Growing together

Hi, my name is Borisut and I’m seven years old. Welcome to my family’s garden!

I live with my family in a country called Thailand, far away from the big cities. My grandparents used to plant all their vegetables by themselves, but by the time I was born people from the city had built roads all the way to my village, and hired people to work in their fields and factories. Before long, no one in our village planted their own vegetables anymore. We had to buy all our food from other people. My dad said the food they sold us always had chemicals from pesticides that made me and my brother sick. Buying food also took a lot of money, so Mom and Dad had to work extra hard just to keep us in school. Sometimes they did not make enough money to buy meat, so we just ate rice and vegetables instead.

One day I was at my Compassion centre when our tutor said we were going to learn something new: how to plant a garden! The director, Mr. Montri, was going to teach our parents all about growing their own food, too. He told us, “Plant what you eat, and eat what you plant.” He planted a large garden at the Compassion centre to show us how it’s done.

Mr. Montri taught us how to care for papayas, one of our favourite fruits.

My Compassion tutors often take us for walks through the garden to teach us about the fruits and vegetables. I’ve learned all about the different plants I can eat. I’ve learned that vegetables don’t need chemicals to grow. And I’ve learned how to help Mom and Dad grow their own garden.

Then my dad and mom learned about gardening from Mr. Montri. At first the gardens would die as soon as summer started. But then my parents learned about saving and storing water, and the gardens stayed green all year long! Soon we were picking our own food from the trees and bushes around our house. My dad is a leader in our village, so now other families come to learn from him how they could have a garden like ours. Soon our village will be swimming in pumpkins and bananas!

My mom and I check the eggplants in our garden.

My mom and I check the eggplants in our garden.

Taking care of our papaya trees.

Taking care of our papaya trees.

When we have more fruits and vegetables than we can eat, the Compassion centre helps us sell them at a small market they set up for us. Every day our moms and dads take turns sitting at our booth, selling the extra food to people from other villages. They like to buy from us because the centre director taught us how to grow our gardens without using chemicals.

This mom sells food from her garden at the market, too!

Dad says that since we stopped buying the plants with chemicals, my fevers stopped and my little brother stopped having painful rashes. We’re healthier now, and he says we’re also saving a lot of money! Now we can have more meat in our food and also have money for school supplies.

Me, my dad and my little brother.

Me, my dad and my little brother.

Except for the rice, all this food came from the garden…even the fried crickets!

This Sunday our centre director said one of my friends needed food. His father is dead and his grandmother just died, too. There is no one in the house to work for money. All of us who have gardens are going to give him fruits, rice and vegetables that we grew ourselves.

Thank God for our tutors at Compassion who taught us how to grow things again. And thank God for blessing our gardens so we can bless those around us!


Story and photos by Jonathan L. Suwaratana, Compassion Thailand


Written by: Compassion Canada