Loyola University of Congo Visit to the Students' Learning Garden

There was excitement and anticipation across the College de Savoirs (CdS) community as they were waiting the arrival of engineer Manunga, from Loyola University of Congo, to commence the composting efforts within the Students’ Learning Garden. Parents and teachers met in the garden in preparation and established that the street kids should be congratulated and thanked for a job well done regarding their help reinforcing the fence around the Students’ Learning Garden. It was also unequivocal that as many community members as possible would attend the visit from engineer Manunga to learn about the composter within the garden. It was likewise crucial to have the CdS students invite all peers to the community meal following the special visit.

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One parent talked about his recent attendance at a workshop about agriculture in the Bandundu region. He stated many attending were not aware of the phases of composting, and he was grateful for the CdS students that personally educated him. He was able to share that knowledge with the supplementary attendees and was praised for his knowledge on the topic. He said it was at that moment when he grasped the impact of the significant knowledge and abilities that the CdS students are developing. Another parent introduced a community member who was always doing her part to care for the garden without ever being asked to do so. Her efforts included making sure that the reinforced fence would stay in place, and she returned any pieces of bamboo to CdS if she noticed they had become dislodged. She was impressed with the Students’ Learning Garden and stated that her two kids attended CdS in 2002 and they now were both attending University.

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Engineer Mununga visited a couple days later. He congratulated the CdS students, teachers and parents on their efforts within the Students’ Learning Garden. He reminded the community of the importance of the garden: providing food for the school families or providing money for the maintenance of the garden through sales of harvested plants, and enhancing the wellbeing for the community. He then led students through a science experiment in which he compared a sample of regular soil to the composted soil post-biodegradation. After this demonstration, he explained to the students the role of water, soil, and nutrients (such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous) within the waste which create a nutrient-rich soil to use for cultivation. He also further explained for the need of biodiversity (adding leaves, grass, and legumes) within the waste.

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We believe that Giving Back to Africa has achieved a critical goal with CdS. The students and teachers have been empowered. They are living as servant leaders in their communities. The community is becoming engaged and empowered as a result. An outcome of GBA’s work is sustainability, empowering the students, teachers, and community to continue to build themselves up, and we believe this is coming to fruition.