Trip to Kenya
Description: The week of February 26th-28th I traveled to Homa Bay, Kenya to teach an organization about the practices of Farming God’s Way. There is a non profit organization, Spring of Hope International, working on development projects within this county that wanted to start a program focusing more on agriculture. The purpose of teaching more on agriculture is to show locals how to better care for their soil to be more productive with the crops they grow. I came about traveling to Homa Bay through the FGW training in August where i met Stephen from Washington, who travels there as well, and David from Kenya who leads the non profit organization.
Trip to Kenya
Description: If I remember correctly, I think my wife told my son-in-law, “Miguel, if you go, I will go.” That was the beginning of my favorite AgriStewards trip to date. What pure joy to work alongside my whole family in Kenya, watching God use each of their gifts and talents to build up the Kingdom.
Rainy season started early this year, which made transportation a challenge at times. In addition to continuing to increase production at the farm, we had several other tasks to complete. Jennifer, Mariah, and Aaron spent time in the medical clinic. Luke, Brenden, and Marisa worked with one classroom at a time on some team building initiatives with a spiritual lesson. Pete and Miguel worked with the worship leaders. Jeff and Jon worked on getting the tractor and a water pump operational again. God used each one in their area of giftedness. We saw many smiles and heard an abundance of laughter. We are very impressed with the work of Missions of Hope and the transformation they are bringing to the Mathare Valley and beyond.
Trip to Kenya
Description: Joska has a special place in my heart. It was the first project we, as Agristewards, were invited to go look at and see if we could help. We have experienced several ups and downs over the last six years. This past year the farm experienced challenges from a drought and challenges with the well to provide irrigation. However, through the challenges, the workers persevered. They saw bumper crops of spinach, kale, tomatoes, watermelon, and onions! Cosmas, John, and Elihud fully grasp the techniques of Farming God’s Way and saw the benefit of God’s blanket (mulch) by the protection it
provided when water was scarce.
Description: Our time was short, but we got a lot accomplished. Our biggest project was re-plumbing a large garden area. The plumbing was all intermixed and they were unable to water smaller sections on a rotating basis. The garden was already subdivided in four sections. We bought some T’s and valves and got to work.
One item we brought over was a hand crank corn sheller. Amazingly enough, I would guess that 95% of the corn is still picked and shelled by hand in Africa. You wouldn’t believe the excitement we created when we demonstrated that you could shell corn with such a simple device.
Our final project in Arusha was helping BUV Tanzania add a planter to their lineup. We adapted a Yetter 71 single row unit to a 2” tube to slide into a receiver. The Tanzanian guys at the shop were eager to help reassemble it and give it a trial run behind the shop!It will be interesting to see where all this leads!
Testimonials: David Kayando
Our village has truly benefitted from AgriStewards and the Farming God’s Way program. Now we see a future of being able to provide food for our families as well as additional income. This will improve the way of life for our whole village.
Trip to Joska Farms – Kenya
Description: My trip to Kenya started a week earlier than the rest of the teams. I invited five men I had been working with to join me at the ECHO conference in Machakos, Kenya. I am embarrassed to admit that when I first read it was a “Pastorist” conference, I assumed it meant pastors who were farmers. Well, upon reading some of the topics of discussion, I soon realized it was the men who looked after cattle, goats, and sheep; we might call them a herdsman.
There are 42 tribes in Kenya. Three are still very active pastorists– the Masai, Pakot, and Turkana. Two of the men I invited through James Sinkra were Jacob Kutingala and Samuel Mugar, both from the Masai near Narok. The conference was very eye opening to me about the struggles of these tribes. They are very much in need of moving frequently to find rains and green grass. Something that is becoming more and more difficult to do as development comes to Kenya. Farmers from other tribes get upset as herds pass through their fields grazing on their crops.
Trip to Kenya
Description: Imagine my delight when I learned Kager Village had been given the nickname “Little Kitali”. It seems the most productive agriculture land in Kenya is located around the city of Kitali, the “bread basket” of Kenya. I was told Kager Village had put into practice some of the teachings of Faming God’s Way and had seen their corn production go from two to three 90kg sacks per acre to ten to twelve 90kg sacks per acre! Now, when food runs out, the surrounding villages come to Kager to buy food and have given them the name “Little Kitali”. So, when twenty farmers gathered for further Farming God’s Way training I asked them what they believed led to the improvements. Some of their answers included that they: 1- Worked harder at planting on time to get the full blessing of God’s rain. 2- Spaced their corn further apart for less competition of nutrients and water. 3- Introduced the use of mulch (God’s Blanket) in their vegetable production. 4- Learned how important it was to place manure / compost in the root zone below the seed versus broadcasting.
The second leg of our trip led us to an area just south of Narok. The name of the tribe in this area is called the Masai. For centuries the Masai have been known as herdsmen and they are very proud of their cattle and goats. The region they live in typically only produces one crop a year due to limited rainfall. They have begun to clear some land and have started farming.
Trip to Kenya/Tanzania
Description: Many of these farmers work in very remote locations and try to save seed back from year to year to replant.As far as African nations go, Kenya is very advanced in developing and promoting hybrid seeds. However, the majority of subsistence farmers have never learned the difference between these seeds.
To help the community find better resources James and I went and visited a couple of agricultural stores in Narok to locate open pollinated seeds and nitrogen sources such as urea or ammonia sulfate. The shop owners had no idea what we were looking for or what we were talking about, amazing!
Trip to Joska Farms – Kenya
Description: We were at Joska for the month of August and the plan was to seed a cover crop instead of kale, spinach, and beans and let the rains melt down the concrete like soil conditions. We believe the traffic of the roaming cow herds during the rainy season combined with the sun baking the uncovered ground during the dry season created these difficult conditions.
On our way out of Nairobi we had a meeting with Keith Hamm of CMF and the founders of Missions of Hope International Wallace and Mary Kamau. We had asked for a spreadsheet identifying what the twelve schools associated with the Mathare Valley project were currently purchasing for the nearly 8,000 students and staff on a monthly basis.
Agri-Stewards is looking for both corporate and individual partners to help move this project to the next level. If you would like to learn more you can contact Brian Smith at [email protected]
Testimonials: Wallace Kamau
Brian has been very instrumental in our Agri-business
initiative through the AgriStewards non-profit organization and has partnered with us in different ways. It is a big blessing working with Brian Smith and we look forward to even greater things that God will enable us to do together.