Hunger is an ongoing problem in Rwanda. This was greatly exacerbated by Covid-19, which shut borders and quarantined citizens. As food shortages increased, Love Alive provided $10,000 in food directly to people in our community.
As we sought more sustainable options to continue supporting our families and community, we began our first farming project in September of 2020. We rented 20 acres of land, and selected 50 adults representing 50 families to come and farm.
Love Alive provided all the land, hand tools, seeds, fertilizer, chemicals needed. The farmers did all the labor, and labor it was. We have no machinery, and the daily labor in the beginning was toil. Much of the land was uncultivated, some extremely hard, some full of brush and other full of plantain tree remnants.
Their hard work, sweat, (and probably a few tears too) made their first harvest considerably meaningful. The fruit of their labor was finally seen. I was reminded of Psalm 126:6, because these laborers really did go weeping at times with their seed, but later rejoiced in their harvest.
Most of the farmers told me that the first harvest gave them enough food to keep their families fed well for the next 2 to 3 months. We harvested well over 12,000 pounds of corn.
One of the benefits of our climate is that Rwanda has two full growing seasons. This affords the opportunity for a double bounty. As one crop is being harvested, the farmers are simultaneously planting the next.
Farmland looks a bit different in Rwanda. Rarely do we see the pristine lines in acres of one crop. Rwandans will mix their crops as they plant rather than by season or year. In the even that it is a bad year for one crop, they plant a second or even third crop as well. In our first harvest, the fields were mainly made up with maize, with beans being the secondary crop and cassava and other root plants added in. In the second planting, farmers added sorghum and tomatoes.
The people are very grateful, and it is encouraging to see this new endeavor coming to fruition now able to provide food for these families for at least 6 months of the year.
We are now beginning our second year of this farming project and are expanding to 70 families working the land and benefiting with reaping all the crops.