OUSAME WILLANE

The Fruits of His Labors


Ousame Willane’s heart is as big as his village. Ousame was a peanut farmer in Keur Lay Lobe, Senegal. When his uncle passed away he folded their two families together, toiling in his field to feed 25 people from a single peanut crop that produced only $400 a year. The struggle to grow life out of bare, dying land ended four years ago when Ousame turned to the forest garden.

Ousame can now provide his family not only with an income for their future, but also with vitamin-rich fruits and a diversity of other nutritious food.

In collaboration with the US Peace Corps, our partner Trees for the Future has planted tens of thousands of cash crop trees in forest gardens around Senegal, training farmers like Ousame for ongoing cashew tree management. No longer a peanut farmer with few options, Ousame now grows jujube, cashews, mangoes, and a wide variety of citrus trees. He planted gardens of beans and hot peppers among the trees, and has small plots of peanuts, millet, and maize. Last year he made $1,100 from that same old peanut field! With the proceeds from his diversified forest garden he purchased a horse and cart to transport products to market as well as two new sheep. Ousame can now provide his family not only with an income for their future, but also with vitamin-rich fruits and a diversity of other nutritious food.

Ousame serves as a lead farmer for Trees for the Future and the Peace Corps’ training program, using his citrus trees as a source of cuttings for his neighbors and teaching them to graft high-value, delicious fruit trees like mandarin, lime, orange, mango, and grapefruit. Why volunteer for two organizations while managing a farm and feeding a family of 25? Because his forest garden is both permanent and life-changing, big-hearted Ousame wants everyone in his community to grow one and to share in his family’s brighter future.