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Larry's project in the Congo is indicative of his approach to projects in general. His first order of business is to find what I call an "angel". An angel is someone on site who knows something about self-reliant gardening and seed saving. Every successful project has an angel. In this case Larry found a missionary he describes as a humanitarian person: "He didn't go to change their lifestyles. He loves them the way they are. We will never know about how the seed is being distributed, or who exactly ends up with much of it. But this is OK."

What we do know is that there are millions of people in the area living at risk. Civil war has destroyed support systems, and in response the natives have developed a survival form of gardening. Instead of large gardens which are the targets of raids by the waring factions, micro-gardens are hidden in the mountains and jungle. Different tribal members then memorize the different locations. No matter how large the raid, only a small part of their food supply is lost.

Larry sent pear tomato seeds because they are persistent. Other successful crops include collards squash and peppers. Favorite pepper varieties include Big Jim, Sandia and Espanola. "We found they liked thin-walled hot peppers, especially the serrano and scotch bonnet types, because they dry faster." Next Larry wants to send a black-seeded perennial chili he describes as bush-type, 1 ft. tall with little yellow, bell-shaped, transparent peppers about the size of a quarter. HOT!


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