Meet Manuel!

Hi! My name is Manuel. I’m 10 years old.

When I was very little, my older brother, younger sister and I went to live in our first orphanage in Tijuana. I hated living with so many other kids and I got in trouble ALL the time. My caregivers were always yelling at me.

One day, someone with a purple shirt came to the house and said we were going to have a garden. I loved the idea because they said that even I could go! Normally I had to stay in the babies’ area and watch television with them. But when I told them, “I’m a big boy!” they said ok and let me participate. Can you believe it?!

When I joined the garden classes, I was a bit shy because I didn’t know the people in the purple shirts. But still, I was very excited to be with the older kids. Also, I wanted to see the worms and play with the dirt!

It was so much fun!! But our dogs, Pancho and Nana, were messing everything up. They didn’t mean to, but a few times, they destroyed everything we had planted! It’s a lot of work growing tomatoes, you know? So I helped build a fence around the garden. We painted it a bright purple so everyone knew this was our special place.

Then, two years ago, my brother and I were moved to another orphanage. My sister had to stay because this new orphanage was only for boys. I miss her all the time. This new orphanage also had a garden but we were not allowed to go. It was only for the adults who worked there. On the bright side, there was a big patio, but I missed going to the garden…

One day, I saw someone in a purple shirt again. I didn’t know who he was, but I remembered the name on the shirt: Create Purpose!

A little after that they let me go to garden classes again! I was super excited!

Now we also have a garden where I can go. In the fall we grow marigold flowers, spinach, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, and sweet peas! Then, in the winter, we’ll have other plants. I’m very excited because Leo, my teacher, said we will have our own Red Worms for the garden! I can’t wait to go to the garden class every Tuesday and Saturday. I’m the fastest, so I’m always the first one there. I ask many questions and always help around because I love love love plants.

If we could, I would like to have more animals in the garden, like butterflies, birds, lizards, and beetles, so they can help the plants grow. I also want the garden to have more fruits and veggies so I can come and get them at any time when I’m hungry.

When I’m older, I want to have many, many dogs. I also want to have a room for myself, be a soccer player and have lots and lots of friends.