The training took place at the Aunt Elvi Mikkola Primary school. The school was started about ten years ago by Wesley, focusing on meeting the needs of needy families in that community.
Thanks to the generous donation of Classrooms For Africa, they have been able to build a new classroom block for the children.
When the training began, we expected about 30-40 people from the community, but were surprised to see over 140 attend on the first day.
After laying out the garden they were taught how to square up a garden
Most Ugandans know how to dig, but here participants are being taught how to dig holes for maize with precision. The spacing across and down the field is crucial – 60 cm by 75 cm.
Learning how to make furrows for beans. Notice the patterns beginning to develop in the garden. We teach how to do crop rotations - two thirds of the garden is planted with a cereal crop such as maize. One third is planting with a legume, as in this case beans.
On the second day we had a guest speaker, Evelyn, who was also from Rukingiri, but had taken the FGW training in Kenya a few years ago. She enthusiastically shared how FGW had made a difference in her gardens. This definitely had an impact on the participants – hearing a testimony from a local ‘girl’ on how FGW had impacted her. After discussing some of the more technical aspects of FGW, we went back out to the well-watered garden.
Learning to apply organic fertilizer to the maize planting stations – one cup per hole
Then learning to apply inorganic fertilizer – one tablespoon across the width of the hole
Applying organic fertilizer to the rows of beans
Here a lady is learning the planting depth for maize seeds. The fertilizer needs to be covered with soil before planting the seeds.
Once the seeds were covered with soil, we simulated the rain (the training was done in the dry season) by pouring water over the planting stations with a watering can. I then witnessed something I’ve never seen before in a workshop – people breaking out in spontaneous praise and thanksgiving to God for the rain – a song in their local dialect that is sung when God sends the rain. Amazingly it started to rain that night!
We then planted maize
…and bean seeds
After covering the seeds with soil, everyone pitched in and covered the field with a blanket of mulch, “God’s blanket”
Here’s a field planted to a high standard that reflects the glory of God!
It was very encouraging to see the excitement of many of the participants grow as the workshop progressed – many of them saying this was such good timing to learn this way of farming before the rains come. Many of the participants can barely pay for school fees, medical emergencies, etc. I look forward to visiting them again in a few weeks and see how FGW is starting to make a difference in their lives.