I had a number of interesting and exciting experiences this week, so I want to touch on a few things.
1. Iftar with Adam and his family from Sudan. I had never been to an Iftar meal before and although I ended up forsaking my vegetarianism for the night, this was a great experience. The family is incredibly sweet, friendly, welcoming, and great to talk to. Highlights of the night included meeting Adam’s youngest son who inhaled the box of figs we brought with us, and bonding with the family over language learning. I learned a lot and got to spend time with some fantastic people!
2. Lunch with Faeza Hillian from Iraq. Faeza has become my fig harvesting buddy (I basically live to hear her say “Oh good good, a lot, a lot!” when I hoist myself into a fig tree and magically discover more figs than either of us thought were present), and so I was honored that she invited me into her home for a meal one afternoon. Although I again had to forsake my vegetarian ways (I ate more meat this week than I’ve eaten in a combined 2.5 years), I had a great time and was fed the equivalent of probably three days worth of food. I also got to see the family’s garden and visit a homeowner we had harvested figs from previously to deliver some fig jam that was homemade by Faeza. I was sent off with a jar of the tasty stuff myself.
3. Harvesting at Tohono Chul Park. This was a great harvest with great volunteers (including two I had never met before, one of whom was brand new). Heather Quinney from Tohono Chul took us around the park to harvest a variety of things and gave us a nice mini tour on the way. I also got a picture of teenage Quresha from Kenya touching a snake, which was great because after that one little pat she refused to touch any of the others. Unrelated to the harvest, that morning I also gave Quresha a book to read which I had happened upon in a thrift shop and hoped she would enjoy (it’s a historical novel by an author I really enjoyed when I was younger). She spent the first ten minutes of our car ride reading it, after which she announced, “This is a good book!” She later told me she was looking forward to reading it every night. Made my week.
Natalie Melkonoff, Summer Harvesting Coordinator