Day four in was probably the busiest so far. By 8:20 sharp they were out the door, cramming in the Land Rover with Joseph at the wheel, and headed out to the first of what was supposed to be only two meetings with the various attorneys working with us to register the land bought in Kiburara. There had been a setback due to a lack of information being given, and Bart and Andrew were particularly anxious to resolve it as soon as possible, so work on the land could begin. Mary and Beatrice (our host’s wife) left us to shop for fabric for the vocational school while Andrew, Bart, and I (Cat) went to meet our first attorney. Everything was smooth sailing, even the hectic but ironically laid back traffic, until we met the second attorney where we ran into a few snares of the previous delay’s nature, resulting in two more appointments being made, and setting us back at least two and a half hours. Consigned to falling a few hours behind schedule, we sat down to lunch at a Chinese restaurant which sold a mixture of Ugandan and Indian food with some Chinese food on the side, and called Chris at Farming God’s Way to let him know our revised schedule. We had hoped to meet him at 3pm 80 kilometers away in Jinja so he could show us around the farm he oversees and tell us about the style of agriculture he and his organization implement. We ended up arriving at the farm past five. Chris met with us and took us around to various plots, educating us on how “Farming God’s Way” technique works. Although they are affiliated with Katie Davis and the Amazima program, and though she does her work there every Saturday, they are separate entities. Nonetheless, it was pretty cool being on her turf and seeing where she works. Chris, a “no nonsense” Canadian who’s lived in Uganda since the late 1990s, showed us the differences between the traditional forms of farming and the methods used by “Farming God’s Way”. Part of their ideology is that the earth responds and yields its best when it is treated the way in which God designed it to be treated. Therefore, their methods, including zero tilling, using natural mulch to protect the earth’s nutrients and prevent tilting of the land itself, proved to be far more effective at consistently producing better, healthier, denser crops than the traditional methods of farming. Chris proved to have a wealth of knowledge that he was most eager to share with us, and we tried to absorb as much of it as we could. He explained to us how much he wanted this knowledge to reach as many people as possible so that the land could be used more effectively and fruitfully, and so that farmers would honor the Lord through the work he gave them. His message made so much logical sense; it would have been hard to find a point of contention or significant flaw in it. Chris is a trainer of trainers, meaning he goes to different places in the Southern, Eastern, and Northern regions of Uganda to train enthusiastic and driven farmers to know how to better care for their land. Farming God’s Way depends on three aspects: spiritual, management, and technical. It’s not possible to only utilize one or two of these methods; like a 3-legged stool, if one leg falls, the whole structure can no longer stand. To farm the way God intended it to be, there must first be a personal relationship with God; managing and stewarding the earth well is a job God personally gave mankind at the very beginning. And finally, farming is an occupation that requires much forethought and not just brute force. There are technical sides to it that cannot be ignored, such as when to plant, how much to plant, where to plant, etc.. Combining these three aspects well produces a means of farming that is done the way God intended it to be. When measures of success came up, he made a comment that he would consider success to be when farmers are utilizing Farming God’s Way methods without knowing who the organization itself is.
Our team would be grateful for your prayers as we head off to Kiburara to begin the second phase of our work, for good productivity, that the Lord would bless these water tanks for the Alpha and Omega School, for Mary as she has persistent sinus difficulties, and that the remainder of the land registration would move smoothly and quickly, with no more unexpected hurdles or obstacles. Prayer for the continual overall health of the team would be very much appreciated as well.
We left just as the sun was setting and lightning storms were flashing across the sky. On our way out of Jinja we crossed over the River Nile. Although it was nighttime at that point, Joseph, our driver, took us to the origin of the Nile where we got to see the river of the Pharaohs’, from which Moses was delivered as a baby in a basket, and the river where God displayed his power by turning its waters to blood. Although it was pitch black, we could barely make out the water hustling past us over a wooden dam-like structure, and were able to take pictures thanks to a caretaker who became our spontaneous, stand-in tour guide. We didn’t get back to the Wingate Guesthouse until well past 11PM. Today we are heading to Kiburara, an 8 hour drive out of Kampala to finish setting up the rainwater collection systems and finalize our work with securing the land for the three businesses.
See you in Kiburara!
Hopefully as the team is interacting with a multitude of individuals each will learn from the other. What is working, what isn't.
No need to reinvent the wheel here. One concept that Katie's group has had with success is called "Farming God's Way". Using sustainable farming methods that are good for the environment they are able to dramatically increase yields with little disturbance to the soil. This concept has worked well the the landscape industry in our own country and can now be applied to farming.