May 08, 2014

Marty Earnest was one of the team members that came from West Monroe Louisiana, Assembly of God. He is an amazing farmer with a stellar reputation.

Marty came and planted a "Machamba" - our first food garden. He taught how to plant and brought a vast array of seed varieties like they have never seen or heard of before. As we begin our harvest, they are hesitant to try the new.


Shortly after Marty taught them to plant we returned the team to South Africa and our return to Chibuto was delayed because of car problems. With calls and conversations we found that the plants had grown and the workers and community were surprised and excited at the swift growth. A couple of weeks later, we returned to find half of the plants had died because they did not understand that they needed to be watered every day.

It is in these moments, I am reminded, the basic principles we are raised to know, the intrinsic knowledge you are raised with, they are not. One may respond curtly, how stupid they didn't know to water. If you would take a moment to understand their perspective, no one has ever taught them. From a culture that has to walk a long distance to a river to get a bucket of water to carry back on their heads, water is precious. They thought water in the ground was a waste of water, not nurturing a life. So many lessons to be learned in just these simple gardening principles. With a swift replanting and watering, the Lord blessed them and they grew and flourished. We found even the young helpers interested in these new foods.

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As we watered them daily, every day of the week, the men gathered to see what was growing, the woman wandered by in admiration and the children came to see.

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Taking advantage of this opportunity, we teach them how to water and why, teach them how to tend to the garden, removing the weeds and the bad plants that will steal the water and nutrients from the food that we have planted.


Many of the plants have already begun to fruit and we had our first harvest of Mung Beans (a new bean to them, that is tasty, quick cooking and a great compliment to cabbages and kale). This bean is extremely different to the dried butter beans they are used to. We had a small harvest of Kale and Parsnips as well and made a beautiful stew we called the Mozambican medley. They were hesitant to try them and made me taste them first to make sure I was not joking with them.

This area grows Mandioka (Cassava or Yucca root), some round cabbage heads and round, green squash (they eat mostly the leaves and blossoms before the plant can ever fruit). They import yellow onions, roma tomatoes and green leaf lettuce from South Africa. In some seasons they do get some small green peppers and cucumbers (that have a distinctive chemical taste). The greens they tend towards in their diets are plant leaves. For example, the leaves from the squash plant, leaves from the Mandioka plant and leaves from the bean plants. Introducing these new varieties that are fast growing and quickly ripening are expanding their minds. One of the tomato plants is an Oxheart. These tomatoes are quite large and meaty. As some of the men gathered around to look at the plants they noticed many of the green oxheart tomatoes growing and they marveled at the size. One speaking in authority, proclaimed, yes, this plant is quite special. :) Because the size of the tomato was huge! (Compared to their average roma tomato).

What a fun variety of flavors that they have not experienced in this place. Opening them up to greater flavors, abundant living, a thriving and flourishing life...And this is just the beginning!

Category: Center of Hope

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