Yard crew. Alexander is a recently graduated agromist who spent three month with
the crew last year as an intern. One of Alexander's main responsibilities is helping
provide follow up and monitoring for farmers who are trying out new techniques. A generous
donation from a PC(USA) church in Oregon made it possible for us to hire Alexander this year.
Fedlin Joseph (far left), one of the crew members, is providing technical assistance to
Solone Jn Etienne (far right), helping him with new ideas for producing vegetables and fruits.
I hope you don't mind if I take a break from the earthquake and focus on some of the details of the work of MPP's Road to Life Yard and Moringa project. Since Jenny, Keila and I returned to our work and lives here this past November, I have been trying to find ways that our work in the Road to Life Yard crew could become even more effective and more far-reaching. Some of the ideas I'm trying out are inspired by a book I found at a bookstore in Managua while Jenny and I were there waiting for the birth of our daughter, Keila. I'll share the exact title and the author in a future post, but the approximate title is "Flight of the Buffalo--Learning to let employees lead."
One of the things we've done as a crew is define what our big objective is. We may change it or adjust it based on our ongoing experiences, but as of now, we have defined our crew's job as finding ways so that every single family, in the respective communities where the crew members live, is producing food in their yard all year round. Our methodology is to learn new technics and technology. We learn (and help create) new technics and technology and then we share them with the families in our communities. This information that we share has three important aspects. 1) The technology can help rural families produce more food with less work, 2) The technology respects God's creation and helps recuperate its natural abundance and 3) The techniques, as much as possible, can be learned and applies by rural farmers using their own resources, without being dependent on outside funding.
This third aspect is essential if we are truly serious about our big objective. Ultimately there is no way that we can reach every single member of all of the communities represented if we are dependent on funding to help people acquire particular technology. Our goal has to be to find ways that people can do things themselves, with what they have available. Does this mean that all of the support so many of you are so generously providing is ultimately unnecessary? Not at all. What it means is that MPP and the Road to Life Yard crew is dedicated to using the funds you all provide in the most effective ways possible, particularly by providing training and follow up (monitoring). Training and monitoring are two aspects of our work which allow farmers to apply and adapt the ideas we help provide effectively and with significant results in their own, individual contexts.
In a nutshell, that's what we are about in the Road to Life Yard and Moringa project. It is what we have been doing for the last six years. The only change now is that we are defining what we want to happen more clearly and looking for the most effective ways to make it all happen. I hope to provide more details and examples in future postings.