A full week with the gogos has passed and I now have a better sense of how Sitabogogo is doing. The uprisings and violence that I touched on in my first blog caused them to lay low for awhile. Ginny says it’s such a shame because the group was going so strong. I say thank goodness they were going strong, otherwise they may have fallen apart altogether.
Relative to my previous visits, the tone is low-key this year, but focused. They sit in plastic lawn chairs under the shade of a big tree in the church yard and chat. Fortunately, each morning has been fine and the rains have held off till the afternoons. Some days they work on hand sewing or knitting teddy bears for sale. More recently they have begun beading – more about that in another blog. One day a week they visit the sick and bereaved of their group if there is need. Fridays have been declared letter writing day.
They are not gardening at the moment. They got most of their last crop in and then had to abandon their extensive gardens due to water shut-off in that area since the fires. Such a shame after their back-breaking – but spirited – work in the past two years. (See ‘Archives: Nov 2008’, Gogo Gardens). Gug, the professional gardener that had been hired to teach them (a lot!) has been let go for the time being. For those that are aware he’d been given an advance on his salary to buy a motorbike for transport, please know that he has now fully paid it back.
For now the gogos are recharging their batteries and preserving their sense of community. Once the new Ubuntu re-building is begun (more on that in another blog) they will be fully revitalized and ready to break ground again for new gardens.
Twice a week Milly cooks them a hot lunch. One day it was fried chicken, mealie-pap and squash, another day rice with a chunky vegetable and soy stew spooned over top. On the other three days they have tea or juice and sandwiches.
And always there are a few pre-school grandchildren around. This one treated us to a spontaneous singing performance.