The President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Loraine N Mellor and the Vice-President, Jill Baker, blog about their year of office which began on 24 June 2017. Read about the places they visit, the people they meet and the issues that concern them.
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Grace in Cameroon
Agriculture is vital in Cameroon. In rural
areas it seems that everyone grows crops in order to feed their family and also
to get enough income to live and to send the children to school. Men and women
farm, the women concentrating on food to feed the family and them men
concentrating on cash crops. MRDF has been partnering YDC who have been working
with youth and with women, helping them to improve their agricultural skills
and so increase their crop yield. They also train them to rear pigs or poultry
and even cane rats, a bush animal.
Groups of people are formed and they work
together on demonstration farms, here they can learn new techniques, experiment
with different crops and then apply their learning on their own farms. We
visited such a group on Saturday and went with them to their group farm, up in
the hills, it was a muddy but beautiful walk through the abundant green
vegetation that is a feature of this part of Cameroon in the rainy season.
The group on their farm
It was on the farm that I met and talked
with Grace ad she gave me permission to share her story.
Ruth, Grace, Mirabelle and Maurice Adams (Director of MRDF)
Grace is a widow and she has 4 children,
her eldest daughter is 25 and her youngest child is still at school. Grace has
her own farm on the hillside but a long way from the village and from the only
source of water. If she collects water, Grace has to carry it for 3 kilometres
and in the dry season (when water is most needed) that is hard and hot work
which has to be done twice a day. So Grace has dug a water pit. She has dug it
deep and lined it with plastic and it is collecting rainwater ready to be used
in the dry season. Grace has done all the work herself, she showed me the
blisters on her hands but, she said, it is worth it because she can now use a
spray to water her garden. ‘Will you have enough for the whole dry season’ I
asked. She hopes so.
Grace grows tomatoes on her land and also
cassava. Cassava is an essential food in Cameroom and can be eaten in many
ways. One of the most popular is to grind it (usually by hand) and cook it with
palm oil to make garri which is used to make paste or mixed with oats or other
Grace has paid for her children to attend
school but only until they were 13, she couldn’t afford to support them in
education any longer. She attends the Presbyterian church and told me that her
faith is very important to her.
Grace looking at the view from the farm
Like all those we have met, Grace was not
complaining, she was hoping that with God’s help her farm would continue to
develop. And Grace is a skilled farmer, her enthusiasm and determination shone
from her. Her smile was so welcoming that she drew you to her for conversation
and from her I received grace.
Please pray for Grace and the other women and
men who are working to improve theirfarms in Cameroon.