Mid morning when I was preparing to head to the preaching point for service, an intense wind came through and behind it followed a severe downpour. The rain and winds continued for at least half an hour with palm trees bending, sending one my saw horses set up by the porch flying across the yard. I decided to stay in this morning as rains persisted till around noon.
Around 1:00, I remembered I promised to be at a meeting after church so I rushed over in the truck. Of course, I was right on time given the weather delay in the community as well. The purpose was to discuss with the women about the status of GROW. There has not been any farming activity since early last year and I wanted to learn more from the group, hold them accountable for the $300 startup money I gave them, and determine next steps.
I’m learning more as my time spent here gets me closer to the real undercurrents of Deanville. There is both a strong distrust and jealousy tainting much of what is developing here. Some wanted to spend the entire $300 in the first season and take money out for feeding themselves because they were working hard. Some feel money from the gardens was going to Sumo for his personal benefit. Others complain of how much they work compared to the rest. Still others only want to know what’s in it for them despite this being pitched as an initiative to support the school. There was another group of parents that wanted to join forces with them but the GROW women felt they couldn’t work with them because their motives were in question. As Sumo said, “Some of the things happening at the mission (GLTC) are becoming a curse instead of a blessing” because people don’t understand or believe only what they want to believe and there’s divisiveness.
It became clear the women did not have interest in following through with this any longer. Since it was my personal money funding this, I requested the balance of $150 USD back plus the earnings from the gardens which was about $7,000 LD being held by a church member. I told them the $7,000 LD would be given to GLTC tomorrow because that was the original intention of any profits and they would know I was not (nor any other individual) benefitting. I would invest the $150 in some other initiative I felt would benefit GLTC and not let it just sit idle as they were doing with it. Sadly, that’s the end of GROW in its current form. I found out after our meeting that most of those women are involved in a community garden across the street from Deanville that is being funded by some NGO providing seed and cash to the participants. It’s hard to compete with that.