With teen green James Callicott
EFORE I start banging on about some gardening topic that will delight, and excite you for the next few minutes of your life, I would just like to start with a thank you or two.
Firstly, I would like to thank Laura for allowing me to pour water over her for my last article. How I managed to persuade her to do that I don’t know, I am sure that sometime in the near future she will call on me to return the payment...
The second person I would like to thank is my sister, Sarah, for taking the picture and coping with all the fun and japes we had while shooting.
I suppose compared to the ‘African adventure’ Laura and I had only five weeks ago, having warm (ish) water poured over you from a watering can was relative luxury.
Laura and I, along with four other teenagers, spent half of our summer holidays in Burundi – the world’s poorest county.
For three weeks we had unreliable electricity, no hot water and experienced roads that make you realise things are really not that bad in Bucks.
It’s quite hard to describe this amazing country. It’s easier to say what they don’t have then what they do, and although there are some stark difference what Burundi may lack in some areas, it definitely makes up in the scenery and plants.
I felt like a bit of an idiot out there. I am not going to lie – every so often people would ask: ‘What’s that, James?’ and I would simply have to say: ‘I have no idea’. They have bougainvillea and eucalyptus and day lilies like back at home, but they also have the stunning callistemon citrinus (bottlebrush tree) just growing wild as a weed. In Burundi, the locals eat ‘Lenga Lenga’ a strange vegetable that can only be described as being similar to cabbage and they feed their livestock on this strange, grass-like vegetation – only the leaves are about a metre long and 20cm wide.
I was taken aback when our translator said: ’Look, the locals are growing rice’.
I was also shocked to drive though a palm oil plantation, it really is something that has to be seen to be believed.
For months when I was 14, I nurtured 10 small coffee beans into seeding before they died. In Burundi, they grow without any problems.
When you visit a country like Burundi it is only natural that you experience culture shock.
Everything is so different and no matter how many times someone says: ‘Your showers will be freezing’ it’s not till you get out there that you fully understand what they mean.
And although It was nice to get back home, there are many lasting memories, the landscape and stunning vegetation will stay with me always.