Sowing seeds in the Desert

Sowing seeds in the Desert

Photo by Lubo Minar / Unsplash

”Excerpt” In the desert, you can hear the sound of the wind and the sand. It is a sad, dry sound, a whispering, a kind of mournful music. The sorrowful braying of a donkey I heard in the African savanna still lingers in my ears. Wailing and squealing, it was like the cry of a child on the verge of death. The desert is also yearning to be healed.

I feel that I saw the essence of medical treatment in a hospital, if you could call it that, in a desert camp for thousands of Ethiopian refugees. Palm leaves had been placed atop several spindly poles, providing a little shade, and that was the hospital.

There was a yardstick and a scale. A child was considered ill when his or her height was too tall in proportion to the child’s weight, and the patient would be given a cup of milk containing a drop of nutritional supplement. Every morning two or three hundred people gathered, including the children and the relatives attending them, but only about twenty or thirty children were deemed as sick. The goal was to be one of those who received a cup of milk that day.

The children who received no milk cried and whimpered. They did not cry because they were sick, but because they had been examined and judged to be healthy.

The caring presence of the nurses at this hospital seemed to give people the courage to live. The eyes of the children jumping and playing about the area were beautiful and shining. These children—living in a remote community with no writing and no money—were innocent and openhearted. During my time there, I planted vegetable seeds in the gravel around the hospital with them. Of course, the children understood quite well how wonderful it would be if the area turned a rich green, and vegetables grew up beneath banana and papaya trees, so they gleefully scattered the seeds far and wide.

Gradually I came to realize that the process of saving the desert of the human heart and re-vegetating the actual desert is actually the same thing.

”Excerpt From: MASANOBU FUKUOKA. “Sowing Seeds in the Desert: Natural Farming, Global Restoration, and Ultimate Food Security.”