Roelof’s future

Born in one of the poorest regions of Africa, this is the latest addition to the Mateso and Moseka family. He looks frightened. What kind of future awaits him? He was a chubby baby but has grown into a lean toddler of almost one year, with such striking features. For daddy Mateso his birth was a special occurrence: ”This is my first child who will be raised with the 4 Pillar method. He will only know about the heavy labour of ploughing and digging from stories. He will enjoy all the benefits of my experience with the new farming method. My wife and I called him Roelof.”

Mateso and Moseka are optimistic about the future. Materso says: ”We could not study. There was never money. The profits of the land from our parents were low. Even finishing high school was not an option for us. Everything has changed and God has blessed me richly. We have learned that we can farm the land with significantly less work and produce a higher yield. We plan to send all the children to school. I just paid off a dowry, so all the money I earn from farming can be used for education.”

I love having a namesake so close by. I try to make Roelof laugh, though unsuccessfully. Perhaps in a year we can kick a ball around together. Which profession do you think Roelof will choose when he is older? According to Moseka it is a smart child. He says: ”I hope he will be a doctor. I would be so proud.” ”No agricultural engineer?” I suggest ”Eh … haha”

I had a chat with one of the older sons, Azugai. He is not a big conversationalist, especially not with an older white chap. Me: ”Hey dude, any thoughts on the 4 Pillar method?” Azugai: ”Its pretty cool actually, less sweat and more profit.” Me: ”You will probably study agriculture?” Azugai has different plans. ”I want to become a car mechanic, the best in the world.” Fine by me, our car was out of action for 6 months, we would welcome an excellent car mechanic in Lanza.

Mateso is one of the few people who embraced the 4 Pillar method immediately. Most farmers need to warm to it since it is all new and a lot of training and changes are required. But there was a small group of families who had no hesitation. Remke and I were surprised by them. It was as if they could not wait to ditch their ancestors’ entire faming systems. This group has already been using the 4 Pillar methods on their fields for six seasons. We know each of them and they are our best instructors.

Um… all the money towards education? Mateso is now driving around on a shiny new moped. “Well, some things just have priority.”