zondag 13 december 2015

Planting season

After a lot of very warm days the raining season finally arrived. The hunger is so bad at the moment that most of my families have no food and no seeds to plant that is why I decided to use a part of the money given for the famine to use for seeds and manure. We want our families to be sustainable, if we not invest in seeds they will need food assistance again next year. The last two weeks I have been visiting family after family. With all of them I discussed what would be the best plan for their piece of land. Some pieces are more fertile as others so it is important to choose the right crop for the right piece of land. Most of the families only have a small land so I rented a lot of extra pieces to make sure they can feed their families themselves after harvest. In the heat of the sun we looked for available pieces, measured them and negotiated about the price. All families are going to plant maize, beans, soya and sorghum. The maize they use to make nsima. Beans are very nutritious which they use to eat with the nsima. The soya mixed with maize makes a healthy phala for children. The sorghum will be used to make tobwa (a local drink) which the women will sell at the market to generate some income.
I love spending time with my families in the villages but at the moment it is also very difficult. Currently they only eat once a day. Every day the women look for available work. The work which is available is hard and exhausting and most of the time done on an empty stomach. I provide maize but they still need to work to find money for vegetables to eat with the nsima. Meat, fish and egg are too expensive. The circumstances these families and children have to grow up in are unfair and difficult to understand. I always heard about famines in the world but it is hard to believe what it exactly is till you see it yourself. The last two weeks I have seen so many children crying for food. I found sick mothers and children in the villages which couldn’t go to the hospital because they have no money to pay the bill. I found grandmothers crying in their small huts because they know without help for her and her grandchildren they will not survive till next harvest.
So beside the seeds, I supplied more food, brought people to the hospital, bought materials to make their small huts water proof for the raining season and prayed with them. The only person who knows what will happen in the next few months is God and we must trust him how difficult that is sometimes.
To experience how much work farming really is I hired my own piece of land this year. Saturday morning 5 o’clock I went planting. (The land was already prepared). I asked some Malawians to help me and together with 3 friends from the Netherlands we planted 4 hours in the burning sun. I was exhausted and even have more respect for the people here now. We are waiting for the seeds to germinate and when the little plants are coming out of the ground it is time for weeding. I’m already looking forward to weed my 1 acre field!

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