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4/2/09 Field Trip (with pictures!)

Every Spring Camp takes a field trip.

Our group went to an herb garden.

They grow medicinal and edible herbs, as well as aromatic plants and flowers, then process them (hang them, dry them, press them, whatever) to generate perfumes, oils, soaps, teas, etc. It wasn't the most exhilarating field trip of all time, but I enjoyed learning about their garden, since there's a chance we'll create a similar one here in Berberville, plus I loved all the greenery. I love my little village, but it is... brown.

To the right, see Asma (our beloved English-speaking Moroccan staff member!) and a friend looking at the drying herbs hanging along the wall of the shed.

Below: a wild rose. Well, it looks like a wild rose, but now that it's in a garden, it might not count. :) I don't know if roses have any medicinal value, but they readily yield their scent into oils and perfumes; in fact, roses provide most of the economy of Kela'at Magouna, a small city in southern Morocco. This one looks to be a different species of rose. I'm now regretting that I didn't buy any of the products in the garden's giftshop.

I like these kinds of herb gardens for many reasons, but one of the most straightforward is that it's an inherently renewable resource. If my village gets on board with the professor whose project I worked on last summer, we'll be cultivating plants like these, and hopefully moving this region from a grazing-based economy, which is devastating the local ecosystem, to one featuring products cultivated and processed into products like those sold at the garden we visited. If we focus on peppermint, oregano, rosemary, lavendar, and others that grow wild in our national park, hopefully we'll generate an appreciation of the park as it is, not just as a place where sheep eat every green thing down to the dirt.

Baby steps, baby steps...

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps