BBL PARTICIPANT: Salome Matsimela, Mogaladi, Limpopo Province
In a Nutshell
Mrs Salome Matsimela lives in Mogaladi, in Limpopo. Through SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) programme she has added to her horticulture knowledge.
I have always loved fruit trees. My husband and I built this house in 2007 and I remember saying to him that: “I don’t want to live in a house without fruit trees”. He went a bit overboard. I was thinking maybe one or two, but he planted at least 30. We have avocados, oranges, nartjies, peaches and mangos. The wonderful thing is that they produce fruit at different times of year, so we are never without. Living in such an abundant orchard means that we get many visits from birds, but I have been so blessed that I don’t mind sharing with my friends with wings. I feel that giving wildlife a portion is an act of love and gratitude to nature. I walk around my trees, and I talk to them. I tell them that they bring me joy. Who knows if it helps but the trees are growing well, so maybe it does…
I don’t only share with the birds. Gardening is something that I share with my family. My 18-year-old daughter is not very keen – she will water the plants but not much more than that, but my husband and my 7-year-old son, Thapelo, are always working with soil, fruit and vegetables. My boy does whatever my husband and I are doing in the garden. When we plant, he plants. When we water, he waters. He has a real sense of ownership about it all. He talks about ‘my tomato’ and ‘my tree’. I am really glad he is so enthusiastic about gardening because I think there are life skills and behaviour patterns that can be learnt. Gardening is all about translating hard work into food. It shows a child that if they take charge of their own production, they can support themselves.
"This saves lots of money and it also improves the quality of the produce."
I did the SocioTech MyFood training in 2018. As I said, I was already gardening, but the techniques I learnt through Pastor Damba and his team changed the way I garden. Before I was using lots of chemical fertilizers and now, I don’t use them at all. This saves lots of money and it also improves the quality of the produce. They introduced me to the trench system for my vegetable garden and that has also worked well. Once your soil is right everything becomes easier.
There has been a big problem with a lack of water in this area – the pipes ran dry about a month ago. The water is now back in our part of town but only intermittently. There was some rain but not enough to take the place of municipal supply.
Being without water was terrible but it showed us the reality that we live in a water scarce country.
Learning how to grow vegetables in a waterwise way is a positive way of dealing with the problem. If what we learn from Pastor Damba about digging deep trenches and mulching and irrigation helps us to use this precious resource carefully, then it is a small step to a better way of living.