Since our arrival, we noticed that the local people are planting quite a bit of maize, but that their yields are poor and the cobs small. We are all schooled in the “Farming-God’s-Way” and plant a large portion of land under maize. We are trying to expose the local people to alternative ways of planting, but the local cultural world perspective, is destructive to development. As issue that we can only address through relationship and trust, and our focus is continually to build relationship.
The community keep going back to their cultural practices with very poor advice from the “witch doctors” even on planting maize, belief it or not.
Our current approach is to establish testimonies of improved growth by using the same tools, they are using, but with quality seed, manure and the “Farming-God’s-Way” principles.
Needless to say, the proof is undeniable. This is giving us legitimacy to address destructive cultural practices.
Measured on Google Earth, the surrounding communities are planting about 1000 hectares of maize by hand and we hope to see improved yields as we are influencing more and more people to improved planting techniques.
Principles we learned:
Start where the people are and slowly introduce them into the new. If a community is used to plant maize, start there and slowly introduce other more economical activities.
Suspicious people embrace a real-life testimony easier than training.
To be allowed to speak into people’s culture and lifestyle, you will need to build a trust relationship by serving people and being true to your word.