We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Bean Bounty of the Harvest

The word "harvest" evokes thoughts of bountiful plenty, thanksgiving and grace. And the word seems all the richer to us now that we are more tangibly involved in the process! We shared its richness this Sunday with Amon and his very pregnant wife and young Anna. We enjoyed the fruit of the bean harvest with them!
The Bean Harvest
We arrived in Kayenze in time for the church service after an extremely bumpy and rather longer journey on the deteriorated dirt road! With ominous black clouds in the sky there were only about eight other adults there. As we sang, darkness descended like night in the small church building, and then in the dim light we heard the waves crash on the lake close by and then the rain beat down on the tin roof. It didn't last very long and then after the rain, more people trickled in.

After Tim's preaching and the end of the service, we went to visit and pray with baby Meekness (just a month old) and her Mama at their house.
Louisa with Baby Meekness
Then we went to Pastor Amon's house for lunch and to see how the crops were doing. The beans had just been harvested and Amon was thrilled with the 10kg result from the less than 1/2kg of seeds that we planted using the new conservation agriculture methods. After planting with us, he had gone on to plant more seeds himself, but doubting (understandably) what we were trying, he did it in his usual way and as is common, he did it too late. He lost all of it. Every bean. There was no harvest at all. So he was even more thankful for the harvest of the small patch we did together and all the more convinced now about using the new techniques next time!
Celebrating the harvest: Peter (L), our agricultural trainer and Pastor Amon (R)
Mama cooking our beans and rice for lunch

We went to look at the maize, which will be ready to harvest soon. Amon showed us the maize that we planted together in October with compost and mulch, now tall and green and yielding good fruit. And then we saw the less tall, less green stalks yielding smaller fruit in the area that Amon planted himself without mulch and some without compost too. Amazing to see the difference so clearly and convincingly!

It is not without problems ... the birds did get some and we do have a bit of a problem with stalkborers which can be due to overuse and poor use of the land. But we talked about planting lots of jackbean seeds and other varieties of beans (as well as trees and live fences) this year to concentrate on replenishing the soil. It will take time, but it is great to be working with Amon, and seeing him catch the vision of how this will help his community is exciting!

Maize looking good
This maize not looking so good!
Realising that this maize is much shorter due to being under the great mango tree!
We are planning for a seminar in February teaching on agriculture and health and out of that and meetings with the village leaders, hope to get a group of 10-15 farmers together in this village for the next season of planting and training.

Harvest Grace
The saying goes
"An ocean never dries up,"
But we know your grace also never fails.
This food you have given us
Is one more proof.
Dear Lord,
Your grace is our happiness.
Hallelujah! Amen.

From Table Prayers - a prayer from Africa

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