she continued, “sometimes they eat dirt — of all things — they even admit to it, guiltily. They know it isn’t good for their babies, but they claim their stomachs are so empty -“

I shook my head.

“ empty, that they need it.” She said, looking at me carefully.

For some, their suffering was unimaginable.

Beets | In A Village

“But,” She grinned, “we found out – that – there is a high iron content in the soil. It may be that they crave the very dirt because it smells like the iron they need.”

After doing some nutritional research, I found beets.

Beets are able to absorb the iron from the soil, and grow well in certain seasons in sub-tropical areas.

They are also beautiful and bright.

The coloring of the beet is also used to create food dye.

Not only do beets provide much-needed nutrition for expectant mothers — but they also make the children smile.

If you do ministry in an area that has high occurances of malnutrition or anemia —

— plant beets.

If you can’t find the seeds, go to the capital city in your developing nation, and buy a beet from a grocery store, and plant the root. Beets are one of the magical roots that re-grow.

Not only do beets fight iron deficiencies, but they also stabilize blood sugars. So – if a family or child is fasting or missing meals, the beets will help to keep their homeostasis more regular through seasons of food insecurities.

It’s like planting your own iron supplement, which also includes calcium, and Vitamins A and C.

It’s good for the women and children.

 I completed some nutritional research on beets, and started to learn about their nutritional value.  I compared that information to some of the deficiencies noted in the diets of the children in our village.  Once in Africa, I looked in the grocery store in the capital city – and sure enough, I found beets on the produce shelf – which meant that it was likely they could grow in the nearby soil.  I picked up a few, and brought them home to the children.  

We learned that beets are one of the foods that re-grow – which means you can grow a whole root back from the top of the bulb when re-planted.  The children have been charged with the responsibility to learn how to grow beets this summer – join them in their efforts and plant your own garden today!

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Here is our guide on how to grow beets in your own garden.

How To Grow Beets | Children’s Instructions From The Village

Yield: (This is only a sample garden, so you would only harvest one beet bulb.)

  • beet seed
  • sandy soil in a sunny location
  • water
  • *eggshell for indoor planting optional
  1. Plant in a sunny location, cover with 1/2 inch of soil. The seed may take 10-21 days to germinate. Our seeds sprouted early in the village, yours may too.
  2. Water them every other day, or when they look thirsty.
  3. Your beets should be ready to harvest in 55-60 days time.

Not sure how to use beets? Click below for a great recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

Have questions or comments?  Let us know how your projecting goes!




How To Grow Yellow Squash | Children’s Instructions From The Village

How To Grow A Late-Summer Rainbow Garden: Yellow Squash | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Oh, my goodness.

Looking at the hunger season in our village, and the foods produced during the hunger season – like pumpkins – I wondered if bright yellow squash couldn’t be a culinary and nutritional addition to the driest weather seasons.

It was a blessing- to be right.

The children were careful to plant neat little rows under the supervision of the adults.  

The plants sprouted quickly, and produced larger and larger leaves, that turned into the brightest yellow fruit – full of seeds – to replant in coming seasons.

“We like these!”  Said the children of the village.  “We like these!”  Said the adults of the village.

All of a sudden, the color yellow began to greet hungry plates and bowls.  

It was our own little ‘miracle’.






How To Grow A Late-Summer Rainbow Garden | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Ever since we first started growing summer squash, these new vitamins have been added to the children’s diet.  We will post pictures of their planting soon.  Consider planting squash in your garden this season and enjoy the brightly colored fruit on your own plate.  Check back with us for fresh yellow squash recipes soon!

How To Grow Yellow Squash | Children’s Instructions From The Village

Yield: several pounds of squash per seed

  • squash seed
  • sandy soil
  • water
  1. 1.Sow in a sunny place under 1 inch of soil and water with about three feet of space between plants. Water well when planting and once a week after planting - or as needed.
  2. 2.Seed should germinate (start to grow) within 5-12 days. Our seeds always seem to germinate early in the village.
  3. 3. The leaves will start to grow, and will make a neat little circular bush that should begin producing flowers which will turn to fruit that rests underneath the plant. Allow the squash to grow to 8-10 inches before picking.
  4. 4. Fruit is usually ready to harvest in about 60-80 days time.
  5. 5. Check back with us for a recipe to enjoy with your garden squash.

Let us know how your experience planting goes!  Also, feel free to ask any questions – or just provide feedback.

How To Grow Watermelon | In A Village

Oh, Watermelon.  The Original South African Fruit.

If you canvas the seed shelves of American nurseries – you can even find it by name, such as a ‘Congo’-titled variety of the sweet pink fruit: ‘Congo Watermelon Seeds’.

If the children in the village have a love at the end of a rainy season – it’s watermelon.  They love the bright pink, and green.  Villagers stack the sugary melons high on the sides of the roads in small pyramids, like awkward oval legos, and barefooted little children scurry by – licking their fingers if they’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some of the sweet fruit of the season, spitting out the seeds, and carefully pocketing them to plant in some random corner for the next season to come.

Watermelon is a fruit that originated in tropical Southern Africa, and is actually classified as a large berry.  The fruit contains the perfect nutrition for a hot day, and preserves moisture which is needed in the heat of the African savannah.  There is evidence that watermelon travelled north to Egypt, where it was cultivated, and the seeds met with trading routes that have made this fruit a popular favorite all over the world.

An Actual Watermelon Grown In Our Village | Pinteresting Against Poverty


Watermelon is very useful, and reasonably easy to plant and grow.  One of the major benefits of planting watermelon, is that the fruit matures and is ready to consume within 100 days of planting the seed, and therefore perfect for a bumper crop in between seasons.

So plant your watermelon today – and enjoy the fresh taste of tropical South Africa.

To Grow Your Watermelon Seeds:

  1. Find an area that is large enough to allow a large vine to grow.  An area near a fence will also work, as the vines can also grow vertical.  Watermelons like to grow in partly sunny, partly shady locations that are a bit sandy.  (Our children often start their plants in eggshells, if you would rather start your seed indoors – click here for instructions.)
  2. Plant the seed 2 inches below the soil and water it carefully.
  3. The seed should sprout within a week’s time, and will grow quickly after that.
  4. If the vines become messy, you can make a trellis to train the vine to grow in any direction you wish.
  5. The yellow flowers will convert to fruit within a few short weeks.
  6. The fruit is ripe when there is a yellow spot on the underbelly of the fruit which develops once the berry has matured and the stem tendril starts to turn brown.
  7. Check back in with us for some fresh watermelon recipes – like Watermelon Juice (or Agua de Sandia) and more!

How To Grow Pumpkin Leaves | In A Village

How To Grow Pumpkin Leaves | In A Village

As we were sitting down for dinner one night, I wondered about the steaming green leaves that were cooked with oil in the pan.  “What are these?”  I wondered.

“Pumpkin leaves.”  Answered the widow.

“What?”  I wondered.  Surely we couldn’t – eat –  pumpkin leaves.  Pumpkin leaves are – prickly.

Yet many of the villagers just dropped their bare hands down into the rather attractive green slush on their plates, and mixed the green relish up with the cornmeal they balled up with their fingers.  All of the barefoot, shoeless little Cinderellas and princes gather to their hungry little knees to eat their supper, as almost always – without proper utensils.  

 Pumpkin leaves taste like a mixture of kale and iceberg lettuce – they are crispier than kale, and hold more water – but they are more flavorful than iceberg leave and have almost a parsley-ish after-glow.  I was surprised at how good the pumpkin leaves tasted.

Another blessing of pumpkin leaves is how fast they grow.In a hungry village, these small seeds keep several children alive during the months of the dry season.  

The leaves are a bit prickly to eat, but you soon get used to that.  It’s just a different texture.   Another blessing is the pumpkin fruit, which doesn’t take long to mature, and can also withstand the heat and dry weather.  

Below you can find our instructions for how to grow pumpkin leaves (and actual pumpkins).  

Let us know what you think about our gardening and our recipes.  It is difficult for us to grow enough food for the children due to shortages of water during the dry season.  You are always welcome to make a donation today to help us make it through the hunger season.  In the meantime, we hope you enjoy your pumpkins, these instructions, and our rainbow garden.

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How To Grow Pumpkin Leaves | In A Village

Yield: One pumpkin seed can yield several pounds of greens and several pumpkin fruit.

  • pumpkin seed
  • sandy soil
  • water
  • *eggshell optional
  1. Sow in a sunny place under 1 inch of soil and water.
  2. Seed should germinate (start to grow) within 10-15 days. Our seeds always seem to germinate early in the village.
  3. The pumpkin vine will start to grow, and will trail up anything that you let it. If you do not want to let the pumpkin take over the ground space, train it to grow up a deck, or a wall, or a trellis. Pumpkins grow larger when they have enough space to stretch out.
  4. Pumpkin fruit is ready to harvest in 100-115 days, however, the pumpkin leaves can be harvested at anytime after they have begun to grow.

*My apologies, I am unsure how to change the text of the recipes from ‘inherit’ to a a regular font color.   I’ve looked up several guides and haven’t found the right answer. I pray someone can teach me soon.

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