Walk recklessly and you will find yourself lying in a banana plantation or trapped between thorny orange trees. That is how careful you must tread if you are going to Lycee de Kigali’s garden. The garden is punctuated with contours meant to prevent soil erosion and mulches to keep the soil moist. And the results are visible for everyone.
How useful is the garden?
The garden, according to the disciplinary master, has helped supplement students’ meals.
“When we harvest fruits, we give them to the students to eat. This means they get vitamins which are good for their health,” says Pancras Kalisa, the disciplinary master.
A number of fruits and crops such as mangoes, oranges, passion fruits, sweet potatoes and bananas are what you will find on this half acre of land that was set aside for farming in 2008.
Besides eating, Kalisa says students gain more knowledge and skills on various agricultural practices.
“Later at a certain stage, they can transform that knowledge into bigger investments such as commercial farming,” Kalisa adds.
Elisha Karara, the school bursar who makes budgetary allocations for pesticides and farm tools, says students visit the garden at least once a week.
“Besides gaining nutrients from what they produce, students also learn about crop diseases and pests — how they come about and how to prevent/deal with them,” he explains.
The garden that is managed by the Environment Club has also empowered students with the knowledge and confidence to start similar projects at home.
Lyse Ineza, a Senior Six student, says he started home gardening two years ago. Ineza grows fruits and vegetables such as amaranthus and avocado at home.
“I picked the idea from school and I can tell you I’m doing wonders at home. I have already started harvesting the amaranthus while avacado should be ready a few years from today,” Ineza explains.
He adds that he hopes to expand the project into a commercial one in future.
James Bazibose, the care taker of the school garden, hints at the possibility of expanding the garden.
“We want to increase our harvests so that our students get to have enough of their own food and fruits,” Bazibose says.
The school also plans to introduce animal husbandry with the aim of imparting farming skills in students.
“We have built a kraal for cattle but have not yet stocked it. We shall also have goats and other animal,” Karara explains.