“We are not poor; your mind is poor!”

Phayao, November 2017. “Let us go and support khun Moon,”says our friend Suwat to khun Saowanee, Anu and I. “He has stopped using chemicals on his land and has to deal with a lot of resistance from his fellow villagers.” Moon and his wife welcome us in front of their modest house. Lots of chicken run around among a luxuriant vegetation. In front of the house a fish pond opens the view toward a mountain range.

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(Moon, Saowanee, Suwat, Anu)

We identify together the plant varieties surrounding us: banana trees, casava shrubs, sweet potatoes, avocado trees, sugar cane, and so many more…

“As the Government has determined that we are poor it sends us a monthly allowance of 20 USD”, says Moon. “But look at the abundance around us! We live very well off our garden. We only use half of our allowance to pay for our electricity bill and for some petrol for our motorbike”

Ganshoren, May 2018. BelCompetence friends visit Remi Vandersmissen. Four years ago, Remi wondered: “What shall we do if the whole financial system breaks down?” A horticulturalist by training, Remi had always seen weed as an enemy. He decided to explore whether he could survive on them. And survive he did, sometimes living for months on those weeds he used to combat. For three hours he guided us along the Molenbeek, a creek that gave its name to the nearby municipality. A few yards away from the parking lot, we were already feasting on a variety of plants which we had been taught to stay away from….

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(Photo:  Eddy Van Hemelrijck)

In October last year, during our Global Learning Festival  in Uganda a 106 year old man whom we visited told us: “We are not poor, your mind is poor!”

At age seventy, SALT opens my mind to the abundance of life.

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