Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Volunteer Testimony: FBC Hurst Garden Project (September 2012)

In September, a team of four came from First Baptist Church (Hurst, TX) to conduct garden & water purification projects along the Mehanna Road. Having never done something like this before, we were a little timid of how it would go. This is not only a new concept to us but also to the Songhai who have been planting their gardens in the same manner for centuries. 

The basic idea of these garden kits is that you fill a 5 gallon container with water. The container is then connected to a drip house which is either planted underground or runs alongside the rows of crops. The water slowly leaks out throughout the day & the containers only need to be filled twice a day. The crops are consistently receiving water & the ground stays damp throughout the day, producing better crops.

The current way of gardening consists of retrieving water from the river with watering cans & dumping the water onto the crops. This version uses more water & more man power due to the multiple trips to the river throughout the day because the sun dries up the majority of the water before it can be soaked into the ground.

While we were skeptic that the Songhai would think we were looney with our contraption, they actually understood it! They watched from afar as the first kit was being assembled. They then were amazed as they saw how the containers were filled once &, hours later, the ground was still damp. They even said, "Our children can now work the gardens without messing up the crops!" 

The onlookers went from observing to learning how to put the kits together to doing it by themselves without any help! In a few villages, the Songhai decided to use these kits for the entire community. Instead of it being a personal garden, they decided to use them to create community gardens!

As seeds were being placed in the ground & these Songhai men & women were learning a new way to water & grow crops, seeds of Life were also being placed in their hearts. We pray they will learn a new way to water & grow what has been planted in their hearts & minds.

"I was moved when the water begin to flow out in droplets onto the ground at exact place and they saw how this could benefit them on an ongoing basis to help grow food. They would dig with their fingers into the soil and see what was happening; they knew that water is life. I have a new and much more appreciation for the believers on the road and what a challenge it is to remain faithful in the face of opposition and even families turning their backs. I was moved to challenge my own faith to be bolder where it is so easy." - Ron R

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