Burma refugees tend to church garden - FOX 13 News

Burma refugees tend to church garden

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The roots of this Hillsborough county garden run much deeper than you'd imagine.

"It is sort of a gathering place where they come to and meet each other," said Pastor Germain
Refugees of Burma tend to this land.

Many are experienced farmers.

They now put  their knowledge to use once again.

This is a process Pastor Joseph Germain of Global Refuge Community helped plant 3 years ago.

"I have seen them grow they've developed some of them have learned the language," he said.

Others are also learning their trade.

Students and professors from the University of South Florida are examining their practices.

"There is a lot of things that we Americans can learn about farming in tropical areas and pest control these things we can learn from the traditions of the Burmese," said Professor of anthropology Dr.Robbie Bear.

Master gardener Lah Ku and other refugees said the land brings them joy.

"It is important. He is trying to plant the vegetables the plants its useful for the medication little by little the children will understand about this," he said through a translator.

The garden's roots formed at Saint Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox church.

Father Berhanu Bekele offered the land after hearing stories of the Burmese.

Language can sometimes be difficult but a green thumb leads the way.

"To produce your own food is international language one way or another you can understand each other," he said.

The food grown is divided among the Burmese families.

Some is even sold.

They hope the garden can one day turn into a business, but for now its a place they can call their own.

"This is just as a human being its a great opportunity to touch somebody's life to touch others," said Father Bekele.

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