By Sara Monajem
Something special takes place during the fall and winter months in Kish. It is unique and very touching.
The gentle blow of the first cool breeze of September heralds the special tidings to the security staff who guard the entrance of the gated residential buildings here. And, they get busy: Vacant plots of earth in the vicinity - and all soil spaces between and around the trees lining the streets and roads - are plowed, prepared and fortified. Seeds and roots of vegetables, herbs and spices and some hardy fruits are inserted into the soil with care and hope.
Labor seems to get divided equally as one can see every staff member take turns in watering, weeding and pruning the crops. One can hear discussions and decisions around cultivation taking place before or after the evening prayers. Given the limited earth space, the status of every shoots and species are carefully weighed. And, they keep vigil while the sprouts grow into colorful little flowering plants and bushes promising healthy and abundant yields. These gardeners are watching their plants grow perhaps with some longing for the lost opportunities in witnessing the growth of children in their homelands -- younger brothers and sisters, or even own children who are left behind.
Slowly, the red and purple lettuce-heads open their leaves next to the yellow flowers of zucchinis, cucumbers, squashes and pumpkins. Encircling them are the buds of onions, garlic and scallions standing on their resilient stems. The make-shift trellises that are strung in upward rows help keep the vines of beans and tomatoes climb up. The peas and beans grow in length and, along with the ever-changing color of the ripening tomatoes, they make interesting variations on the color green.
Potatoes, beets, eggplants and sweet melons are cultivated only when additional earth space is found. The extra plots are considered a privilege. The proud gardener, taking you on a tour of the plantation, begins his show with these plots whose flowers - all different hues of yellow - are spectacular and complementing the colors of their vegetable gardens.
Pride shows itself again on the gardeners' faces as they talk with much animation about the harvest and the soups, salads and cakes that they will be making with the produce. And the recipes will all be different -- you see, these men and their seeds come from the four corners of Iran and beyond, including Afghanistan. The dishes they will be making reflect their ethnic origin and will have the smell and taste of their local cuisine. The only thing they all have in common is the genuine "Persian hospitality". They all invite you to return during harvest, join them for a meal, taste the cooking and take some home for your family.
I urge all the Island's residents and visitors to take notice of these gardens. Talking with the gardeners and touring their plots is enjoyable and informative. This show of solidarity may even encourage them to expand their gardens, and help save more land plots from turning into construction and rubbish dumps. Also, Take photos and publicize. The Beautiful Island of Kish needs support to keep up with its epithet.
... Payvand News - 06/16/10 ... --