Last week, I took my older son to the Charis Teaching Farm with me. We had researched a natural farming practice called “Banana Circles” and we were anxious to implement it.
Banana Circles are essentially a 1 meter wide pit dug 1 meter deep. The excess dirt is piled on the rim of the pit. Water and cut grass and weeds fill up the pit, providing nourishment to the five banana trees that inhabit the newly-formed ring.
The field in which we were going to start this process is water-logged. This makes the mud sticky and the ground slippery. After a half hour of both of us trying to dig the dirt out, we found our stride in me loosening the dirt with my boy climbing into the pit and piling the loose clay/soil on the rim. We did this repeatedly until we reached about 80 cm depth.
After finishing our hole, I made a small inlet for water in the field to start filling the hole. Then we walked through the farm in search of banana pups. The difficult parts in this are 1) identifying the pups which will produce fruit and 2) not getting eaten alive by the ants who reside at the base of the banana clusters. We were able to find two pups and plant them in our ring.
By the end of our time, about 3 hours, we were both tired, but very satisfied. It brought me so much joy and fulfillment to include my son in the work that I do. While meditating on our family’s purpose last week, I realized that my dream in managing a farm had always included my family’s involvement. Having my son with me filled a gap that had been empty for me over this past year. Our hope is to dig one hole each week until we have five in that same field, in the format of the ‘5’ on a die.
More than my own joy, it was awesome to see how proud my son was at the end of the day’s work. He was beaming with pride for the work that he had accomplished. What I learn from this is that the Good Life is something that you make yourself. In our own way, that’s why we came to Thailand and share the Good Life that Jesus has for us all to the people we serve.
For more information on the work I do through the Charis Teaching Farm, you can see (and follow) the blog/website here. For those interested in partnering with our family’s ministry, you can check out our About page or donate here.