Finding life takes persistence and cultivation sprinkled with a genuine organic fertilizer (literally and metaphorically) … Agriculturally, prepping the beds properly and composting so we may cultivate and optimally grow plants vibrant and full of life. WOCC youth, prepping the youth dance teams, working with and engaging them properly everyday so we may cultivate and optimize growth in their confidence, skills, and smiles; vibrant and full of life …
WOCC 4th Dance Competition
We just had the dance competition Saturday night! I’m proud to report the kids worked diligently every night this past week - that is, as diligent as kids can be :) - and were elated and fully engaged in a joyous occasion. We had 8 teams formed, which was a record number ranging from 2 to 3 per team. I saw tremendous improvement in style, confidence, smiles/esprit de corps, musicality, and variety (only 2 Korean Pop songs this year! - “Thank goodness!”) compared to a year ago. However, there still remained a slight struggle in working together as a team such as the way they communicated to each other during practice; nevertheless, they all improved and progressed well. They made us all proud.
The videos and pix from the night will be put up during the next post because the the nature of the large files; ~ Wednesday.
The adjustment from last year is we will not only give monetary prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, but, also, will recognize the remaining groups and individuals with superlatives via Certificate Awards so they don’t feel left out, thus, recognized amongst their peers for their efforts. For example, “Most Talented”, “Best Entertainer”, “Best Dressed”, “Best Headstand”, or “Most Improved”, among others. We will conduct an awards ceremony this coming Tuesday.
In addition, we gave non-packaged, healthy, freshly chilled banana and watermelon fruit skewers as snacks to all participants for both the individual and team competitions.
As discussed in a prior post, since I last left the WOCC gardener with the help of WOCCs children and stakeholders had at least been making and utilizing composting as well as staggering rows to optimize root growth of crops they’ve grown. The gardens have supplied the community with home-grown veggies (beans/string beans and lettuce/cabbage) as well as bustling banana and papaya fruit. However, it is still not enough to supply the entire 100+ person WOCC with food. We still must improve their techniques to at least supplement food costs significantly.
In addition, two of the boys (Somnang I and Thear) used the compost and planted some type of gourd (phonetically in Khmer - “Clough”). It is typically pan fried when harvested small and put in soups when allowed to grow big as illustrated below. They were very proud as we recognized them for feeding everyone for at least one day after evening meditation!
We harvested the first batch of open air compost piles started by WOCC’s gardener, Mr. Po, about 2 months ago. These three piles yielded about 150 kilos of compost, which is almost enough to build the soil for i) a raised bed, ii) one circle garden, iii) adjacent flower bed (attracting pollinators), and iv) primary nursery. The two covered compost piles will be finished soon and will provide the remaining compost for the second circle garden.
Regarding the primary nursery, we are nursing two kinds of cucumbers, bottle gourds, and bonanza loofah gourds (similar to a squash). Currently, the seedlings have sprouted within 6 days; cross your fingers that nothing happens to these sensitive seedlings. We will select a handful of those seedlings which look strong and hardy (similar to picking good breeds lowering the risk of disease and susceptibility to some pests) and transfer those seedlings to the raised bed after about 14 days.
The remaining vegetables (carrots, Thai basil, and four different kinds of cowpeas) will be planted directly in either the raised bed or circle garden(s), as there is no need to nurse. We are currently constructing a shade cover for each bed, hence, minimizing evapotranspiration (water loss) from plant and soil surfaces. A green netting commonly utilized by Khmer will suffice for now until the banana trees - maybe other trees - become mature. Shading is especially needed during the upcoming hot month of April.
Lastly, the compost tea is finished. It is currently steeping and will be ready in another week, which is great timing for show-and-tell during the upcoming Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security training.
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Training (Community Training)
The community training is scheduled for 1-day, next Friday March 29, 2013. We are still trying to finalize the curriculum. See This Link for the draft curriculum created by myself and CEDAC. We will be enhancing their seasonal and raised bed techniques and show them how to make “Bio-Char” (a high organic carbon made from slowly heating dead plant materials such as rice husks). The training should cost about $350 (CEDAC trainer, food, transport for 30 participants, materials), which is just $35 under the projected budget (see the following link for up-to-date Financials/Expenses). I may purchase reusable plastic bottles for the attendees to refill with water provided from a large jug, which will also serve to cut down on the need for disposable cups - always got to think “green”.
Lastly, we drafted and finalized the monitoring & survey forms (see the following link to the Bi-monthly, Monthly and Post-training Monitoring & Surveys). The first survey will be distributed immediately after the training this coming Friday.
Environment & Teen Leadership Day (ETLD)
We anticipate the ETLD to be held on either Friday, 4/12/13, or Saturday, 4/13/13. In discussing the curriculum with Dara, Wayne and Melinda we modified curriculum. We will be giving scenarios to act out, which the youth encounter everyday for each group. We will discuss feelings after each brief performance. Lastly, we had to eliminate one activity due to time constraints, but most curriculum stayed intact (see the following link for the Up-to-Date Draft Curriculum).
Stay tuned for the next posting which will be of the Dance Competition …