There are many dimensions in which we, the Hampâté Bâ team, are striving to improve the Rooftop Garden Project here at Radio Kayira. Not only does our project involve improving the garden itself but its relationship with the Radio and Malians in general. What I mean is that the garden is not simply a garden but serves as a keystone example for urban agriculture to be replicated elsewhere. By experimenting with a variety of techniques and ideas, the people of Bamako can find inspiration to initiate their own gardens that best suit their situation. The only catch is that those people need to not only know the garden exists but see it.
This last point is important. We have met many people during our time here that have heard about the garden and wished to see it –including many people working at the Radio itself –that never visited the garden. Once they were invited, they were more than happy to come and were surprised by what they saw. Therefore, if the people did not feel like they were able to visit the garden for x, y reason, especially curious locals, we would bring the garden to them.
To make the garden more visible, we installed twelve tyre containers in the front entrance where the staff motorcycles are parked. Not only does this make the garden visible for passerbys in the street but is a major gathering place for staff and friends. Throughout the day, people use this space to socialize, make tea, and pray. So far the garden contains mint, aloe, a papaya, bisap, tomato, and a medicinal plant to treat malaria called Ko Safune. The reaction from staff has been very positive. The Security guard often makes tea and is very involved in maintaining the garden. The presence of medicinal plants has also created a very positive reaction.
We hope that the presence of the front entrance garden will help people understand better the relationship between the garden and its benefits by making it as accessible as possible: at their door.