Community Landscaping

“Our aspirations are our possibilities.” – Samuel Johnson

If you were given the property to design your own sustainable community, what would it look like? Where would you place the gardens in relation to the schools and the markets? What kind of housing would you design and which jobs would be the most vital for the vibrancy of your community? Vail Mountain School’s 7th graders colorfully filled graph paper with their own ideas about community landscaping. This task was a little more daunting for the P6 students at EP Primary Ho-Bankoe, and yet, many hands went up eagerly when we presented this as one of two creative choices to produce. Rulers came out and noses inched closely to the paper as the students demarked locations and defined boundaries. The Ghanaian students’ villages highlighted big areas for both farm and market, drawing inspiration from their lived experiences by literally mirroring their personal villages and towns. Other students opted for an easier exercise to share with 6th grade students at VMS. They each completed the phrase “If I were a seed I would be…” by filling take away plates with colorful images of local fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers. Many also wrote letters to describe their favorite foods. Matilda even pulled out a special plastic folder filled with her previously received CIH projects to compare her new letter, and the name therein, with the ones from past exchanges; she seemed to hope that this letter came from the same friend, and she will, undoubtedly, cherish it and keep it safe within her personal archives. Nearly everybody was a little more edgy today, as the power was out for most of the night. This was a popular topic of discussion today given that most of us tossed and turned our way through the evening because the outage spread through the entire nation and parts of Togo and Benin! If we were creating more sustainability for this community, keeping the luxury of comfort in mind, we would line the buildings with solar panels to harness the intense African sun. If this environmentally friendly power source were in place, not only could we all have rested better in our homes, lulled by fans, we all would have been a little more lively with fans in classrooms instead of the saunas we were sweating in this afternoon.