We entered this year with fresh energy. Last year, we started the work of the 4 Pillars on a small scale in order to examine several uncertainties, together with the residents of Lanza. Some of those were; which green manure works best with which crop, what are the best time to sow and how would the poorest farmers pick up the new techniques. We now have the most important questions answered.
It is therefore time to gradually begin expanding more widely. We received requests in the towns of Faradje, Aba and Todro within the district of Faradje. These are all places with a large CECA church present and within 200km of Lanza. Since we’re in the dry season the roads are not too bad, so it is time to travel. Mid-January we made a tour through the above-named places. Apart from a problem with the breaks, which was solved, the journey was a great success.
It was very special to return to our previous hometown, Todro, after a year and meet with old friends. This time we were there for two nights and had more time to spend with people. We also had time to hike up the Todro mountain, which we did so many times when we lived here.
There was a lot of interest for our workshop in all three places. We were accompanied by two trainers in training: Mateso and Elisa. Each time we gave them a little more ownership over the presentations, providing feedback at the end. It was incredible how quickly they picked it up and how well they processed the feedback.
Every workshop concludes with a practical demonstration, followed by a planning meeting to determine groups and designated contacts for each group who Mateso and Elisa will follow up with. When the groups have been sufficiently trained, the contact will inform us, and Mateso and Elisa will return to the area to examine the group’s skills. If they pass, they can start to practise the first pillar: Sow without ploughing (no till).
The 4 Pillars are also spreading closer to home, in the adjacent council of Bovi which is 40 km away from us. There are already trained groups there who have received their first credit for crop protection at the start of the growth season. The credit has been paid back. They celebrated with a large party to which we were invited. The fact that groups of farmers can receive credit for this purpose and pay it off is ground-breaking and cause for hope that many more people can be supported in this way.
Yvonne from Bovi is very happy with the 4 Pillar method. We asked her to why she likes to practise the method. She is the breadwinner in a large family since her husband is often sick. She therefore organises the farm on her own and paying people to plough 1 hectare of land gets very expensive, very quickly. Consequently, she is left without enough income to sustain her family. With the new method she can easily manage 2 hectares on her own, whilst saving money on maintenance and sowing of her crops.
Mona is a practical instructor from the Lanza area who has already trained up two 4 Pillar groups. His first group received £120 credit for plant protection products which they paid off in full. Now his first group can receive the second credit and his second group is ready to receive the first credit. Mateso is in a similar situation, his first group repaid their first credit in form of rice, about 200kg.
This week we were invited to a village across the river. We travelled there by motorcycle and a canoe to cross the river. The children there had never seen white people and we were received with a lot of interest and handshakes.
This is how our work spreads and we are so pleased it is happening so successfully. There are many more requests waiting for us, nearby and further afield.
We are so thankful for your interest in our work and the way you express your support through emails, WhatsApp messages, financial donations and prayer. Your prayers have been very important, and we ask you to keep lifting our work up to God.
We thank God for:
Sufficient financial means for the 4 Pillar project
The spreading of the 4 Pillar method
The repayment from groups for their first credit
Our passports with visa’s which are waiting for us in Bunia!
Please pray for:
Wisdom in spreading the work
Enough and continuous devotion to the poorest families
Safety in all our travels