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 cereals.

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.


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