How lucky I am that Ibrahim found me a beautiful house right at the river! And on top of that the house comes with a nice garden with an abundance of fruit trees: lemon, papaya, orange and even guava.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that not only me and my friends are happy with these trees; the neighbors also like them a lot. That is, their fruits. Quite regularly someone knocks on the door or steps into the garden to pick some lemons or guavas.
The first time I was flabbergasted, the second time I was maybe even more surprised and up to today I still haven’t gotten entirely used to the fact that people I don’t even know consider it normal to request or take fruits from my garden.
‘Monique, it would be mean not to give it to them, they know we have more than we could eat ourselves’, Amadou explains to me. I’m more than willing to share the abundance of the garden, it’s the way they make me share it that continues to puzzle me.
By now the sharing has come to a point that I don’t even have enough grown lemons at the trees to make a decent amount of lemon juice, which has definitely become my favorite drink in the warm afternoons.
Last night lying in my bed the subject crossed my mind again and I started wondering what was going to happen in the months to come. Over the past few weeks we have planted some more fruit trees and have sowed all kinds of vegetables. Little plants are popping up all around the garden and I’m looking forward to eating tomatoes, onions, leeks, radices, zucchinis and even cauliflowers from our own garden. But what if the neighbors start asking for those too..?
‘No, Monique!’, Amadou states firmly when I asked him this morning, ‘they can’t ask for that!’
‘But why not? What’s the difference between asking for tomatoes and asking for lemons?’, I ask him. Grinning he replies: ‘Well, those trees were here before we arrived here, so they are not really ours, meaning that we have to share when we have more than we need ourselves, otherwise it will bring bad luck to us. They will not ask for the vegetables, because we do the work in the garden. They will probably ask for the grenadines and mangos when they start growing, but since we have planted the trees ourselves we do not need to give them. We can of course if we have enough and feel like sharing.’
And so it is over here, all that you’ve planted or sowed is yours, whatever was there before you arrived belongs either to the one who planted it or to everybody else…