Thank you so much to St Paul’s RC Primary in Reading for ‘brightening up’ for CAFOD this Harvest! Our Education Volunteer, Linda Heneghan went on a very special visit to the school this week and took her ‘Wonder Worms’ along to help her!
Linda started the assembly by explaining that she was going to ask the children to think about how food is grown. She asked everyone to put up their hands if they have ever grown anything to eat.
She then asked them whether they could think of things that are needed to help crops grow well, such as sunshine, rain, and good soil as well as things that might hinder growth such as drought or flooding.
CAFOD works all over the world helping families to be able to grow enough food to feed themselves and sometimes have enough left over to sell in order to provide an income.
One of the things needed for growing food is good soil so Linda then showed the children how CAFOD has helped a family living in Bolivia to have much better soil for growing their vegetables.
Santos and Joel (pictured above) live in a small farm high up in the Andes mountains in an area called the Altiplano. Getting water is difficult and rain is unpredictable. There are a lot of hailstorms and frost which can wipe out people’s crops. The soil is generally very dry and of poor quality.
It is a job for Wonder Worm as Linda went on to explain! (She even had her own tub of worms on hand for the children to see!)
CAFOD’s partner is working with local people to help them create wormeries. Wormeries are big holes in the ground which the people dig, build a wall inside and fill with cow manure. Worms are added to the hole, kept damp and covered to protect them from the very hot sun. Here is Elizabeth, Santos and Joel’s mother, beside their wormery (below).
After about three months, Wonder Worm and his friends have done their job, and created wonderfully rich humus (the worms eat the cow manure and the humus is what comes out afterwards). The humus is worked into the fields as a fertiliser and then sown on the family’s fields.
Modesto, (Santos and Joel’s Father) said “We realised very quickly how good it was. We used the humus on our potatoes and the next year they were very much taller than they would have been previously.”
Both Santos and Joel help their parents with the work. Santos helps with the replanting, watering the plants and weeding. Joel helps with weeding but his Dad says sometimes “he pulls up the wrong plants.” Modesto says life will be much easier for his sons than it has been for him, as it will be easier to grow enough food. He also says that eating the vegetables means they are both healthy and growing properly.
Not only does the family grow enough food for themselves now but they have some extra crops of onions, chard, potatoes and beans which are taken into the nearest town to sell at market. Modesto also sells some of the worm humus, because people can see how good it is.
At the end of the assembly, Linda asked the children if they could help CAFOD ‘Brighten Up’ the lives of children like Santos and Joel and help them live life to the full.
Thank you so much to everyone at St Paul’s for all your enthusiasm and support and thank you too to Linda for giving this assembly.
Find out more about our work in Bolivia and Ruben’s story by watching this short film below.