By Cassandra Albanus, 22nd June 2016
Fresh on the job as Forever Sabah’s Communications Coordinator, Cassandra Albanus who traded headphones as a radio announcer for a whole new adventure, shares her first taste of growing greens. Here is her story:
Can talking to plants really help them grow? From my experience, the answer is a strong yes!
I had the amazing opportunity to observe and learn from the ladies who work very hard to nurture and grow Kivatu Nature Farm (KNF). I did not know what to expect but I knew I would be under the scorching sun of North Borneo at the hottest point ever recorded (at least that’s what I felt because it was THAT hot then) but I kept a very open mind and heart.
On my first day I was briefed by Maria Lasimbang, KNF’s Project Coordinator and Irene Mositol, KNF’s Supervisor – they patiently and lovingly explained the overview of KNF, told me to put on a lot of mosquito repellant and took me for a tour of the farm. Listening to them talk so passionately about what they do inspired me to care more for the environment, grow my own vegetables (it is possible even if you live in a small apartment), understand the effects of pesticide, respect the land we live on, and they also gave me a lot of warm hugs. These ladies are something else.
The next day, Maria and Irene took me to the farm to get our hands dirty. Yay! I finally get to plant something! Here’s a tip – if you’re stressed out, go outside because green really is a calming colour. I mean, who likes seeing cut out hills, right?
I never knew planting my hands in wet soil would be so fun it even made me forget about the heat!
Once the soil was ready, Irene and I inserted the vegetable seeds and covered it up with a net so the chickens won’t get to them. Not long after, Irene gave me my next assignment – she took out two trays for me to fill with soil to plant more vegetable seeds! I said to myself ‘I cannot mess this up. Bikin malu nanti! (It will be embarrassing!).’
As expected, the perfectionist in me came out. I painstakingly and patiently put soil into the tiny openings of the trays and when it was time to plant the seeds, I started talking to them out loud – “You better grow with all this sweat dripping on you. I love you. Please don’t embarrass me. You MUST grow.”
Guess what? Less than a week later, Irene sent me a picture of my babies growing perfectly! I was overjoyed I wanted to throw a vegetable party (this did not happen, of course)!
For someone who has never grown anything, it was an exhilarating sense of achievement. I was hooked and I want to plant more the next time I visit KNF. I have ‘green thumbs’ after all and it’s the most amazing and beautiful feeling knowing it. So, who’s up for the ‘green thumb’ test? I’ll even coach you on how to talk to your seeds.
To learn more about KNF, follow them on Facebook at Friends of Kivatu Nature Farm.