I arrived to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), a country in the southern part of the Caribbean, with four other European Union Aid Volunteers (EUAV) at the beginning of November 2017.

The project is based at the Richmond Vale Academy (RVA), a different kind of school – as they like to call themselves. It is a community that strives to make a positive impact in the region by carrying out specific environmental actions.

As members of the community, we complete many tasks together and also arrange social gatherings and activities of various sorts. We take care of the organic garden, we clean, we maintain the premises, we cook, we prepare birthdays, etc. We work together for the common good.

My contribution as EUAidVolunteer is to build organic home gardens, based in the principles of permaculture, for single women. I worked with three of EU volunteers in the backyard of Clio, a single woman of 32 years old with two kids who works in her family nutmeg farm. Her garden was initially unused and dirty.

It took us around a month and a half to finish the garden. We received help from Clio, her children and neighbours, the local permaculture expert, a visiting permaculture professor, previous volunteers and our project manager, who worked 24/7 to ensure all the logistics were functional and the decisions taken appropriate. It was hard work and extremely rewarding. The end result: a garden with 37 species of plants of all kinds (roots, herbs, grasses, fruits, bushes and trees). Clio is now proud of her garden and her family as well as neighbours are somehow jealous, in a good way obviously. I have been stopped several times on the street by people who want us to start a garden in their backyard (in the picture below, the Clio’s garden before and after our intervention)

Immediately after concluding Clio’s garden, we moved to Cornetta’s backyard. She lives in a little house with six of her sons and daughters, and three boyfriends of the latter. Hers is a tougher one: there is no shade (and in the dry season the sun can be a torture) and there is a massive water problem that we had to prepare for before the rain season begins. My aim is to finalise Cornetta’s home garden, write a report on the building of organic backyards and ensure the beneficiaries of the project will be able to carry on their garden once the EU Aid Volunteers and the rest of the volunteers leave. My challenge is this project becomes sustainable by itself, and it will be the best reward too. 

Find out how to become EU Aid Volunteers here and current vacancies http://www.gvc-italia.org/euaidvolunteers_join_our_team.html or write to volunteers@gvc-italia.org 


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