September has been a busy month. We returned from our successful training trip to Zimbabwe with lots of ideas and plenty of encouragement from our new friends at the Foundations for Farming training center. Our car made the journey with no trouble even with the large load of supplies and equipment we were bringing back. We had just three short days in Beira before we were off again to the farm in Gogoi to hold a conservation agriculture training seminar and set up the training field. Nothing like living out of a suitcase for a month!
We arrived in Gogoi welcomed by our friends and the workers building our new home there. It is exciting to see the progress they have made so far! We also had some not so welcome guests. . . mice! After Kim chased them out and we cleaned things up, we were able to settle in for our next two weeks in Gogoi. We had the weekend to prepare the site for the training field, which is in a good location between the church and the nearby primary school. It is important for it to be very visible to the community so they can see the process. By the end of the second week we already had a lot of the children, teachers, and community members stopping by to ask questions.
Our friend and co-worker, Pastor Edmore, arrived on Saturday evening on his shiny new motorcycle to help with the upcoming training. I teased him about when he would let me ride it, but I don’t think that will ever happen. He waited a long time to receive it and is, rightfully, quite protective of it. On Sunday we had a special service and a blessing ceremony for the training field. The next day we began the training seminar. We had ten people attend from the nearby community and very good participation. The visuals and film we showed seemed to help with understanding. The main focus of the program is learning to be a good steward of the resources God has given us, including the soil. It teaches how to put good things into the soil to keep it healthy and provide greater production as well as keeping organized and working with a high standard; all good lessons for all aspects of life.
Pastor Edmore left to return to Machaze and his many agriculture and church projects there on Thursday. We are still trying to find a time to visit him and have a chance to report on all he and his church have been able to do in their community with support from Global Ministries. He is very keen to express his gratitude and to be able to show what they have accomplished in Machaze. The rest of our time in Gogoi this trip was spent building a fence around the field to keep the goats out. Since we had moved the fence for the school we were also responsible for replacing that section as well. It ended up just being incorporated into the edge of our field fence. Some days I felt like I ended up with more of the dirt I was digging on me than anywhere else. It was hot and dirty work, but well worth it. The fence is nearly complete and will be finished on our next trip.
During this trip I also celebrated my 35th birthday. Lots of people asked me what we did to celebrate, but it was really more about what I didn’t do that made it nice. . . no post holes were dug on that day! We had worked hard the day before and were able to finish the fence so we could just relax on my birthday. There really isn’t much else to do in Gogoi. We were surprised by an invitation to dinner by our friend Mae B that night which ended our trip nicely. The next day we had to return to Beira to sort out some housing issues. We will be in Beira for the month of October and back in Gogoi early in November to plant the seeds in the training field. Hopefully the rains will have begun by then.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
Kim and Erik Free serve with the United Church of Christ in Mozambique. Their appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.