Godence: How ORIS Helped Improve My English Speaking Skills

Godence Ndabumvirubusa

Godence: How ORIS Helped Improve My English Speaking Skills

Godence Ndabumvirubusa, a seasoned farmer who began tilling the earth at the age of 10 in her native Rwanda, credits ORIS for the remarkable improvement in her English-speaking abilities since joining Fresh Start Farms. Her journey in the U.S. has not only enriched her farming skills but has also broadened her horizons as a vendor, fostering interactions with fellow vendors, predominantly native to the U.S.

Arriving in America as a refugee from Tanzania in 2007, Godence explored various employment avenues before discovering Fresh Start Farms and ORIS, an organization dedicated to empowering immigrants and refugees to showcase their agricultural expertise. Since then, she has remained committed to seizing every opportunity they provide.

Reflecting on her early farming experiences with her parents, Godence reminisces about the joy of watching crops flourish and the satisfaction of contributing to her household’s needs. Her repertoire included cultivating potatoes, beans, corn, and assorted vegetables—a passion she never imagined she could continue thousands of miles away from her homeland.

Climate change poses significant challenges to Godence’s farming endeavors, with erratic weather patterns wreaking havoc on her crops. To mitigate these challenges, ORIS and the NRCS assisted her in acquiring a high tunnel at the Concord farm, enabling her to extend the growing season and safeguard her produce from adverse weather conditions.

“The high tunnel has been a game-changer for me,” Godence affirms. “It enables me to commence farming earlier and shields my crops from excessive rain and scorching sun.”

Along with approximately 40 fellow farmers, Godence typically commences farming activities from mid-May until the end of September, contingent upon weather conditions. However, inadequate market access remains a significant hurdle, dampening her enthusiasm.

“Despite our best efforts, the inability to sell all our vegetables can be disheartening,” Godence admits. “But we remain hopeful, knowing that ORIS is diligently working to expand our market opportunities.”

ORIS has forged partnerships with numerous wholesalers and has enlisted Godence and other farmers in over 35 farmers’ markets across New England, with ongoing efforts to identify new avenues for sales and satisfaction.

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