Compost and Redemption

Justin Moore - Senegal


October 27, 2010

When I learned that I was going to be working with an organization called Dynamiques Femmes (Dynamic Women) with a city wide effort to promote composting and recycling (I thought) only amongst women, I had two thoughts:

My first: “YOU MEAN I WON’T BE WORKING ON A FARM?”

My second: “why do only women need to compost?”

I felt like I had been misled. In fact, one of the main reasons of my participation in GCY was David Glasgow’s telling me all about the agriculture sector in GCY. That and he’s just a downright charming guy. I was disillusioned and astonished. I had wanted to work on a farm so I could do something completely different than what I was used to. Given that I am grew up in a city, I wanted to do something completely new  for a year, while addressing some of Senegal’s most pressing issues; the romancitity of working on a farm just seemed to good to pass up.

During the past two weeks in Dakar I have thoroughly contemplated my position. Everyday, I  walk to french class down the sidewalks made of sand, and I am hurt by the garbage scattered about accompanied by the occasional  pile of trash that has communally been decided to be a, what we would consider a, dumpster on the side of the street. There is a severe lack of trash cans in Dakar. I have found myself holding onto receipts, a bottle, and a candy wrapper for over a week in my room simply because I have not been able to find a trash can.

I soon became excited about my apprenticeship and ways I couldn’t have imagined possible for agriculture.It was after Wolof class at the end of the day, a time I spend working on college apps. I recalled the time I had spent a week building a compost bin, put it at my school, and then never got around to putting it into use. I just didn’t feel the inspiration to do so. I was vexed at myself but then began to see my apprenticeship as a way to redeem myself; to commit till the very end any project I start. And isn’t this what this whole year is about anyway; stepping bravely into the unexpected… and then running with it?

Justin Moore