Monday, July 27, 2009

Living Off the Land

A friend of Veggie Trader’s (and our next-door neighbor, Hillary) recently shared a story with us we found particularly striking, especially given how much time we spend thinking about sharing and bartering excess homegrown produce. Hillary is the co-founder of Helping Orphans Worldwide (HOW), a non-profit that works with orphanages in Vietnam and the Philippines. One of the places Hillary and HOW are deeply involved is in the Thien Duyen Orphanage in Cu Chi, Vietnam, a place home to over 100 children. Hillary describes the conditions at the orphanage as horrific. Many of the children are sick or crippled, but rarely receive proper medical attention. The children survive on two meals of rice each day, with the odd piece of fish thrown in on occasion.

The orphanage gets by largely from selling what they can grow: pepper from the home of the director’s daughter, as well as mushrooms grown on site. They also produce salt, some bean curd products, sprouts and a few handicrafts. The story is a real eye-opener, and a reminder how in many parts of the world earning as much as you can squeeze out of the land is literally the way of life…

FYI, HOW is always looking for volunteers interested in mixing travel and site-seeing with donating a bit of time and energy to help the orphanage and interact with the kids.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Great post which really underscores the duality of gardening. For me, gardening is like a hobby, but for a a lot of people it's a life line. This post makes me feel great about my own garden.