“Unar e peim,” Jabukja Aikne told his sixth grade visitors from Woja Elementary School — reap the labors of your hands. Using his 10 fingers he applied the proverb and created a farming “Eden” filled with fruit crops, vegetables and animals in Laura. Dubbed the “Arenbako Farm” by wife and flower gardener Josepha Maddison, Jabukja began farming from scratch in 2004. Today the farm has breadfruit from Samoa that blooms all-year round, open-pollinated and hybrid papaya, and even pineapples. It has seen visitors from primary and secondary schools and universities.
Arenbako Farm’s compost is 100 percent organic, a mixture of mowed lawn grass and pig feces. No one says they are going outside to farm with Mama and Baba anymore, Jabukja exclaimed. “I am a farmer and a doctor of animals,” he continued. “Outside of the islands, it’s only women in such fields. Here, people think these are men’s jobs. Says who? Where is it written, and in what book does it say so? The real question is: who is going to take my place?”
Learn from your grandparents, he advised the middle schoolers.
The young farmers are a part of the learning garden from Canvasback Wellness Center, with Woja being one of the four schools under the program including Long Island Elementary, Ajeltake Elementary and Laura Elementary School.
Read more about this in the November 23, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.