The following report was written by an ITEC volunteer who has helped with our farming training. He had the opportunity to participate in his first international training just last month.
We recently returned from our week of conservation farming training in east Africa, and I am eager to share our experience with you. As I write I am fighting off jet lag, having navigated restricted travel with two negative COVID tests and 33-hours of mask-wearing on our return flights. During our stay, our hosts graciously allowed us to stay in their home.
We had about 15 African farmers who were small land holders, Christ followers, and barely able to eke out a living using traditional practices of burning crop residue and plowing with tractors. I enjoyed demonstrating how plowing destroys the integrity and structure of the soil, causing loss of topsoil and resulting in a degraded planting medium. They found a growing excitement as they learned new conservation practices that enriched the soil without expensive fertilizers. When we showed them a farm budget’s economic advantages of using compost, manure, mulching, and hand tools that yielded a significant profit rather than the typical vicious cycle of loss, loans, and despair, you could sense a palpable hope beginning to dawn.
Classroom instruction was supplemented by outdoor practicums in compost making and field preparation. It was especially gratifying for me to open the Bible with these brothers and sisters in Christ as we learned about principles of finance, stewardship, resourcefulness, and worshipping the Lord through the quality of our work.
Early Encouragement from the Training
The transfer of these tools and Biblical principles to others is one of the primary goals of ITEC, where indigenous Christ followers are given skills to express the love of Christ in practical ways. We received one encouraging photo this morning that one of the participants sent, showing how she is beginning to convert her maize field according to the conservation farming upon returning from the training! What an encouragement to us and a challenge to the other participants, who will keep in contact with each other through WhatsApp.
Our trip to West Africa planned for February has been postponed, due to the new, more stringent requirements of quarantine upon entering that country. Please pray that the increased incidence of COVID might be reversed there, so we can expand the training of trainers started last year.
To God be the glory!