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Garden of Eden for “Bosanski Lonac”!
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 Written by fra Ivica Perić

It is difficult to satisfy me, the old Bosnian complainer, to such an extent that I can say someone thrilled me. However, these wonderful children managed to do it. What is more - they did something in my absence for which they will quite literally “enjoy the fruit of their own labour” in the school year that has just begun! During the holidays my pupils had cleared an area of land designated for agriculture and, racing against time, they had planted crops, took care of them, and, just a few days ago, they started picking vegetables. All that in just a few months! Cabbage, spinach, carrots, beans, potatoes - all in abundance! There are so many different vegetables on the menu now that I could even teach them how to prepare “bosanski lonac” (a dish made of meat and various types of vegetables)!

carrots from our garden

The story began more or less like this... In October, we got a plot of land for our trade school, Padri Vjeko Centre. It was our intention for the pupils to work the land and, in doing so, to improve their nutrition, as well as to experience eating different vegetables. Also, by reducing the school expenses normally used for purchasing food, we will now be able to use that money for other purposes. And last, but not least, the students would be able to share this agricultural knowledge acquired in the school garden (or akarima k'igikoni) with their families. Those were the plans.

So back in October, when we started organising the school garden, we had to plan for irrigation and to prepare the land for the upcoming dry period. We did that in record time and by the end of November we were able to finish the school year and send everyone on holidays, with everything organized. The students had divided themselves into groups and during the forty-one days of holidays, each group had to visit the garden twice, to water the land and take care of the crops.

students working in the fieldstudents working in the field

Thank to such committed attitude toward their tasks, which they assumed on their own, I can now watch the crops growing and thriving with tremendous satisfaction. And I have to emphasise that everyone worked the land voluntarily. And now that the new school year has begun, those same students continue to work the land in a way that does not even interfere with their school commitments.

So, already at the beginning of the school year we have succeeded in our goal – the pupils are eating vegetables from the school garden. And this garden to them is like the Garden of Eden! For the next school year, we shall try to expand it to yet one more plot of land which the bishopric already offered to us. Stay tuned for further good news.

Translated by:
Edited by: Valerie K. Ken

Father Vjeko Center

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