Have you ever wondered about a group you used to be a part of or how your co-workers were doing from a couple jobs ago? Africa Windmill Project's beginnings in 2007 seem like a long time ago. We started our first agriculture clubs in 2010 and walked alongside those farmers for 4 years. Earlier this month we were wondering how this first group of farmers were doing and just what they thought of Africa Windmill Project's program now that they had been on their own for almost 4 years.... The agriculture club was in Mziza and that first year of trainings there were a couple of farmers that immediately stood out as lead farmers in that community. Working alongside and watching these farmer's abilities and harvests grow was the fuel that ignited what today is impacting thousands of families.
One of these lead farmers, Japhet, doesn't live in Mziza anymore, but we tracked him down and he guided us to his new farm. A six acre farm near his wife's home village. he purchased the farm last year and had already made quite a remarkable homestead. When we first arrived in Mziza we saw one grass corn crib, now on Japhets new land he had three bins that were over half full. He had built (with fired bricks) a home for him, one for his older girls, one for his older boys, and one for his oldest married son. He had a garden full of tomatoes and was so excited to show us his gardens and explain to us his vision for his farm. He even has a good location picked out for when he is able to get a windmill! He told us that his neighbors had asked him where he got his money. He said to them "from you, you buy my food" and asked them if they wanted to learn how to farm like he did. As you can imagine Japhet is now training his neighbors. When we showed up he asked if there was any way we could get him some more of the rope and washer pumps so he could give them to his neighbors. He still has the one from his trainings and uses it when he is doing his dry season gardening. We were so encouraged by our visit with Japhet!
There were some other farmers that we visited. Mr. Storo, Mr. Mchenga and even some that had never been in the club, but had learned by watching and were now farming using irrigation and the sustainable agriculture practices. We were so encouraged to see that MZIZA IS FOOD SECURE and has been since the first dry season gardens in 2010!
It is wonderful to see these farmers independently food secure. They are self sustaining and enriching the lives of their communities as well as empowering others to become self sustaining as well.
It was a GREAT VISIT!