“I’m fed up! I can’t stand this situation any more!” The complaining fellow is Mr Mooney, one of the most essential and unavoidable volunteers in the Community Garden – in Willie’s perspective. For this reason the boy is deeply and intimately worried for Mr Mooney’s dissatisfaction.
He is a kind and good-tempered seventy-years-old. The origins of his family are rooted in in the South of Italy, along the coast North of Bari, and nobody can cook cozze (mussels, ina wide range of fashions) better than his wife. He can also fix and repair almost everything. That’s the point which makes of Mr Mooney a person of interest whom Willie… ehm… the Community Garden, doesn’t want to loose for any reason.
“Mr Mooney,what’s the problem? Why are you so upset?”
“Have a look at this tomatoes!”
“Sure… what tomatoes?”
“That’s the point! The tomato plants are no more distinguishable from the weeds! This patch looks more like a savage jungle, it’s a shame, a shelter for mice and mosquitoes!”
“Mr Mooney, you’re right, how could it happen?”
“This patch was dug, shovelled and sowed two or three months ago by a guy… one of those volunteers who have taken part to just a couple of meetings, and then after those nobody’s got any news of him. He’s left this patch without any cure, without even asking to anybody to keep an eye on it, since he couldn’t do it by himself!”
“Mr Mooney, I guess you are wrong…” The voice of Rosemary rises in the middle of the discussion. She is quite an authority in the Community Garden, she is the president of the association which takes care of the surrounding urban green area, and promotes and hosts the Garden…
“OK, some volunteers don’t work regularly in the Community Garden…” Rosemary continues “But we mustn’t forget the principles under the idea of Community Garden… do you understand?”
“OK, this is what I mean: due to the term definition of Community Garden, every participant must work together, do you remember? Therefore everyone have to contribute to the care of all the garden.”
Willie stands thoughtful, trying to find a solution to the dispute. He is the coordinator of the Garden, it’s his responsibility to manage some small and big problems surging in the group, after all… that’s the key point! Responsibility…
“I think…” Willie says “That we could keep in our mind a simple word, which will turn very useful in the future: responsibility. So… we are here to work together, to rule in a democratic environment an area, whose property is public. Am I right?”
“Responsibility, democracy, public property… it’s quite clear, go on…”
“Well, in my opinion is not in contrast to the (sacred…) principles of the Community Garden, that anybody sowing a patch, or planting a tree, may be responsible of the work that he – or she – has begun. Responsibility doesn’t mean property… but just that every volunteer must be personally involved in his work and his actions…”
“It might work…” says Mr Mooney.
“It makes sense…” Irene intervenes.
“It’s completely in contrast to the principles of the Community Garden!” is Rosemary’s judgement.
“Isn’t the purpose of the Community Garden also to teach and spread among the volunteers some rules of civil living together?”
“OK, but I’m afraid it turned out to keep each volunteer separated in his patch, and cut off the communication between them! I am contrary, the word responsibility can’t be used in the Community Garden.”
Willie falls in discomfort, and looks for some consolation into Irene’s eyes. He’s worried about his incapability of staying in his coordination role. He’s afraid that people don’t trust him, that the volunteers don’t follow his advice, and finally that he can’t be a good leader. Suddenly something jumps back in his mind, as an unexpected revelation, an accidental notification – a Whattsapp text… He looks at Irene and says:
“Irene… do you remember that old zithar we’ve found here in the Garden some months ago? …where is it?”