For the past few months I've been tutoring a young doctor from Central America in English pronunciation. He immigrated to Canada, hoping to practice medicine. It's a long haul and he needs to pass an oral English exam, hence the tutoring. The other day, before he left, I offered him a bag of green beans and another of tomatoes from the garden.
"Oh," he said, "can you show me how they grow?"
"Of course." So off we went into the garden. I showed him the butternut squashes trying to take over the world, the tomatoes ripening, the tall green bean towers, the raspberry canes and more. He was fascinated by the herbs, especially the chives, and asked to take a few home. I clipped a big bunch for him, and threw in a couple of the flowers telling him they were edible, too.
He was amazed. "Can I bring my children to see this?" And he did, along with his wife.
I let the children pick tomatoes, find ripe raspberries and pulled a few carrots for them. They had never seen a vegetable garden. Can you imagine? What fun it was to see their excitement. "Mira, papi," they said in their sweet Spanish voices, "look."
This morning, I picked tomatoes and herbs and turned them into salsa. Growing a garden and preserving food are skills I learned from my parents. What a rich heritage to understand the source of our food. And I wonder what else I take for granted that others in the world have not experienced.