Practicing what they preach
Couple turns bush into a magic haven
Turning left at the Rasesa junction along A1, one cannot miss a signboard written Rustic Rainbow Farms.
But what a first time visitor to this place can never imagine is that the dusty road to this farm leads to a mini haven tucked amongst various indigenous trees and offering a relaxed ambience.
Owned by Mogapi (63) and Ellen Madisa (50), the place is an ideal retreat for those who want to get away from the bustle and hustle of the city to a relaxed, quiet atmosphere.
And not only that, Rustic Rainbow Farms which sits on 33 hectares is home to a booming nursery which offers a wide variety of flowers, plants and fruit trees for those who appreciate and love gardening.
On the animal kingdom there are goats, cattle and pigs while under poultry the place is home to free range turkeys, peacocks and chickens which can even be fed with black fly larvae for chickens.
But perhaps what is even more interesting about the Rustic Rainbow Farm story is that it is a place owned by a man who is practicing what he preaches and a wife who talks money and the economy as a career but quick to change to her gumboots when she gets home.
Mogapi is a lecturer at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN), teaching horticulture, fruit and vegetable production, plant propagation as well as landscaping.
Ellen on the other hand is an economist with the Ministry of Finance.
In a recent interview, at their well manicured, lush garden overlooking the nursery and the vast yard dominated by indigenous trees, the couple spoke of their love for gardening, farming, nature and preserving the environment.
“We are at peace when we are here, Rustic Rainbow Farms may not have reached its peak yet but we are happy with what we have done so far, slowly but surely we will get there,” says Mogapi.
The farm is still work in progress as the couple is developing it into a place that can fully cater for various events and gatherings such as weddings, workshops and family outings.
A double storey changing room with a balcony and a stunning view is the latest addition to the ever-changing paradise.
“We have had weddings and other gatherings before but we still want to develop the place so we can give our clients a complete package. We want people to think of Rustic Rainbow Farms when they think of a getaway, which is closer to the city. We want them to come and create memories here,” says Ellen adding that she always looks forward to spending time at their dream home.
“When we bought this place, we just wanted to build our retirement home and expand our nursery but one thing has led to another resulting in Rustic Rainbow Farms expanding to become a safe haven,” adds Ellen.
And it actually does not come as a surprise that the place has turned out the way it has because for Mogapi, its simple translating theory into practical.
“Landscaping is my passion, in fact I just love working with the soil and plants and bringing a place into life,” he says.
“The best thing is that both of us love being here and doing what we do. We are passionate about this place and have bigger dreams of turning it into a commercial entity so that it sustains itself. Finance might be a challenge but the good thing is that we are not in debt as we have developed the farm from our earnings. We also cut on expenditure by buying second hand things and building material from auctions,” adds Mogapi.
What the couple has also grown to appreciate about their farm over the years is that they have cut down on food expenses.
“I don’t know the prices of maize meal and beef because we don’t buy that. It all comes from here,” says Ellen with Mogapi chipping in to add, “it’s only a matter of time before we start growing vegetables and not only your usual spinach but vegetables that are rarely grown here like lettuce and others.”
But while they are at peace at the Rustic Rainbow Farms, what about their children, do they also enjoy being far away from the city like their parents?
“Our grandchildren love it here and they always spend the holidays with us. Their parents also regularly come over especially when it’s hot, they like swimming and having a swimming pool was strategic, it’s a pulling factor,” says Ellen as she laughs in unison with Mogapi.