Last week I (Chris) traveled about 400km west to beautiful Mbarara District. Mbarara is one of the Western parts of Uganda with beautiful rolling hills, large banana plantations tucked in valleys and on slopes between vast pasture land. The rolling hills and well-kept plantations are very enjoyable to drive through. The seminar was held in Mbarara Town, the District Headquarters for Mbarara District
The road between Kampala and Mbarara town is under major construction with the old road being ripped up and a new and wider foundation and road being laid. The end result is a much nicer road in the finished sections but a lot of dust, mud and bumps in between the black smooth finished portions. We don't have the maintenance culture here in Uganda, so instead of putting in money on a lower but more consistent level into road maintenance the country waits until the road almost totally falls apart and looks for foreign funding or tax money to totally re-do the road.
The seminar was hosted by our friends from Church of Christ Mbarara who have a beautiful building on High Street in which they hosted the seminar. We had over 40 people attend the three day workshop who were from several different churches and NGOs being represented. The seminar included people from as far away as Kasese and For Portal.A number of the groups have already been implementing Farming God's Way (FGW) so this was an excellent opportunity to clarify their understanding and to assess how they are doing when measured against the FGW standards. Our last day was spent teaching the students how to make countour lines or rows across a steep slope when using an A-frame. We closed out the last day with putting in a Well-watered Garden. The idea of the Well-watered Garden is based on Isaiah 58 (espv 11) where God's people are blessed to become a like a fruitful garden as they have considered the poor and the widow and have removed the yoke of oppression. The garden is the training ground for FGW techniques and principles and serves as an example of what our gardens can look like when we do things God's way. By the time we have just marked out the planting holes the garden starts to reflect the order and sterwardship that God first intended man to have over the earth. Once the garden has grown up it is very easy for by-passers to see the difference between conventional farming and Farming God's Way.
Most of the seminars take on a similar format although the ones I conduct in the rural churchesChurches are translated into the local language and I use very little of the DVD series and do most of the teaching myself. It is our rural churches around the jinja area where we will do most of our follow-up. It can often take 5 years to start to see significant adaptation of the FGW methods and principles. There is a lot of work ahead!