This is Khady Thiam who has been working in the Ngor Marone Market Garden for the last few years, and selling the produce she doesn’t eat at home, for profit on a street-side stall:
"I have learned so much since my time with Andando began, I learned a lot about market gardening techniques, determination, teamwork, and the spirit of cultivating peace and solidarity in a given group. I also learned the spirit of helping one another and sharing. It is great that we depend on each other, and we distribute what we can spare to our parents who come to visit us. We are now able to grow, harvest, and give them some extra so they don’t have to buy it in the market, or travel to Kaolack to get it. Andando has allowed us to live well, as we use the vegetables after harvest and we cook without spending the last penny.
Thanks to Andando, I work in the garden, I earn my income honestly and with dignity, I respond to my material and financial needs, and I solve my problems without reaching out to anyone. Then, thanks to Andando, I do not buy any more vegetables for my meals as I always use vegetables from the garden for family meals. I am able to respond to the aspirations and schooling of my children, and I can make my contribution on treating the illnesses of my children. Last year, after sharing the profits with the other women, I had over $200 to enjoy the Tabaski celebration! I was able to use it to sew new clothes for my little ones and I bought supplies for the festival, as do so many other families. I was even able to help my son who was an intern at the Kaolack Regional Hospital.
The community of Keur Soce has advanced through the contributions of Andando through the gardens, and since then we feel the economic and social benefits for everyone. Anyone in the community can come to get vegetables at our gardens, in the morning as well as in the evening. Then, the community does not need to travel as much to buy vegetables in Kaolack, they are cheaper, and everyone saves time and money on transport.
Thanks to the Andando project, I earn a decent living. I no longer ask for help from people to solve my problems. Contrarily, it is the people who come to ask me to lend them money to meet their needs. Before the installation of the garden, I encountered enormous difficulties to satisfy my needs. Since Andando has come to this area, this story has changed.
The project has allowed me to be more organized, and to have the sense of priority and solidarity in the group. I get up early in the morning to go to the garden to take care of watering and crop maintenance, then I go back home to take care of the housework. On the days that I need to leave very early for Kaolack in search of something I need, my partner at the garden – Mrs. Diop – is able to water, hoe and maintain if necessary. So on my return, I join the garden in the afternoon to do the same as my friend. With Andando, we have the sense of organization, we are very organized and we collaborate well between friends.
For the future of the project, I am really optimistic. We know that for the project to be viable, it would be necessary that the women of the gardens never give up, they should continue their dynamism and their determination.
I want say a big thank you to all of our supporters! There are all those who work for our benefit overseas, but also the dedicated Mr. Sy, who works for the good of the community of Keur Soce, Then, without forgetting Mandaw Ba, the coordinator of the garden technicians, Mr. Camara, and all that work for Andando from near or far."