Four years of slow and steady progress captured by Mahera’s expert editing skills in this short video of the story of the Abruzzi school garden.
Each year has been a uniquely new experience, all adding up to building trust, community and creating links and connections to education through the language of agriculture.
This year – 2014 – we have a new principal at the school. Mr Latif Khan, himself a parent as well as prior Board member. His passion for all things garden equals only my own. A stickler for getting everyone on board and not letting anyone slack off will be a refreshing change while we get the kitchen built and teaches trained.
5th graders made tepees from willow branches for their tomato plants, then wrote stories about North American Indians and tepees – it became a lesson in growing tomatoes more effectively by raising them off the ground, as well as social studies, language (they wrote their stories in Urdu) and math. (their math teacher helped with sizes and proportions )
5th graders with their tomatoes and Tepee
In keeping with its organic nature, the task of building the garden has been much greater than simply digging, planting or constructing….it has been about creating community within the school and outside its boundaries, about seeing and making connections between books and the garden, about quiet understated financial help from the outside world, yet active vibrant and willing help from within. Mostly it has been about understanding the workings, the mindset, the strengths and the weaknesses of the school community. My one year in Shigar implementing the garden plans as they were designed in 2011, ended in early Nov 2013, yet the design process continues to amorphously expand or shrink and take its own organic from. Continue reading
The Abruzzi Higher Secondary School garden internship for 2013 was a six week volunteer experience that started in early June, and went through to end July. Six third year students from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi signed up to design/build the gardens kitchen and cafeteria, as part of their third year course work. One volunteer from Islamabad helped assist with computer classes as well as get all hardware kinks sorted and fixed. Continue reading
On a gamble and a whim, and a deep-seated desire, I visited Shigar for a little over a week this July on my way back from Nagar Valley, where I had trekked to Rakaposhi base camp. To my utter amazement and delight, I found the teaching garden at Abruzzi Higher Secondary School blossoming to life. Sunflowers nodded in the sun, turnips were growing, kale had been grown from seed and was ready to be plucked and dressed into salad, peppers were growing, planters of marjoram and rosemary were in the courtyard. Continue reading
Grape arbor coming together over the stage. Three posts are up, three to go. Then the ties that will hold them together made of zhomo hair and the grid that the vine will grow over. Volunteer architect Ibtesam Pooya had designed this two years back – another more simpler one will go up over the volley ball court benches once this gets done. Continue reading
Click on link to watch a video clip. Digging Trenches
Volunteers from Islamabad and Karachi work in the garden with the schoolchildren. In the video clips below, Insia, one of the Indus Valley architecture students, explains what they are teaching the kids to build.
They’ll make a scaled model first and then the carpenter will build most of the structure under Husain’s (another intern) supervision, but on the premises so that all the children will also learn from him and. Each class get a chance to construct at least three or four of the triangles. Their first carpentry class and actual involvement with building their own garden spaces. Continue reading
WWF celebrated Green schools Pakistan day on Apr 22 – a day when school children across the country were encouraged to plant as many trees as possible on their school grounds. The Abruzzians pledged to plant fifteen trees – except ended up planting many more
recently several mature willow trees had been cut down due to disease, so the boys and girls replanted the area with 20 willows – three local variaties – for shade and maintaining the school biodiversity/habitat
a dozen fruit trees were planted as well
and a handful of poplars – for defining boundaries and creating angular shade.
A short video clip about plantation day at the Abruzzi School.