Zahana hired Bary, a second gardener back in 2010 to work in the village of Fiadanana, or first project site. Fiadanana is where Zahanas participatory collaboration started in 2005.
Bary was at the time being trained by our master gardener in the second village (Fiarenana). He shows an equally amazing green thumb combined with great enthusiasm in planting what he learned right away.
Both of them are growing new tree seedlings. The good news is that both gardeners are happy to experiment. This allows Zahana to introduce new seeds with the caveat that they might not be suitable for the climate, but there is only one good way to find out: grow it and see if it takes.
Apples that have been requested by the gardeners are a good example. It is a game of chance to grow apples from seed. The mostly don't "fall true"¯or turn out to be the desired variety. To compound the challenge the climate might be too hot for apples, a tree that does well in colder winters or higher altitude. But with two adventurous gardeners it is much better to try planting apples and find out what happens. In addition Zahana is planting fast growing trees that can be used for firewood so people will not need to walk long distances and chop down existing trees. We are hoping this will help with the ongoing deforestation disaster in Madagascar.
Zahanas seed fund also introduced new varieties of zucchini, beans and corn from a supplier that claims a 100% germination rate. The first zucchini are already big enough to harvest and the corn and beans are doing very well.
In addition to the tree nursery and food crops for farmers, both gardeners are growing vegetables with the children in their respective school gardens.
Update April 20, 2013 - Dr. Ihanta, Zahana’s founder got these answers:
Bary is first of all a very shy person, he is not talkative even if he has something to say. He asked someone else to call for him and asked my nephew to transmit his message to us.
Bary is the first when it comes to having planting the most trees in his village of Fiadanana. He wants to plants as many trees as possible as he personally can. He wants to keep working as our gardener for the nursery to grow seedlings for people willing to plant trees. He likes to work with Zahana because he said he learned many things and he enjoys to work as gardener and with the school children and hopes the relationship with Zahana will not have any limit.
He wants to see `Fiadanana maintso` Fiadanana as green. He believes that planting trees will fight the drought and protect the environment where his kids are living. Planting trees is for his kids and the others living there. Later they will have wood to build their house