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Garden project gives focus to life during pandemic

posted in: Ghana, Ministry 1

“My life is to give glory to my God by respecting, caring and promoting a sense of being together,” inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’

by Novices-elect Linda Suurbeta Bonye and Rita Boakyewaa Konadu, Takoradi, Ghana, West Africa 

Sister Rita prepares the earth for planting.
Sister Rita prepares the earth for planting.

Our invitation to be witnesses and stewards of God’s creation has been our greatest source of encouragement during the COVID-19 pandemic. As candidates we studied ecology a great deal and discussed what we could do to promote and build a sense of togetherness with all God’s creation, as Pope Francis encourages in his encyclical. The coronavirus, and all the challenges it has brought to the world, also has brought a bit of blessing. As we spent time at home observing mandatory quarantine, we brainstormed a better way of living in isolation that could help us connect with the Earth.

Gardening project beginnings

Novices-elect Sisters Linda Suurbeta Bonye, left, and Rita Boakyewaa Konadu started a garden during mandated quarantine time in Takoradi, Ghana, West Africa.
Novices-elect Sisters Linda Suurbeta Bonye, left, and Rita Boakyewaa Konadu started a garden during mandated quarantine time in Takoradi, Ghana, West Africa.

Through the encouragement of Sister Comfort Arthur, CSC, candidate director in Ghana, a gardening project began to take shape. Our adventure of connecting with Mother Earth began with great excitement. We put our whole hearts and minds into the vegetable garden. On June 24, 2020, we began tilling the land with the help of one of the security men. Five days later we were good to go. We completely avoided using chemicals, making it as organic as it could be. We sowed the seeds and planted the seedlings. For the seedlings to stand firm and develop good roots, we watered them daily—sometimes both morning and evening. After just a few days of such tender care, we saw growth in the plants. We were overjoyed watching the plants gain the life we had intended for them.

Garden challenges

We chose to grow vegetables because we wanted to encourage high consumption of them in our communities in Ghana. We began with corn, beans, okra and groundnut seeds. We also harvested tomatoes, peppers and garden eggs, or eggplant. Our biggest challenge was protecting the garden from many downpours of rain and overcoming rain shortages later in the season. Over time the plants stopped growing, and watering them every day became difficult due to the garden’s large size and distance from a water source. We sought God’s intervention through prayer, and God delivered a miracle.

The sisters were overjoyed with their garden harvest, which included tomatoes, eggplant, green beans and okra.
The sisters were overjoyed with their garden harvest, which included tomatoes, eggplant, green beans and okra.

The garden provides

The garden did well and provided fresh, organic vegetables for all three of our convents in Ghana. It is a joy knowing that the hard work and commitment that we put into creating the garden during the pandemic has yielded many fruits, or, should we say, vegetables. Our effort has increased our faith in God’s promising words to trust in his divine providence. He makes all things possible. We feel grateful to have had this experience, bringing life from our garden to the tables of our Holy Cross community in Ghana.

  1. AUGUSTINE AMISSAH
    | Reply

    The Covid-19 pandemic period is reminding us about how connected we are in almost everything to one another. It’s a period to again remind us that we are one people with a common destiny. Whenever you do garden, your benefits are two. One is, exercising the body to be active and the other is the flesh vegetables for the community. You are women who are not afraid to dirty your hands.

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