BBL PARTICIPANT: Audrey Sono, Pankop, Limpopo
In a Nutshell
Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Audrey Sono has learnt the skills to provide food for her family.
She is selling surplus to her friends. She not only budgets and saves with confidence but has also taught her young children to do the same.
I did the SocioTech MyFood training in 2019 at the Rebone Lesedi community centre. When I got home, my husband helped me to dig those deep trenches that Jabu taught us about. While he was digging, my sister Masego and I went into the veld and picked up cans to put into the trenches. That kept us busy for 3 days. All the while my lovely husband was digging. He didn’t complain. I chose well, he is a hard worker.
I think that if you asked him, my husband would say that all the muscle pain was worth it because those trenches have improved our food garden a lot. We now grow more than enough for ourselves and extra to sell. This season I have got a full Food Robot growing in my garden. All the colours. Learning about the Food Robot really changed the way I cook. Before I would just make starch and spinach, but now I know about carbohydrates and protein and fibre and how they work together to promote health.
My husband is not the only member of the family who has helped me with the garden. My two younger children (who are both 8 years old) also support me. I think it is good for them to work in the garden. It keeps them away from the TV and the phones. Also, they are much more willing to eat the vegetables that they have helped to grow. Although, I don’t want to tell you stories - there is only so much that strategy can do. My kids don’t like cabbage and it doesn’t matter how many times I get them to water the cabbages in the garden, they still hate it. I tell them that what I cook they must eat, and they do it because they are good, obedient children but I can see that they don’t like it…
"...much more willing to eat the vegetables that they helped grow."
Last year I did the SocioTech MyFuture training with Charles. I am now clear in my mind about the difference between a need and a want. These days I only buy things that I know I am going to use. I write a shopping list before I go out and I stick to the list. Before I was careless with money. I bought all sorts of nonsense. Now I am more careful, and I can save. Each month I put aside R300. When I have enough money saved, I am going to renovate my house.
I explained the difference between need and want to my kids. They know that they have all the things they need for school, but that I won’t give out money for silly things. I tell them not to look at their friends spending at the tuck shop. The amazing thing is that they have taken it well. They have started saving too. I gave them each a page to write down the money that they are saving. I told them that at the end of term we will count up their savings and they can go to the shop and choose a toy. I have told them that I will add in any extra money that they need.
If I was talking to someone starting out on the food garden journey with SocioTech I would say to them that they should be prepared for a lot of hard work at the beginning but that they should push through because the results are worth the effort. So many things have come from that garden. Not just vegetables but also exercise and saving money and a lot of emotional fulfilment. If I am having a bad day or have worries on my mind, I go into my garden. There are always things that need to be done in a garden and while I work, I talk to the vegetables. Plants are much better listeners than most people. Wisdom comes from the earth and the earth absorbs troubles. The vegetables in my garden have grown big through listening to all sorts of sobby stories…