As part of their ongoing development, Prime students in Santo Domingo used English in a practical way – to plan, organise and plant a community garden. Various Santo Domingo Sessions were utilised to talk in depth about what would be beautiful but also practical, community-minded and fun. After deliberating over different locations the Santo Domingo students decided that El Cedezo, where we have our Thursday meeting, would be a great place to develop. These are some accounts of the final process from volunteers and students.
Juan Upegui – Student
What if we do something?
What if we drop the game?
What if we make history?
Well, That’s not enough because the world doesn’t change with our opinions, the world changes with our actions.
And thats what happened, we changed.
We changed our perspective about the future without forgetting our past.
We have developed our hidden abilities just to discover that we have the power to change the course of our destiny.
Sunny afternoon. Everyone is motivated by the idea of making a change, improving our environment and giving another glimmer of hope to our people, our neighbourhood.
A change that will alter the course of the community, a simple but at the same time determinant change for Santo Domingo.
Perfect beginning of something bigger.
Always thinking about what’s better for self-sufficient progress. The pillar of the future.
That pillar is constructed with a lethal tool; a tool who can destroy our destructive system, the same that is pulverising the human sense, changing the meaning of life.
That chaotic tool is called education.
That’s the seed we’ve planted.
We also have trusted, we’ve believed, and we’ve projected.
At the end of the day, with a huge feeling of satisfaction, our garden remind(s) us that:
Working together, we blossom together.
Caroline Bouchat – Volunteer
In June 2017, Proyecto Prime, along with MIEO Colombia, built Community Garden in Comuna 13. After this successful project, the idea of building a new one in the neighbourhood of Santo Domingo came into mind. As the world wasn’t built in a day, this new project took a few months to see the light of day.
I joined Proyecto Prime’s adventure early February 2018 with the mission of taking care of the Santo Domingo Community Garden project.
Brainstorming sessions with the students were organized during the English class. MIEO Colombia organized a party in February to raise money for the project. Tierralab helped us buying the right plants and soil and held the gardening workshop during the inauguration.
Being part of such a project allowed me to meet wonderful people and to discover a neighbourhood that is today one of my favourite places in Medellin.
I was really proud to see the involvement of the students during the event. They were very committed and the fantastic thing was that we could also count, last minute, on two very nice women from Santo Domingo for helping us by cooking a delicious meal. This is what I like about working in Colombia. People will always help you finding solutions to your problems.
This event was a real successful collaboration between many partners and I hope now that the Santo Domingo community will continue to take care of the garden on it’s own.
Tatiana Montoya – Student
The nature is very important because without it we can’t live. We thought the garden would make the community beautiful and it is a nice place for the people to sit and speak.
The last Sunday we started the project, we planted many different plants and there were some activities like people singing, doing graffiti and we (the students) gave a tour around the neighbourhood.
I felt very good with my friends getting to know different people and seeing people that I hadn’t seen in a long time.
Cristian Jaramillo – Student
Santo Domingo Stories
We started organizing the project in February 2018 but we had the idea since last year. This year finally we made it happen for the community of Santo Domingo. Students of English, Tour up the Mountain and Prime organized the event.
My experience was great. I could see many people helping and they were pitching in. I could see everyone enjoying the event and that made me happy.
The best moment for me was when we started to plant and to learn how to do it. The second moment was when everyone ate beans; some people with avocado like Casey- He loves avocados.
Yulian Salas – Student
Why: Because we needed to transform the space with more life
Who: Some volunteers and people from the local community, our group and the artists
How: Painting the pots, we planted the plants, and the artists painted the wall and there were musicians
Where: On the Cedezo rooftop
When: On a Sunday afternoon in April
Which: some plants like tanges, tapes, peppermint and rosemary
I think the people are happier these dats overall with just some painted walls. The plants can represent for them the life and relaxing to see a better ambience.
Faber Restrepo – Student
I arrived at the garden at 1pm. I found the experience beautiful as the whole community came together. Everyone was happy to be working on the garden. In the garden people can participate in many activities, for example, music, gardening, painting, eating and haircuts- it was a beautiful experience.
I really enjoyed gardening because I am giving something back to my community.
Andy McIlwaine – Volunteer
Being apart of the Garden Project was a wonderful experience to be involved in. What impressed me the most was the level of student participation, right from the beginning they were involved with decision making about what materials would be needed for the garden. This was done during the Tuesday sessions through brainstorming ideas about how the garden would benefit the local community.
The major preparations began the day before the grand opening. We had 40-50 ‘pots’ to be painted for the plants. At first it seemed like a mammoth challenge but with the help from the students, volunteers and some local children it soon became apparent that our only problem was not having enough paint brushes to go around, a welcome problem to have! In the end, many hands made light work of the task and we had all the pots painted within an afternoon.
On the day of the opening we arranged to meet early to help get set up, well what I thought was early. When we arrived the garden was already a hub of activity with local artists busy painting murals on the walls while musicians from the surrounding barrios entertained any passers-by willing to listen. Actually, with the sound system they were using it did not matter if the passers-by were willing to listen or not, they were hearing what these guys had to say!
With the delivery of the plants, and with our pots nicely dried, we sprung into action. Quite a few volunteers had turned up along with the students, however, I do not think any of us could stake a claim at being an expert gardener, or even to have the faintest of ideas about what to do with our delivery. Luckily, we had Jesus from Tierralab on hand to offer his expert advice on how to safely transfer the plants to our waiting pots and also explain how to care for each of them. The knowledge Jesus shared will really prove invaluable when it comes to the maintenance of the garden.
As the day went on more and more people were getting involved in the project. A few guys from Barber Art International arrived with a mobile barbers’ chair offering trims and cuts to anyone in need. Now, I am quite proud of my long locks so didn’t fancy sitting in the chair myself but many others did and only had positive things to say. Other people got involved by opening up their homes for the use of their kitchens…the community needed fed and there were also many hungry artists and musicians. Without this kind gesture feeding the masses would not have been possible and this, amongst many other selfless acts, really highlighted the sense of community spirit that is present in Santo Domingo.
So, the day was a huge success enjoyed by everyone that was there and I feel privileged to have played a small part in the project. It was a great opportunity to get to know the students better, meet other like-minded volunteers and of course the wonderful people of Santo Domingo, for whose enjoyment the garden is really intended.