FOOD & AGRICULTURE UPDATE
Naphytane’s Growing Significance
You first met Naphtane in an Orchard: Community update back in April of 2017 entitled ‘’Naphytane’s Growing Seedlings”. Over the past seventeen months since we last spoke with Naphytane he has experienced some pretty significant ups and downs in his life. It seemed like circling back to cover more of Naphytane’s story was long overdue, and so it gives us much pleasure to offer you the sequel to a wonderful man’s simple story…
There was very little broken English in this conversation to decipher. Instead, Kealeboga (Orchard: Africa’s North West Garden Manager) and Naphytane exchanged words rapidly back and forth in Tswana. Every now and again, as the two chatterboxes carried on in their mother tongue, Naphytane would catch his breath. He let Kealeboga do most of the talking as earlier this year he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. If gone untreated tuberculosis can lead to increased dizziness, weariness, coughing, and even death. Fortunately, Naphytane has been on the upswing since he was diagnosed about six months ago.
Although he still has dizzy spells and the occasional shortness of breath he goes out of his way to reassure us, “I’m better, but still taking treatment and going to the doctor every month”. A translator was not needed to hear the tone of hope and optimism in Naphytane’s voice. Even when discussing the ongoing difficulties of his health Naphytane spoke through a perennial grin (for a visual reference take a look at the pictures of him provided).
This past year, despite the daunting diagnoses, has been a great one for Naphytane. In January all his hard work from the previous year paid off when he won a ‘Farm-in-a-Bag’ competition funded by Orchard: Africa and hosted by Top Village church. Over the course of 2017 Naphytane continually harvested spinach, beets, and onions from his ‘Farm-in-a-Bag’.
As a result of his hard work and discipline he walked away with a cash prize. When asked what he did with the big money earned from his little bag he responded with fatherly pride, “I managed to pay my child’s school fees”. The ability to provide as a parent is not the only gift Naphytane has received through his local church’s partnership with Orchard: Africa – Naphytane has also been given influence and opportunity to help his neighbors by doing what he loves.
The people in the community view Naphytane as a bit of an Agricultural expert due to his recent winnings (and the size of his personal garden at home). Naphytane has leveraged his new found influence to help Top Village Church recruit and train ten community members per month in vertical gardening techniques. Before the symptoms of his tuberculosis slowed him down, Naphytane was volunteering five days a week working at the Top Village Church garden.
In fact, it is largely due to his service that Top Village was able to expand their garden by more than fives times it’s original size. Due to the increased sowing there has also been an increase in harvesting. Much of what is harvested from the original greenhouse is sold to help cover church costs (see the Orchard: Community Food & Agriculture video update from earlier this year). Naphytane told us that the produce from the new, and larger plot of land is what gives him the most joy. When asked to elaborate, the persistent grin on Napytane’s face blossomed into a full grown smile, “Because, I give what I am planting to the preschool”.
Walking away from the house that Naphytane built with his own two hands, and the garden he planted by the sweat of his own brow, it was abundantly clear that the most important thing growing in Naphytane’s life was the feeling of purpose and significance that had been planted in his heart through serving others. You, our Orchard Community, play a huge role in this success story. Your sacrificial giving and ongoing support helps Orchard: Africa work on your behalf to enable people like Naphytane find new hope and purpose.
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