Describing a wonderful day with Duddingston Conservation Society using my limited Swahili vocab as a homework exercise.
By Martha Cronin.
Sentence 1. On Sunday many dirty students went to Duddingston to do volunteer work in the garden.
“Jumamosi wanafunzi wengi wachafu walienda Duddingston walifanya kazi ya kujitolea bustani.”
Duddingston Conservation society is a stone’s throw from the Sheep’s Heid pub, surrounded by old stone walls and crumbling farm buildings it is a hidden secret of Duddingston community.
Sentence 2. There were many short fruit trees in the garden.
“Kuna miti wa matunda mifupi mingi bustani.”
The society has a lovely walled garden where they grow all manner of tasty fruit and vegetables; they were planning to set up a greenhouse in the corner and needed some volunteers to level the ground for it. They also had stewardship of a field with access to Holyrood Park and Arthur’s seat. This is where I spent most of the day weeding and de-turfing the ground around their apple trees and then mulching the area. They had over 50 varieties of heritage apple and pear growing, sourced by an enthusiastic collector. They promise to be an invaluable resource for Edinburgh gardeners interested in growing (and eating) heritage fruit.
Sentence 3. The small white dog is named George, he played ball with the students frequently but was not tired.
“Mbwa mfupi mweupe anaitwa Goeorge, aliwacheza mpira wanafunzi mara kwa mara lakini hakulala.”
There were many dogs coming and going throughout the day including Buddy who seemed to be in charge and insisted on checking up on us throughout the day. George was a little fox terrier who was under the impression that we were there for his own amusement, he even bit a few students who were foolish enough to stop playing with him.
Sentence 4. The food was very delicious, we ate vegetable soup and bread and cheese, we drank tea and coffee frequently.
“Vyakula alikuwa vitamu sana, tulikula supu mboga na mikate na jibini, alikunywa chai na kahawa mara kwa mara.”
The society very kindly provided our lunch for us. It was an impressive array of vegetable soups (from garden greens to spicy root vegetables), homemade breads (including a delicious peppery porridge bread) and all the cheese one could eat. I don’t know how to say apple or cake in Swahili – but it deserves a mention because the homemade apple cake was very good!
Sentance 5. The students played a dangerous game, it was called “Ratchet Screwdriver”.
“Wanafunzi walicheza mchezo hitari, aliitwa “Ratchet Screwdriver”.”
Though a dirty tradition, Ratchet screwdriver may not have entirely endeared us to Duddingston society as it was an epic battle in which few people left with their dignity intact. But the mud a grass stains we left with were a reminder of a great day.
Sentence 6. Five or six students brought small trees to their homes, to plant in their gardens.
“Wanafunizi watano ama sita walileta miti mingi nyumbani, kupanda miti bustani.”
As were the rootstock apple trees which the Society kindly let us take to our own gardens.