Great visit by Simon & Matthew

What a great time when Simon Kamau and Matthew Malual visited Congo in mid-August. During the Q & A part of the seminar on development that gave to CEUM leaders, Simon happened to share about the French beans on his farm this year. He started with 2 acres. When he harvested he took all the profits and poured it back into the farm and raised 4 acres. He did the same again and now has 11 acres of beans. When asked how he was able to do this he responded, “I’ve learned something very important. I’ve learned to be an expert save and not and expert spender.” Everyone chuckled, but his point was made.

Simon explaining something about development

As we traveled from Gemena to Loko we visited the Kanana experimental farm where they saw the process of drying mangosteens as a means of adding value and allowing the fruit to be more readily transported to market. At Loko we visited the ministries; the fish ponds, oil palm plantation, Garden of Eden, hospital, health zone office and technical services. Jean-Pierre Zuku, CEUM Coordinator of Development, accompanied them on the trip. He felt at times like he was in a continual oral jury as Matthew and Simon were asking many questions. Not just explain this that, but also why this and why not that and what is the sustainability of this project. Great questions and great discussions.

Zuku (L) showing a fruit to Matthew and Simon (R)

At Loko we were able to visit one of the associations which are key in the Farmers To Market project based at Loko. We visited their community garden where we saw how they have planted an improved variety of corn in rows. They are harvesting now the end of August and soon we should know what the production was relative to their normal crop. During discussion with the association members after the field visit Simon and Matthew again asked tough questions, particularly “what is the sustainability of the project, i.e. what will happen with the ideas once the project funds are gone?” For now the answer is not completely clear, but we do know that the farmers will have seed from their crop to plant again.

Zuku, 2nd from left, making a point during our field visit

Corn planted in rows on L, close-up of an ear in the middle and corn planted with the traditional spacing on the Right

Simon, the Chair of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya, and Matthew, the Projects Director for the Evangelical Covenant Church of S Sudan, were invited to attend the CEUM’s 75th Anniversary. As both of them work with projects and community development we invited them to come a week earlier to visit CEUM ministries. It was a powerful time of connection for leaders from the three churches.

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