[Original by Naoko WATANABE, South Africa Project (February 26, 2018); Translated by Y. Nakamura]

Hello, my name is Naoko Watanabe. I am in charge of the South Africa Project. Now, our staff members of the Community Development Group are visiting our local offices overseas and holding conferences for our annual plans. We are scheduled to have conferences at the end of every fiscal year in order to review that year’s operation results and draft next year’s operation plans and budgets in accordance with each project. I have been likewise occupied in this conference together with our local staff members in South Africa day after day. When we were reviewing operation results in the year 2017, Phillip, our local staff member in charge of training for gardening, desperately tried to find the document, since he wondered if “we should have performed another training for home gardening in November.” We were struggling in such a way (the document was finally found.) While we were discussing our activities for the year 2018 and later, Dudu and Moses, our local staff members, repeatedly claimed “Poverty” was a problem in South Africa. I asked them, “Which situation did you specifically mean, when you insisted poverty was a problem?” We were all serious discussing this issue after my question.

I had a bitter smile, and Phillip was busy checking documents.

Dudu at left, and Moses at right.

A Happy St. Valentine’s Day in South Africa

Mangoes presented by Moses. Can you see three different kinds?

Maize planted by Phillip. Two kinds, yellow and whitish.

All of us got tired from having accelerated our discussions since the first day of the conference, so we wished for “some sweets.” I just recollected that it was St. Valentine’s Day. It was a very nice day in South Africa, because a man would give a present to a woman on that day. When Moses and Phillip, male staff members, were leaving, I suggested to them, “I have not received any presents yet.” Next morning, Moses came to the office with mangoes which were grown at his garden, and Phillip with maize which had been planted by himself, both in large quantities. Because South Africa suffered from very poor harvests due to droughts this year, there were some homes without any harvest. However, Phillip said, “It is true this year’s harvest was considerably lower than last year’s, but I could get a little. Traditional seeds are strong, especially under such conditions.” Dudu complained while laughing, “I wanted a cake!!” I really appreciated those presents, feeling their warm hearts. Dudu had just begun to cook maize, saying, “It would not taste good unless it was cooked before losing its freshness.” When I aimed a camera at her, Dudu confidentially posed for a “ Happy Valentine’s Day!” There are, in the area where JVC is engaged, four kinds of mangoes that can be grown without care, and two kinds of maize planted by Phillip every year using traditionally preserved seeds. Both are very delicious. I think it’s really a rich life when one can easily get these kinds of food.

Her message on St. Valentine’s Day, although a little late…

Next time, I will report on meals in South Africa.

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