Life begins and ends in the earth and that’s why we should respect it, says Noloyiso Mcekana. A teacher at Kuyasa Special School, her husband Khaya Mcekana, Archbishop of the Ethiopian Episcopal Church, passed away last year. Now she’s back in the family’s Makhanda home, where she uses every patch of earth she finds to grow food for herself and the needy.
“Genesis in the Bible tells us to respect nature: Adam and Eve were put in the Garden of Eden to look after it,” Mcekana says. In her Garden of Eden, she has planted carrots, beetroot, cabbage, pumpkin, strawberries and potatoes. Because of the town’s unreliable water supply, she has repaired an old tank on the property, to ensure she can keep it watered.
Mcekana supplies the soup kitchen at St Matthew’s Church and rests knowing that the poor will sleep with something in their stomachs. When she has spare vegetables, she bottles them as preserves for lean times. When she has seeds to spare, she gives them to her neighbours, inspiring them to plant their own gardens.
“I love to plant, but the one who makes the seeds grow is the Almighty,” said Mcekana. “Everything is in the hands of God and I love to see a plant coming out of the ground – it reminds me of the love of God.”
The help Mcekana would appreciate is a water tank, hosepipe and garden tools. Also a pair of gumboots – because she works in all weather.
“Live begins and ends in the earth, so people should respect it and use it wisely,” she says.